Photonics Integrated Circuits
Light is the source of life on earth. It has been the guiding force for human species since they evolved on the surface of the earth. Humans have been trying to harness light energy for improving their living environment for over thousands of years. It’s the ability of the humans to visually see things which has inspired their imagination to create technology by understanding the working of things from nature.
In the last two centuries with the advent of modernity and technological breakthroughs light has become integral part of our day to day life. Today, transmission of visual images is a common phenomenon. Light engulfs every technological aspects of life from medicine, photography, guidance systems, navigation systems, industrial manufacturing etc. Generating light, transmitting light and manipulating light properties for various applications has contributed to the development of many technologies like fiber optic communication systems, laser based engineering systems, optics, light based diagnostics & therapeutic systems, sensor systems etc.
Technological limitations posed by electronics based devices in-terms of miniaturization in further reducing dimensional aspects of devices and systems, have led to considering optical integrated circuits in recent decades. Similar to Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits (VLSI) using electron as medium for transmissions of signal, Photon as a signal carrier in integrated circuit using basic optical devices has evolved as Photonics Integrated Circuits (PIC).
Figure 1: Photonics Integrated Circuit.
PIC based Integrated Circuits have many advantages compared to electronics based circuit design. This is an emerging technology in tandem with electronics. Though there are specific detailed courses to groom professionals in physics, semiconductor technology, microfabrication and Computer Aided Tools for photonic circuit design, there is need for professionals who can design and fabricate such PIC devices.
Traditionally most of the domains related to light based technology have been much narrowed down to specialization. But with increasing requirement of bandwidth and transfer of huge amount of data, light based technology today encompasses opto-electronics, photonics, optics, fiber optics, biomedical optics, laser, optical data storage, quantum optics, nano-optics and optical computing. Developing these systems on a micro and nano scale has resulted in separate domain which encompasses all the disciplines at miniaturized dimensions as PIC. This ever evolving PIC discipline has seen exponential growth in last one decade. This has resulted in VLSI CAD tool companies to include PIC design as part of CAD. Tools like CADENCE, SYNOPYS which were traditionally focusing on VLSI design have today PIC component as a part.
For an aspiring engineer who wants to play with light and design new age technologies could basically start with engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunication. This has to be followed with specialization in Photonics, Engineering Physics, Fiber optics, at Masters Level. Masters degree can be followed by a doctoral degree in a focused area. In recent times the demand for engineers who are trained and well-groomed in Photonics has increased manifold around the world. Especially for those who are interested in Physics as well as application oriented engineering, Photonics could be that domain which allows the individual to execute his/her idea.
Prof. Rabinder. Henry is currently the Director at Pralhad P.Chhabria Research Center, Pune (A Project of Finolex). His thrust areas of work have been in transforming the education system specifically in Engineering Higher Education by making it more applied intelligence oriented. Formerly been Director for Engineering Colleges and also been CTO in the industry. He has a Master of Science Degrees in RF & Microwave Engineering (1) and Photonics (2) from Technical University Dresden and Master of Science in Medical Systems Engineering (3) form University of Magdeburg, Germany. He has worked with Fraunhofer Institute for Photonics Microsystems, Institute for Mikrosystemtechnik, Magdbeurg and Helmholtz Zentrum Rossendorf, Germany. His areas of interest include Microwave Engineering, Microfabrication, Bio implants, Photonics, Nanotechnology and convergence of technology. Professional member of many bodies IEEE, VLSI Society of India, ISTE, and ISC etc. Established Institutes at Meerut, Jaipur and Pune.
His profile has been published by Marquis Publications in Who’s Who in World 2009. Global Young Leader by UNDP (United Nations Development Program) for Peace Initiative in 2008. Awarded by Society for Reliability Engineering, Quality and Operations Management (SREQOM) for Innovative Applications of Information Technology in Interdisciplinary areas in Scienceand Technology, December 2009.