Carl Poltras On The Controlled Flow Of Light Essay

Carl Poltras On The Controlled Flow Of Light Essay

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Carl Poltras talked to us about Nanophotonics. Photonics is the science based on the controlled flow of light, light is used in circuitry to do work; this is analogous to electricity in electronics. Photonics is carried out by carefully constructed waveguides made out of silicon and an etching method that boxes Si inside some other material, light is the coupled to optical fibers where it can then be transmitted. Successfully coupling light poses a significant challenge due to the size difference in the wave guide and fiber. An inverse tapering technique is used to couple with 95 percent efficiency, minimizing loss. Photonic circuits are composed of injection modulators which insert light into the photonic circuits, and ring resonators which allow for light amplification. Ring Resonators are produced with a similar etching process as waveguides. Resonators are often thermally tuned, these resonators are used in LIDAR and fiber connector applications. Photonics as a whole is used in many fields including defense, telecommunications, and the health and Sensing. When dealing with photonics engineering challenges arise due to the physical complexities of nonlinear optics. Out of nonlinearity phenomena come interesting applications such as transformation optics, which can give birth to cloaking and invisibility. Currently photonics is making strides in quantum memories, and is at the forefront of quantum computing. Research is also being done into photonic effects on biological proteins and has potential in other medical areas.

Edwin Kan talked to the class about his research in Indoor Radio Detection and Ranging (iRADAR). Radar has long been used outside for military and commercial applications, but has yet to be mastered in a conta...


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...s special equipment is often required, but it has been demonstrated that cheap CMOS transistors, while presenting many engineering challenges, are feasible for operation in the terahertz range. THz signal generation with CMOS gates was done through the careful design of chips. Frequency generation on the order of 100 GHz has been successfully demonstrated.

Carl Poltras talked to us again about ethics. He went over the basic idea that engineers are often faced with tough decisions when it comes to cutting cost vs testing and producing a reliable system. He went overt the Therac-35 case study where one of the first radiation machines for cancer therapy was causing people physical harm by burning them and often complicating conditions that lead to fatalities. Other ethical questions were raised regarding the Citicorp Building in NYC and the Bhopal Disaster among others.

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