When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

November 20, 2018

Using machine-learning and an integrated photonic chip, researchers from INRS (Canada) and the University of Sussex (UK) can now customize the properties of broadband light sources. Also called "supercontinuum", these sources are at the core of new imaging technologies and the approach proposed by the researchers will bring further insight into fundamental aspects of light-matter interactions and ultrafast nonlinear optics. The work is published in the journal Nature Communications on November 20, 2018.

In Professor Roberto Morandotti's laboratory at INRS, researchers were able to create and manipulate intense ultrashort pulse patterns, which are used to generate a broadband optical spectrum. In recent years, the development of laser sources featuring intense and ultrashort laser pulses - that led to the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 - along with ways to spatially confine and guide light propagation (optical fibre and waveguides) gave rise to optical architectures with immense power. With these new systems, an array of possibilities emerges, such as the generation of supercontinua, i.e extended light spectra generated through intense light-matter interactions.

Such powerful and complex optical systems, and their associated processes, currently form the building blocks of widespread applications spanning from laser science and metrology to advanced sensing and biomedical imaging techniques. To keep pushing the limits of these technologies, more tailoring capability of the light properties is needed. With this work, the international research team unveils a practical and scalable solution to this issue.

Dr Benjamin Wetzel (University of Sussex), principal investigator of this research led by Prof. Roberto Morandotti (INRS) and Prof. Marco Peccianti (University of Sussex), demonstrated that diverse patterns of femtosecond optical pulses can be prepared and judiciously manipulated. "We have taken advantage of the compactness, stability and sub-nanometer resolution offered by integrated photonic structures to generate reconfigurable bunches of ultrashort optical pulses," explains Dr Wetzel. "The exponential scaling of the parameter space obtained yields to over 1036 different configurations of achievable pulse patterns, more than the number of stars estimated in the universe," he concludes.

With such a large number of combinations to seed an optical system known to be highly sensitive to its initial conditions, the researchers have turned to a machine-learning technique in order to explore the outcome of light manipulation. In particular, they have shown that the control and customization of the output light is indeed efficient, when conjointly using their system and a suitable algorithm to explore the multitude of available light pulse patterns used to tailor complex physical dynamics.

These exciting results will impact fundamental as well as applied research in a number of fields, as a large part of the current optical systems rely on the same physical and nonlinear effects as the ones underlying supercontinuum generation. The work by the international research team is thus expected to seed the development of other smart optical systems via self-optimization techniques, including the control of optical frequency combs (Nobel 2005) for metrology applications, self-adjusting lasers, pulse processing and amplification (Nobel 2018) as well as the implementation of more fundamental approaches of machine-learning, such as photonic neural network systems.
-end-
ABOUT THIS WORK

Benjamin Wetzel, Michael Kues, Piotr Roztocki, Christian Reimer, Pierre-Luc Godin, Maxwell Rowley, Brent E. Little, Sai T. Chu, Evgeny A. Viktorov, David J. Moss, Alessia Pasquazi, Marco Peccianti and Roberto Morandotti, "Customizing supercontinuum generation via on-chip adaptive temporal pulse-splitting," Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07141-w

The work stems from a collaboration between the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS - Canada) and the University of Sussex (UK). The experiment work was carried out at INRS, in Prof. Morandotti's team and within the framework of a Marie Curie International Fellowship. The international team is constituted by researchers from the INRS (Canada), University of Sussex (UK), Chinese Academy of Science (China), City University of Hong Kong (China), ITMO University (Russia) and Swinburne University of Technology (Australia).

The research team was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Ministère de l'Économie, de la Science et de l'Innovation du Québec, the Canada Research Chair Program, the Australian Research Council, the European Research Council, the European Union, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Government of the Russian Federation and by the 1000 Talents Sichuan Program (China).

CONTACTS

INRS: Stephanie Thibault - stephanie.thibault@inrs.ca University of Sussex: Anna Ford a.ford@sussex.ac.uk & Alice Ingall a.r.ingall@sussex.ac.uk

Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS

Related Light Articles from Brightsurf:

Light from rare earth: new opportunities for organic light-emitting diodes
Efficient and stable blue OLED is still a challenge due to the lack of emitter simultaneously with high efficiency and short excited-state lifetime.

Guiding light: Skoltech technology puts a light-painting drone at your fingertips
Skoltech researchers have designed and developed an interface that allows a user to direct a small drone to light-paint patterns or letters through hand gestures.

Painting with light: Novel nanopillars precisely control intensity of transmitted light
By shining white light on a glass slide stippled with millions of tiny titanium dioxide pillars, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their collaborators have reproduced with astonishing fidelity the luminous hues and subtle shadings of 'Girl With a Pearl Earring.'

Seeing the light: Researchers combine technologies for better light control
A new technology that can allow for better light control without requiring large, difficult-to-integrate materials and structures has been developed by Penn State researchers.

A different slant of light
Giant clams manipulate light to assist their symbiotic partner.

New light for plants
Scientists from ITMO in collaboration with their colleagues from Tomsk Polytechnic University came up with an idea to create light sources from ceramics with the addition of chrome: the light from such lamps offers not just red but also infrared (IR) light, which is expected to have a positive effect on plants' growth.

Scientists use light to accelerate supercurrents, access forbidden light, quantum world
Iowa State's Jigang Wang continues to explore using light waves to accelerate supercurrents to access the unique and potentially useful properties of the quantum world.

The power of light
As COVID-19 continues to ravage global populations, the world is singularly focused on finding ways to battle the novel coronavirus.

Seeing the light: MSU research finds new way novae light up the sky
An international team of astronomers from 40 institutes across 17 countries found that shocks cause most the brightness in novae.

Seeing the light: Astronomers find new way novae light up the sky
An international team of researchers, in a paper published today in Nature Astronomy, highlights a new way novae light up the sky: this is shocks from explosions that create the novae that cause most of the their brightness.

Read More: Light News and Light Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.