Seminar: Electro-Optics and Microelectronics Seminar

The quest for high speed spatial light modulators

Date: December,18,2023 Start Time: 14:30 - 15:30
Location: 1061, Meyer Building
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Lecturer: Sivan Trajtenberg Mills
The ability to control and program light is fundamental to science and technology, shaping a vast array of fields from optical communications and microscopy, sensing, and astronomy. For some fields, the slow devices commercially available today, known as spatial light modulators, are a core bottleneck for mature systems – such as 3D holography, imaging through scattering media, and quantum computing. Motivated by quantum control applications, where atomic or solid state atom-like qubits require high speed addressing in hundreds of sites, and where photonic quantum computing has been explored using spatial modes that require millions of degrees of freedom, I explore the development of high speed spatial light modulators: devices that can control many spatial degrees of freedom of light at high speeds. In this talk I discuss three different platforms that achieve this, each of which offers new advancements and insights: First, a nanophotonic plasmonic modulator with liquid crystals fabricated in a “fabless” bulk CMOS process[1] which can potentially democratize nanophotonics research, as well as allow for multi-layer structures, scalability and electronic integration. Second, a Lithium Niobite on Silicon device, where thin film LN with a guided mode resonance is bonded to a commercial CMOS backplane, allowing for GHz speed modulation arising from the Pockels effect. Finally, a photonic crystal array using specially designed photonic crystal cavities[2], working at ~0.2 GHz. With 64-100 pixels, this demonstration is one of the largest scale foundry made devices ever made. The automated ‘holographic trimming’ achieved a record picometre precision alignment of the cavity resonance for 81 devices. These works pave the way for programmable control of millions of degrees of freedom of light at high rates.

  1. ElKabbash M, Trajtenberg-Mills S, Harris I, Bandyopadhyay S, Ibrahim MI, Wang A, et al. Metal-Optic Nanophotonic Modulators in Standard CMOS Technology. arXiv. 2023. Available:
  2. Panuski CL, Christen I, Minkov M, Brabec CJ, Trajtenberg-Mills S, Griffiths AD, et al. A full degree-of-freedom spatiotemporal light modulator. Nat Photonics. 2022;16: 834–842.
Dr. Sivan Trajtenberg Mills is a postdoctoral researcher in the Quantum Photonics lab led by prof. Dirk Englund at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research is focused on development of optical tools and devices for quantum control. She received her Ph.D from Tel Aviv University, studying structured light in second order nonlinear interactions under supervision of prof. Ady Arie. She received the Schmidt postdoctoral award for women in STEM, the VATAT quantum fellowship for postdoctoral researchers. For her PhD, she received an excellence in research award from TAU and KLA, an excellence in teaching award from TAU, the Shulamit Aloni fellowship and the Weinstein Institute for Signal Processing award. She has been active in promoting women in STEM fields.


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