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High Sensitivity Time-Varying Systems In Photonics and Electronics


Porsandeh Khial, Parham (2022) High Sensitivity Time-Varying Systems In Photonics and Electronics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/qzj9-rz93.


Integrated electronics and photonics have been revolutionizing our daily lives for decades. However, the demand for high-speed communications, low-latency networks, and high-performance optical and electrical sensors continues to grow. In order to keep up with this demand as well as be able to address upcoming and unknown challenges, we need to explore unconventional solutions. Moving away from existing systems and traditional architectures allows us to take a deeper look at these challenges and potentially come up with nontrivial answers. In this thesis, unconventional approaches to implementing high-performance optical and electrical sensors and systems are investigated. Among these unorthodox solutions are time-varying architectures which led to completely new devices, sensors with dramatically improved sensitivity, and the breaking of known trade-offs.

By developing a time-varying method that we call reciprocal sensitivity enhancement, we demonstrated a nanophotonic optical gyroscope (NOG) for the first time. The efficacy of this method is borne out by its ability to improve the performance of optical gyroscopes by two orders of magnitude. This sensitivity-enhancement method filters out reciprocal imperfections and noise, thereby increasing the overall signal-to-noise ratio. Next, the same approach is used to boost the performance of resonance-based magnetic biosensors. By merging two biosensors and taking advantage of the frequency response of magnetic beads, time-division switching cancels out most of the correlated noise. This solution pushes the sensitivity of this sensor below parts-per-million (PPM) levels for long periods of time — a property which is desirable in many biosensing applications.

Additionally, an electrical scalable router that mitigates line-of-sight issues in next-generation wireless systems is introduced. This novel design does not require any shared timing reference to form a coherent array and uses a time-varying baseband to create a proper true-time delay. Next, we discuss how radiating elements in silicon-photonics platforms can be engineered to create a passive lensless camera. By applying a robust reconstruction algorithm, the captured image can be faithfully recovered. The same concept can be used in multi-mode nanophotonic antennas to alleviate the field-of-view (FOV)-aperture trade-off.

Finally, a hybrid photonic transmitter/receiver architecture, an electrical full-duplex transceiver with one nonreciprocal element, and a nested-ring optical modulator are presented.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:time-varying, electronics, photonics, Optical Gyroscope, Nanophotonics, Biosensing, Wireless communication, Routers, lenless imaging
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hajimiri, Ali
Thesis Committee:
  • Yang, Changhuei (chair)
  • Faraon, Andrei
  • Weinreb, Sander
  • Hajimiri, Ali
Defense Date:23 September 2021
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09242021-181127485
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for chapter 3 adapted for chapter 3 adapted for chapter 4 adapted for chapter 4 adapted for chapter 5 adapted for chapter 6 adapted for chapter 7
Porsandeh Khial, Parham0000-0002-3242-8541
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14371
Deposited By: Parham Porsandeh Khial
Deposited On:19 Oct 2021 20:45
Last Modified:13 Jun 2022 23:29

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