Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

CityU recognised for high-performance photonic chips

Image Credits: CityU, Press Release

A researcher at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has received a prestigious award for his innovative work on novel photonic chips for optical communication.

The Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering is the awardee of the Croucher Innovation Award 2020 for his contributions to developing compact and high-performance integrated photonic chips for optical communications. This technology can also be applied for quantum photonics as well as millimetre-wave and terahertz photonics.

Global data centres today consume about 1% of total human electricity, a number that’s expected to double every four years due to the rapid growth of cloud computing and storage services. As a major portion of data centre power consumption is spent on the numerous optical fibre networks linking servers, the Assistant Professor’s research team is developing advanced nano-fabrication approaches to integrate optical fibre components onto small chips, and to make them transmit more data at lower power consumption and cost.

“Our research aims to replace today’s bulky and expensive discrete optical components with chip-scale, integrated photonic devices,” said the Prof said.

One prominent example of this ambitious goal is electro-optic modulators, which are critical components in modern communications. They convert high-speed electronic signals in computational devices to optical signals before transmitting them through an optical fibre. But the existing and commonly used lithium niobate modulators are bulky, expensive and use up a lot of energy.

In 2018, in collaboration with Harvard University and renowned information technologies laboratory, Nokia Bell Labs, the Assistant Professor successfully fabricated a tiny on-chip lithium niobate modulator that’s 100 times smaller in size and 10 times lower in optical losses compared to current lithium niobate modulators, which can provide faster, more energy-efficient and cost-effective solutions for optical fibre networks.

Currently, the Prof is further testing the limits of this technology by developing modulators that can operate at millimetre-wave and even terahertz frequencies (> 200 GHz) together with other members of the State Key Laboratory of Terahertz and Millimeter Waves at CityU, with potential applications for 5G communication and beyond.

He is also developing new kinds of integrated photonic devices for low-cost and efficient generation terahertz waves, which could be used for medical imaging and chemical identification applications.

The generous support of the Croucher Innovation Award will allow the Prof to upgrade his lab infrastructure, adding ultra-high-speed optoelectronic equipment and advanced nanofabrication tools for the next generation of device fabrication and characterisation. This research could secure major benefits for society.

What are photonic chips?

In June 2019, a press release noted that researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a novel “photonic” chip that uses light instead of electricity — and consumes relatively little power in the process. The chip could be used to process massive neural networks millions of times more efficiently than today’s classical computers do.

Neural networks are machine-learning models that are widely used for such tasks as robotic object identification, natural language processing, drug development, medical imaging, and powering driverless cars. Novel optical neural networks, which use optical phenomena to accelerate computation, can run much faster and more efficiently than their electrical counterparts.

But as traditional and optical neural networks grow more complex, they eat up tons of power. To tackle that issue, researchers and major tech companies have developed “AI accelerators,” specialized chips that improve the speed and efficiency of training and testing neural networks.

Practical applications for such technologies include reducing energy consumption in data centres. “There’s a growing demand for data centres for running large neural networks, and it’s becoming increasingly computationally intractable as the demand grows,” the co-author of the MIT paper on the technology and a graduate student in the Research Laboratory of Electronics said. The aim is “to meet computational demand with neural network hardware … to address the bottleneck of energy consumption and latency,” he added.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.