Professor Wei Jiang Receives AFOSR Grant

Assistant Professor Wei Jiang recently received a grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to develop light-weight nano-optical components for next-generation radars. The grant is part of Center for Silicon Nanomembranes established through the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) of U.S. Department of Defense. The Center includes seven professors from the University of Texas at Austin, University of Illinois, Stanford University, and Rutgers University. Professor Jiang’s research in this program aims at developing tiny, airy optical waveguides on nanoscale silicon membranes, which can provide disproportionally long time delays for use in phased array antennas of crucial importance for national defense. One promising approach is to slow down light by nano-photonic structures called photonic crystals. Professor Jiang’s prior research in silicon photonics and photonic crystals led to the development of the first 1GHz silicon photonic crystal modulator, which was reported by EE Times, Nature Photonics, Laser Focus World, and many other media sources. Apart from the radar applications, Professor Jiang is exploring the potential of silicon photonics in novel applications such as optical interconnects for next-generation computer chips. As many suspect silicon microelectronic chips approach their ultimate physical limits, photonics opens the door to a new world for silicon chips—thanks to the recent advances made by researchers worldwide including Professor Jiang.

A photonic crystal nanostructure made on
silicon that can slow down light significantly,
patented by Prof. Jiang.