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Optotronics: Optically Inspired Electronics


Afshari, Ehsan (2007) Optotronics: Optically Inspired Electronics. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z95M63XK.


Waves are everywhere, from the distribution of cars on a highway to the wave patterns in the ocean. Intriguing phenomena in wave propagation, such as Soliton resonance, kink-antikink interaction, self-focusing, and Peakon generation can be used in many practical applications leading to novel architectures for signal processing and generation. These E/M based approaches could be particularly useful in the case of Extremely Wide Band (EWB) (DC to more than 100GHz) circuits and systems where the limited transistor cut-off frequency, maximum power efficiency, and breakdown voltage pose serious constraints on the use of conventional circuit techniques.

To overcome the limitations of active devices in EWB signal processing and generation, we propose a general class of solutions based on novel circuit topologies inspired by commonly used structures in electromagnetics, and more specifically optics. The proposed methodology is based on nonlinear and/or inhomogeneous one-dimensional (1D) transmission lines which we have successfully extended to two-dimensional transmission lattices. The principles behind these designs stem from the mathematical theory of linear and nonlinear wave propagation. By analyzing the models for the transmission lines/lattices, we are able to exploit the large body of theory to design circuits, demonstrating the narrowest reported pulse on silicon (2.5ps), and for a single integrated-circuit silicon-based amplifier, the highest achieved center frequency of operation (85GHz) and the highest achieved power output (120mW) at this frequency. In addition, we have reported the first in-silicon transmission line system capable of sharpening both rising and falling edges of NRZ data by increasing the bandwidth. In the end, we will also present how the same approach can be applied to realize ultra-fast computation systems (such as a sub-nanosecond Fourier and Hankel transformers in silicon) and other structures, leading to a new design discipline we like to call "Optotronics".

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:edge sharpening; electrical funnel; electrical lens; integrated circuit; nonlinear wave propagation; optotronics; power amplifier; pulse narrowing; soliton; soliton resonance
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:
  • Hajimiri, Ali (chair)
  • Rutledge, David B.
  • Psaltis, Demetri
  • Marsden, Jerrold E.
  • Weinreb, Sander
Defense Date:28 July 2006
Non-Caltech Author Email:afshari (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-08042006-144107
Persistent URL:
Afshari, Ehsan0000-0002-4528-1788
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3011
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:07 Aug 2006
Last Modified:04 Mar 2020 22:41

Thesis Files

PDF (Thesis_Ehsan.pdf) - Final Version
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