skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Freely scalable and reconfigurable optical hardware for deep learning

As deep neural network (DNN) models grow ever-larger, they can achieve higher accuracy and solve more complex problems. This trend has been enabled by an increase in available compute power; however, efforts to continue to scale electronic processors are impeded by the costs of communication, thermal management, power delivery and clocking. To improve scalability, we propose a digital optical neural network (DONN) with intralayer optical interconnects and reconfigurable input values. The path-length-independence of optical energy consumption enables information locality between a transmitter and a large number of arbitrarily arranged receivers, which allows greater flexibility in architecture design to circumvent scaling limitations. In a proof-of-concept experiment, we demonstrate optical multicast in the classification of 500 MNIST images with a 3-layer, fully-connected network. We also analyze the energy consumption of the DONN and find that digital optical data transfer is beneficial over electronics when the spacing of computational units is on the order of$$>10\,\upmu $$>10μm.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Scalable programmable photonic integrated circuits (PICs) can potentially transform the current state of classical and quantum optical information processing. However, traditional means of programming, including thermo-optic, free carrier dispersion, and Pockels effect result in either large device footprints or high static energy consumptions, significantly limiting their scalability. While chalcogenide-based non-volatile phase-change materials (PCMs) could mitigate these problems thanks to their strong index modulation and zero static power consumption, they often suffer from large absorptive loss, low cyclability, and lack of multilevel operation. Here, we report a wide-bandgap PCM antimony sulfide (Sb2S3)-clad silicon photonic platform simultaneously achieving low loss (<1.0 dB), high extinction ratio (>10 dB), high cyclability (>1600 switching events), and 5-bit operation. These Sb2S3-based devices are programmed via on-chip silicon PIN diode heaters within sub-ms timescale, with a programming energy density of$$\sim 10\,{fJ}/n{m}^{3}$$~10fJ/nm3. Remarkably, Sb2S3is programmed into fine intermediate states by applying multiple identical pulses, providing controllable multilevel operations. Through dynamic pulse control, we achieve 5-bit (32 levels) operations, rendering 0.50 ± 0.16 dB per step. Using this multilevel behavior, we further trim random phase error in a balanced Mach-Zehnder interferometer.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We present a proof of concept for a spectrally selective thermal mid-IR source based on nanopatterned graphene (NPG) with a typical mobility of CVD-grown graphene (up to 3000$$\hbox {cm}^2\,\hbox {V}^{-1}\,\hbox {s}^{-1}$$cm2V-1s-1), ensuring scalability to large areas. For that, we solve the electrostatic problem of a conducting hyperboloid with an elliptical wormhole in the presence of anin-planeelectric field. The localized surface plasmons (LSPs) on the NPG sheet, partially hybridized with graphene phonons and surface phonons of the neighboring materials, allow for the control and tuning of the thermal emission spectrum in the wavelength regime from$$\lambda =3$$λ=3to 12$$\upmu$$μm by adjusting the size of and distance between the circular holes in a hexagonal or square lattice structure. Most importantly, the LSPs along with an optical cavity increase the emittance of graphene from about 2.3% for pristine graphene to 80% for NPG, thereby outperforming state-of-the-art pristine graphene light sources operating in the near-infrared by at least a factor of 100. According to our COMSOL calculations, a maximum emission power per area of$$11\times 10^3$$11×103W/$$\hbox {m}^2$$m2at$$T=2000$$T=2000K for a bias voltage of$$V=23$$V=23V is achieved by controlling the temperature of the hot electrons through the Joule heating. By generalizing Planck’s theory to any grey body and deriving the completely general nonlocal fluctuation-dissipation theorem with nonlocal response of surface plasmons in the random phase approximation, we show that the coherence length of the graphene plasmons and the thermally emitted photons can be as large as 13$$\upmu$$μm and 150$$\upmu$$μm, respectively, providing the opportunity to create phased arrays made of nanoantennas represented by the holes in NPG. The spatial phase variation of the coherence allows for beamsteering of the thermal emission in the range between$$12^\circ$$12and$$80^\circ$$80by tuning the Fermi energy between$$E_F=1.0$$EF=1.0eV and$$E_F=0.25$$EF=0.25eV through the gate voltage. Our analysis of the nonlocal hydrodynamic response leads to the conjecture that the diffusion length and viscosity in graphene are frequency-dependent. Using finite-difference time domain calculations, coupled mode theory, and RPA, we develop the model of a mid-IR light source based on NPG, which will pave the way to graphene-based optical mid-IR communication, mid-IR color displays, mid-IR spectroscopy, and virus detection.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Single-photon defect emitters (SPEs), especially those with magnetically and optically addressable spin states, in technologically mature wide bandgap semiconductors are attractive for realizing integrated platforms for quantum applications. Broadening of the zero phonon line (ZPL) caused by dephasing in solid state SPEs limits the indistinguishability of the emitted photons. Dephasing also limits the use of defect states in quantum information processing, sensing, and metrology. In most defect emitters, such as those in SiC and diamond, interaction with low-energy acoustic phonons determines the temperature dependence of the dephasing rate and the resulting broadening of the ZPL with the temperature obeys a power law. GaN hosts bright and stable single-photon emitters in the 600–700 nm wavelength range with strong ZPLs even at room temperature. In this work, we study the temperature dependence of the ZPL spectra of GaN SPEs integrated with solid immersion lenses with the goal of understanding the relevant dephasing mechanisms. At temperatures below ~ 50 K, the ZPL lineshape is found to be Gaussian and the ZPL linewidth is temperature independent and dominated by spectral diffusion. Above ~ 50 K, the linewidth increases monotonically with the temperature and the lineshape evolves into a Lorentzian. Quite remarkably, the temperature dependence of the linewidth does not follow a power law. We propose a model in which dephasing caused by absorption/emission of optical phonons in an elastic Raman process determines the temperature dependence of the lineshape and the linewidth. Our model explains the temperature dependence of the ZPL linewidth and lineshape in the entire 10–270 K temperature range explored in this work. The ~ 19 meV optical phonon energy extracted by fitting the model to the data matches remarkably well the ~ 18 meV zone center energy of the lowest optical phonon band ($$E_{2}(low)$$E2(low)) in GaN. Our work sheds light on the mechanisms responsible for linewidth broadening in GaN SPEs. Since a low energy optical phonon band ($$E_{2}(low)$$E2(low)) is a feature of most group III–V nitrides with a wurtzite crystal structure, including hBN and AlN, we expect our proposed mechanism to play an important role in defect emitters in these materials as well.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Emergent trends in the device development for neural prosthetics have focused on establishing stimulus localization, improving longevity through immune compatibility, reducing energy re-quirements, and embedding active control in the devices. Ultrasound stimulation can single-handedly address several of these challenges. Ultrasonic stimulus of neurons has been studied extensively from 100 kHz to 10 MHz, with high penetration but less localization. In this paper, a chip-scale device consisting of piezoelectric Aluminum Nitride ultrasonic transducers was engineered to deliver gigahertz (GHz) ultrasonic stimulus to the human neural cells. These devices provide a path towards complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integration towards fully controllable neural devices. At GHz frequencies, ultrasonic wavelengths in water are a few microns and have an absorption depth of 10–20 µm. This confinement of energy can be used to control stimulation volume within a single neuron. This paper is the first proof-of-concept study to demonstrate that GHz ultrasound can stimulate neuronsin vitro. By utilizing optical calcium imaging, which records calcium ion flux indicating occurrence of an action potential, this paper demonstrates that an application of a nontoxic dosage of GHz ultrasonic waves$$(\ge 0.05\frac{W}{c{m}^{2}})$$(0.05Wcm2)caused an average normalized fluorescence intensity recordings >1.40 for the calcium transients. Electrical effects due to chip-scale ultrasound delivery was discounted as the sole mechanism in stimulation, with effects tested atα = 0.01 statistical significance amongst all intensities and con-trol groups. Ionic transients recorded optically were confirmed to be mediated by ion channels and experimental data suggests an insignificant thermal contributions to stimulation, with a predicted increase of 0.03oCfor$$1.2\frac{W}{c{m}^{2}}\cdot $$1.2Wcm2This paper paves the experimental framework to further explore chip-scale axon and neuron specific neural stimulation, with future applications in neural prosthetics, chip scale neural engineering, and extensions to different tissue and cell types.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Phonons traveling in solid-state devices are emerging as a universal excitation for coupling different physical systems. Phonons at microwave frequencies have a similar wavelength to optical photons in solids, enabling optomechanical microwave-optical transduction of classical and quantum signals. It becomes conceivable to build optomechanical integrated circuits (OMIC) that guide both photons and phonons and interconnect photonic and phononic devices. Here, we demonstrate an OMIC including an optomechanical ring resonator (OMR), where  co-resonant infrared photons and GHz phonons induce significantly enhanced interconversion. The platform is hybrid, using wide bandgap semiconductor gallium phosphide (GaP) for waveguiding and piezoelectric zinc oxide (ZnO) for phonon generation. The OMR features photonic and phononic quality factors of >1 × 105and 3.2 × 103, respectively. The optomechanical interconversion between photonic modes achieved an internal conversion efficiency$${\eta }_{i}=(2.1\pm 0.1)\%$$ηi=(2.1±0.1)%and a total device efficiency$${\eta }_{{tot}}=0.57{\times 10}^{-6}$$ηtot=0.57×106at a low acoustic pump power of 1.6 mW. The efficient conversion in OMICs enables microwave-optical transduction for quantum information and microwave photonics applications.

    more » « less