Novel Photonic Designs for LiDAR, Heads-Up Displays, Nanomechanical Switching, and Future Applications

Speaker: Josué J. López
Affiliation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Via Zoom only:  Details to follow

Abstract:  Novel photonic designs and materials leverage unique optical properties and phenomena at the micrometer and nanometer scale to increase performance and enable new functionalities. These designs should also utilize scalable fabrication methods to maximize their impact as next-generation photonics for sensing, communications, and displays.  This talk will present recent advances in integrated photonic and nanophotonic designs towards practical implementations. First, is the demonstration of an on-chip planar lens architecture that performs non-mechanical optical beam steering in the near-infrared and is fabricated using a wafer-scale process. Next, is an improved on-chip Luneburg lens design with theoretical beam steering of 160 degrees in the horizontal scanning direction. The planar lens architecture should have up to 2x a greater horizontal field of view and 100x lower electronic complexity than other state-of-the-art approaches. Moreover, it has opened a pathway for the commercialization of high-performance and low size, weight, and power light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors for use in autonomous navigation. Next, is the demonstration of photothermal imaging and spectroscopy to directly probe how nanostructuring a van der Waals (vdW) material, specifically hexagonal boron nitride, can influence the absorption of light and its photothermal expansion. This photothermal effect can be enhanced over 10x via nanostructuring and could lead to a new type of nanomechanical switch driven by light. Finally, I will show the implementation of a heads-up display that uses plasmonically resonant particles that scatter light at a projected wavelength. This design is currently being evaluated for use in the next generation NASA spacesuit.


In addition to sharing new directions for photonic design and materials, I will conclude by describing opportunities in combining sensing and augmented reality to address challenges such as disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.


Biography:  Josué J. López is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Photonics and Modern Electro-Magnetics Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he works with Professor Marin Soljačić. He received his B.S. degree in Physics with Distinction in Research from Rice University in 2014 and his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017.  Josué has been an invited speaker at OSA CLEO 2018, Nanyang Technological University, and the New England Society for Microscopy. His work on commercializing lidar-on-a-chip technology was recently highlighted in IEEE Spectrum. He is an MIT Presidential Fellow, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a Facebook Fellow in Photonics and Optics (AR/VR), a National GEM Consortium Fellow, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Scholar. He was also selected to the NextProf Nexus program at the UC Berkeley College of Engineering in 2018.


For more information, contact Prof. Subramanian Iyer ()

Date(s) - Jan 19, 2021
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Via Zoom Only
No location, Los Angeles
Map Unavailable