Resonant spatial light modulation: Optical programming and sensing at the fundamental limit

Christopher Louis Panuski

Quantum Photonics Laboratory
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS)

Watch the video on YouTube.

Thesis Committee
Dirk Englund, Associate Professor, EECS (Thesis advisor)
Isaac Chuang, Professor, Physics and EECS
James Fujimoto, Elihu Thomson Professor in Electrical Engineering, EECS

Why can’t we make Star Wars’ Princess Leia hologram? Despite similar requirements for applications ranging from brain imaging to quantum control, the fast, efficient, and compact manipulation of multimode optical signals remains an open goal. Here, Panuski discusses his development of high-finesse photonic crystal cavity arrays as a solution to this problem. Specifically, he describes how the researchers combined inverse-design, wafer-scale fabrication, parallel post-fabrication trimming (enabled by their open-source software for optical tweezer array generation), and microLED-based optical control to demonstrate nanosecond- and femtojoule-order spatial light modulation.

Operated in reverse, their device constitutes a high-spatial-resolution focal plane array. Surprisingly, they discovered that the associated sensitivity is ultimately dictated by statistical temperature fluctuations. Panuski presents their theoretical and experimental characterization of the resulting fundamental thermal noise limits for microcavities, discuss their impact on proposals for room-temperature optical quantum computing, and introduce noise cancellation techniques to enable continued development in quantum optical measurement, precision sensing, and low-noise integrated photonics.