CUDOS invention solves complex photonic integrated circuits problem


CUDOS joint PhD student Andri Mahendra and his colleagues in the School of Physics and School of Electrical and Information Engineering at The University of Sydney have developed an integrated circuits controller that enables complex photonic devices to be more robust to internal and external disturbances, addressing one of the key issues in the photonics integration industry.


The integrated multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) circuits controller for controlling photonic systems

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the amount of data on the planet is growing exponentially, doubling every two years for industries such as web 2.0 data centres and the Internet of Things (IoT) environment. Between now and 2020 the majority of data will not be produced by humans but by machines as they communicate over data networks. This requires a reliable technology with a good system performance.

Complex CMOS-compatible photonic integrated circuits (PICs) have been proposed for many applications, including sensing, communication and quantum computing and are being developed for the industry.

However, one of the key issues in the photonic integration industry is that the materials involved have high thermo-optic coefficients, making their operation very sensitive to external and internal temperature changes. Overheating can limit the system performance. To overcome this limitation, CUDOS PhD candidate Andri Mahendra built an integrated multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) circuits controller for controlling photonic systems.

“The key advantage of this approach is that it enables reliable and adaptive reconfiguration of complex PICs. The controller stabilizes overheating when internal and external heat disturbances occur,” Andri Mahendra said who built the device in collaboration with physicists and engineers at CUDOS and the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST) at the University of Sydney.

Andri Mahendra

CUDOS PhD student Andri Mahendra

“This is an important invention that addresses one of the key practical limitations of photonic integrated circuits, allowing programmable chips to be deployed in important applications, ranging from telecommunications to defence,” CUDOS Director Professor Benjamin Eggleton said.

The integrated circuits controller can also be used as a modular and scalable photonic controller.

“This simplifies power supply instruments used by scientists and engineers in experiments,” Andri Mahendra said who is currently sponsored by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP scholarship) program.

“The technology works simply by controlling conventional power supplies in a scalable manner with an integrated controller to provide larger numbers of output channels.”

The invention, for which a US provisional patent has been filed, is called a reconfigurable power supply channel extender device or Xpow. This has been commercialised through the University of Sydney Union (USU) startup accelerator and entrepreneur program class 9 by the nicslab startup company. The innovation builds on research supported by the ARC through CUDOS, a Centre of Excellence. The research has been published in Journal of Applied Optics.