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AI hardware needs are driving semiconductor industry processor developments and foundry progress, while quantum computing hardware is seeing unprecedented investment and interest. A critical need and missing technology in computing of all kinds are optical interconnects. Such interconnects have provided the impetus for the development of advanced foundry platforms for electronic-photonic integrated circuits (EPICs). I will talk about the progress and applications of emerging capabilities in advanced electronic-photonic ICs.

I will review work carried out through my research group and and through silicon-valley startup Ayar Labs on developing advanced-node 300mm CMOS platforms for monolithic electronics-photonics integration in commercial foundries. I will also describe using them to develop classical, cryogenic and quantum interconnects, and photonic sensing apertures. These platforms have allowed EPICs and systems on chip (SoCs) of unprecedented complexity and improved sensitivity. In the talk, I will describe the latest developments at Ayar Labs on Terabit scale I/O from a single processor package. I’ll talk about university research on cryogenic (4K) photonic data links that could address the I/O bottleneck of superconducting electronics and enable new future supercomputing platforms well suited to AI, and will summarize ongoing efforts on CMOS electronic-photonic quantum systems-on-chip (epQSoCs) for photonic quantum networks. Last, I will highlight recent research on efficient components, for example progress on a novel integrated photonic aperture, the serpentine optical phased array. One promising application is as a revolutionary spectrometer design that improves over both bulk and integrated spectrometers by several orders of magnitude in key metrics such as resolving power and system volume. Photonic integrated circuits are at the brink of possible major impact in the semiconductor industry – for now, the first emerging commercial applications are optical interconnects, but perhaps the semiconductor industry is starting to “see the light”.


Milos Popovic is Co-Founder and Senior Technical Architect at Ayar Labs, a company developing photonic in-package I/O based on technology developed in his university research group. He is on sabbatical leave from his post as Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University, and Principal Investigator in the BU Photonics Center where he leads a silicon photonics research group. Milos received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University, Canada, and his MS and PhD from MIT. He was an Assistant Professor at CU Boulder’s ECEE department from 2010 to 2016. His interests are in the theory and design of novel integrated photonic devices and systems, and in the monolithic integration of photonics and CMOS electronics. He is an author or co-author of over 40 patents and 250 journal and conference papers, and is a 2012 Fellow of the Packard Foundation.

Host: John Sipe
Event series  CQIQC SeminarsQO/AMO Seminars