Inverse Designed Photonics: New and Better!
Electrical engineer and Stanford University professor Jelena Vučković delivered the 2021 Mildred S. Dresselhaus Lecture on the topic: How computer software can support advanced designs and new functionalities?
To have a preparatory idea, let’s know what is Photonics? It is the science of guiding and manipulating light which is used in applications such as optical interconnects, optical computing platforms for AI or quantum computing, augmented reality glasses, biosensors, medical imaging systems, and sensors in autonomous vehicles. Unfortunately, the problems with high-density photonic integration are several. Traditional photonic components are large, sensitive to fabrication errors and environmental factors such as variations in temperature are designed by manual tuning which can cause errors.
What is Photonics Inverse Design?
According to Jelena, in this new process, scientists rely on sophisticated computational tools and modern computing platforms to discover optimal photonic solutions or device designs for a particular function. In this inverse process, the researcher first considers how he or she would like the photons to operate, then uses computer software to search the whole parameter space of possible solutions for the one that is optimal, within fabrication restraints.