Photonics Spectra magazine Q&A with ECE Professor John Bowers

January 6th, 2017

cover of jan 2017 issue of photonics spectra
“The Revolution Has Just Begun Q&A with John Bowers” — Photonics Spectra speaks with Bowers about The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM), his breakthrough work and the impact of integrated photonics on medicine, communications and defense.

One of the foremost names in the world of integrated photonics is John Bowers, Ph.D., who is credited with leading a team that successfully demonstrated an electrically pumped hybrid silicon laser a decade ago. That advance has paved the way for the commercial production of high-bandwidth silicon photonic devices. Today, Bowers is leading UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the AIM initiative and is a central figure in this exciting field.

Q: Could you provide us with a snapshot of where you see the state of integrated photonics at the moment?
A: Integrated photonics is transforming telecommunications and data communications. Infinera, Acacia and others are introducing new telecommunication products with much higher capacity and performance that have been enabled by integration. Intel, Luxtera, Lumentum, Finisar and others are increasing capacity and lowering cost by integration. Virtually all 100-Gbps transceivers are highly integrated, and the next generation at 400 Gbps are only possible with integration. This started with integration on InP but high volumes are now being shipped by many silicon photonics suppliers, including Intel, Luxtera, Acacia and others.

Additional Questions (see full article):

  • Please elaborate on how you feel integrated photonic circuits are likely to impact such fields as transportation, medicine and defense in the years ahead?
  • Your work in ’06/’07 successfully bonding III-V material to a silicon waveguide has been cited as one of the seminal breakthroughs in integrated photonics. A decade later, can you share your reflections on this work and some of the primary challenges you overcame?
  • Has the hybrid silicon III-V laser reached commercial viability?
  • In 2015, the AIM initiative was formed and you were tasked with heading up UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Energy Efficiency’s involvement in the program. Can you discuss recent advances?
  • How is integrated photonics likely to transform the world in which we live in the years and decades ahead?

Photonics Spectra is today’s leading source of technological solutions and of news and information about photonics. It is the magazine referred to worldwide by the largest audience of photonics engineers, scientists and end users. Integrating all segments of photonics, Photonics Spectra is unique in that it provides both technical and practical information for every aspect of the global industry.

John E. Bowers holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology, and is the Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the IEEE, OSA and the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the IEEE Photonics Award, OSA Tyndall Award, OSA Holonyak Prize, and the IEEE LEOS William Streifer Award.

Photonics Spectra magazine

UCSB West Coast Headquarters of AIM Photonics

Bowers' Optoelectronics Research Group