MIT promotes collaborative photonics research via CIPS

April 15, 2005
The Center for Integrated Photonic Systems (CIPS), a collaborative research initiative established last year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is gearing up for its second annual meeting, to be held May 19-20 on the MIT campus.

CAMBRIDGE, MA - The Center for Integrated Photonic Systems (CIPS), a collaborative research initiative established last year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is gearing up for its second annual meeting, to be held May 19-20 on the MIT campus. The meeting will bring together leaders from industry, government, and academia to focus on defining the technology-development challenges photonics developers face in the coming decade, and to establish relationships that might help to overcome these issues.

“This will be the largest meeting to-date on photonics at any university,” said Rajeev Ram, director of CIPS and associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. “A conference like this gives companies a chance to see what’s happening in photonics in many areas, and to help define the opportunities in the twenty-first century.”

Launched in the spring of 2004 with seed funding, facilities, and staff provided by five MIT organizations (the Research Laboratory of Electronics, the Microsystems Technology Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Communications Futures Program), CIPS is designed to explore advanced technologies and strategies that enable integrated photonic devices, modules, and systems to provide break-through capabilities for a variety of future system applications ranging from communications to interconnects to sensing.

The Center currently involves more than 20 faculty, whose interests range from device and materials research through systems and manufacturing and economic modeling. CIPS researchers-in concert with partners in government and industry and supported by funding at MIT that exceeds $20 million annually-are developing models of optical and electronic devices and packages, the manufacturing processes that assemble them, the standards that define them, the market that buys them, and the policies that influence their deployment. In addition, an Industrial Consortium is being formed to bring a commercial viewpoint to the Center’s activities and to incorporate industrial organizations into the Center.

“I think CIPS can have a significant impact on the thinking and direction setting for photonics over the coming years,” said Fred Leonberger, former JDSU executive and now senior advisor with CIPS. “It is really exciting to see the breadth and spectrum of people wanting to collaborate. But the greatest value will be for companies coming and working with the various working groups at MIT to address the challenges and roadblocks to getting certain technologies developed.”

This is one of the motivations behind the annual meeting, where topics to be covered include integrating different kinds of optical and electronic devices on a single platform, generating short optical pulses for high-speed communications, using quantum-mechanical properties of photons to secure communications networks, and evaluating the economics of optical components from both the supply and demand side. In addition, a plenary session will showcase perspectives from three luminaries in the industry: Robert Leheny, deputy director of DARPA, Stan Lumish, chief technology officer of JDS Uniphase, and Eli Yablonovitch, professor of electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For more information on CIPS and the CIPS Annual Meeting, go to

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