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  1. Abstract

    Semiconductor photoconductive switches are useful and versatile emitters of terahertz (THz) radiation with a broad range of applications in THz imaging and time-domain spectroscopy. One fundamental challenge for achieving efficient ultrafast switching, however, is the relatively long carrier lifetime in most common semiconductors. To obtain picosecond ultrafast pulses, especially when coupled with waveguides/transmission lines, semiconductors are typically engineered with high defect density to reduce the carrier lifetimes, which in turn lowers the overall power output of the photoconductive switches. To overcome this fundamental trade-off, here we present a new hybrid photoconductive switch design by engineering a hot-carrier fast lane using graphene on silicon. While photoexcited carriers are generated in the silicon layer, similar to a conventional switch, the hot carriers are transferred to the graphene layer for efficient collection at the contacts. As a result, the graphene-silicon hybrid photoconductive switch emits THz fields with up to 80 times amplitude enhancement compared to its graphene-free counterpart. These results both further the understanding of ultrafast hot carrier transport in such hybrid systems and lay the groundwork toward intrinsically more powerful THz devices based on 2D-3D hybrid heterostructures.

  2. Abstract

    Bayesian optimization (BO) has been leveraged for guiding autonomous and high-throughput experiments in materials science. However, few have evaluated the efficiency of BO across a broad range of experimental materials domains. In this work, we quantify the performance of BO with a collection of surrogate model and acquisition function pairs across five diverse experimental materials systems. By defining acceleration and enhancement metrics for materials optimization objectives, we find that surrogate models such as Gaussian Process (GP) with anisotropic kernels and Random Forest (RF) have comparable performance in BO, and both outperform the commonly used GP with isotropic kernels. GP with anisotropic kernels has demonstrated the most robustness, yet RF is a close alternative and warrants more consideration because it is free from distribution assumptions, has smaller time complexity, and requires less effort in initial hyperparameter selection. We also raise awareness about the benefits of using GP with anisotropic kernels in future materials optimization campaigns.

  3. Abstract

    Recent years have seen the rapid growth of new approaches to optical imaging, with an emphasis on extracting three-dimensional (3D) information from what is normally a two-dimensional (2D) image capture. Perhaps most importantly, the rise of computational imaging enables both new physical layouts of optical components and new algorithms to be implemented. This paper concerns the convergence of two advances: the development of a transparent focal stack imaging system using graphene photodetector arrays, and the rapid expansion of the capabilities of machine learning including the development of powerful neural networks. This paper demonstrates 3D tracking of point-like objects with multilayer feedforward neural networks and the extension to tracking positions of multi-point objects. Computer simulations further demonstrate how this optical system can track extended objects in 3D, highlighting the promise of combining nanophotonic devices, new optical system designs, and machine learning for new frontiers in 3D imaging.

  4. This paper investigates the suitability of CdTe photovoltaic cells to be used as power sources for wireless sensors located in buildings. We fabricate and test a CdTe photovoltaic cell with a transparent conducting oxide front contact that provides for high photocurrents and low series resistance at low light intensities - and measure the photovoltaic response of this cell across five orders of magnitude of AM1.5G light intensity. Efficiencies of 10% and 17.1% are measured under ~1 W/m2 AM1.5G and LED irradiance respectively, the highest values for a CdTe device under ambient lighting measured to date. We use our results to assess the potential of CdTe for internet of things devices from an optoelectronic, as well as a techno-economic perspective, considering its established manufacturing know-how, potential for low-cost, proven long-term stability and issues around the use of cadmium.
  5. Genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) enable monitoring of neuronal activity at high spatial and temporal resolution. However, the utility of existing GEVIs has been limited by the brightness and photostability of fluorescent proteins and rhodopsins. We engineered a GEVI, called Voltron, that uses bright and photostable synthetic dyes instead of protein-based fluorophores, thereby extending the number of neurons imaged simultaneously in vivo by a factor of 10 and enabling imaging for significantly longer durations relative to existing GEVIs. We used Voltron for in vivo voltage imaging in mice, zebrafish, and fruit flies. In the mouse cortex, Voltron allowed single-trial recording of spikes and subthreshold voltage signals from dozens of neurons simultaneously over a 15-minute period of continuous imaging. In larval zebrafish, Voltron enabled the precise correlation of spike timing with behavior.