The IEEE Summer Topical Meeting Series serves as an international forum to facilitate information exchange between various technical communities using or affected by rapidly growing areas of technology or “Hot Topics” related to the general field of Photonics. This intimate environment provides the opportunity to learn about emerging fields and to interact with the research and technology leaders. Historically, the conference hosts 4-7 individual topics and attracts 250+ people with 30-50 participants attending each topic. The smaller meeting size provides the flexibility to pilot new and unique ideas.

Below are the approved topic proposals for 2019.

Next Generation High Speed Access Networks for New Emerging Services (Next Gen)

Currently deployed access networks still mostly are at 10 Gb/s and below rates. New services like 5G mobile X-haul, edge computing and HD video distribution combined with stringent requirements like low latency, flexibility, and scalability are transforming the need for future access networks. To keep up with increased bandwidth demand and support future mobile traffic, next generation access (NGA) networks supporting these new services at over 50 Gb/s, while ensuring coexistence with legacy access systems in a cost-effective manner will be needed.

This conference topic will aim at providing a platform for discussing how these next generation access networks will need to look like by bringing together researchers and experts from diverse fields as well as service providers, systems vendors and component manufactures debating perspectives on requirements, challenges and solutions with one another as well as with other conference attendees.


  • Vincent Houtsma, Nokia
  • Doutje van Veen, Nokia
  • Junwen Zhang, Cable-Labs
  • Elaine Wong, University of Melbourne
  • Zizheng Cao, University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Quantum Integrated Photonics (QIP)

Quantum information has recently become a topic of national and international interest. Major programs are being developed by the National Quantum Initiative and NSF has declared Quantum Leap as a Big Idea program. Similar large scale programs related to quantum science and technology have also been initiated in Europe, China, Japan and other countries. Quantum information processing and communications have the potential to address large size computational problems and cyber-security issues exploiting unique properties of photon states in polarization, frequency, angular momentum, statistics, etc.

So far the realization of quantum information processing systems have been investigated both theoretically and experimentally using free space table-top systems. Integrated photonics brings together many desirable characteristics in terms of efficiency, cost, scalability and performance. Quantum photonics now has been widely discussed by different research and industrial groups around the world. This topical meeting targets researchers in integrated quantum photonics in academia, national labs and industry.


  • Mario Dagenais, University of Maryland, USA
  • Zetian Mi, University of Michigan, USA
  • Christine Silberhorn, University of Paderborn, Germany
  • Eleni Diamanti, CNRS, France

Physics and Applications of Semiconductor Laser Dynamics (PASLD)

Since the very first lasers demonstration in the 60s, scientists have been fascinated by their nonlinear dynamical properties and their capabilities in emitting erratic pulsations. At the time, this was largely considered to be a nuisance that was impeding the development of well-behaved devices for practical applications. Today, the rich physics behind such behavior is not only still being explored but scientists do have also discovered that it can be put to good use.

This topic aims to cover new research topics and state-of-the-art developments in the area of semiconductor lasers, nonlinear dynamics, ultrafast laser dynamics, and related photonic devices including quantum dot and dash semiconductor materials, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), mode-locking, frequency combs, and quantum cascade

Today, the rich physics behind the field of semiconductor lasers and nonlinear laser dynamics is of growing interests for plethora of applications including but not limited to optical sensing and communications, defense and security, optical computing, optics-based information security, and optical storage.


  • Frédéric Grillot, Télécom ParisTech
  • Fan-Yi Lin, National Tsing Hua University
  • S. Z. Chan, The City University of Hong-Kong
  • Marc Sciamanna, CentraleSupelec

Mid-Infrared Optoelectronics in Silicon and Emerging Materials (MOSEM)

The mid-infrared wavelength domain has a myriad of anticipated applications in surveillance, free-space communications, anti-counterfeiting, produce inspection, identifying and sorting, biomedical research, environmental pollution monitoring, and biochemical sensing and imaging, and much more. The ever-increasing market size of mid-infrared applications, which is expected to reach USD 1.76 Billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 11.4% from 2018 to 2026. While the technology for mid-infrared opto-electronic devices has steadily advanced for the past few decades at the component levels, the integration of such devices for the realization of end-user applications with cost-effective and small-form-factor solutions still remains challenging.

The biggest challenges facing the realization of this long-sought-for fully integrated mid-infrared chip arise from the use of III-V and II-VI compound semiconductor materials (e.g., InSb, PbSe). In fact, besides being costly, these semiconductors are rather incompatible with Si-based CMOS process, which puts a significant limitation for integrating optoelectronic devices with necessary electronic circuitry on a Si chip. Therefore, the development of Si-compatible mid-infrared optoelectronic devices should hold the key to the seamless integration of various mid-infrared components into CMOS architecture.

This topic at the meeting will not only serve as a platform for researchers to exchange the newest development of the field but also foster the generation new ideas and interdisciplinary collaborations. In addition, bringing researchers who are using different approaches to achieve a common technological objective will allow them to directly discuss the advantages and limitations in each paradigm.


  • Dan Buca, FZ Jülich
  • Oussama Moutanabbir, École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Donguk Nam, Nanyang Technological University
  • Mitsuru Takenaka, The University of Tokyo
  • Minjoo Larry Lee, University of Illinois, USA

Programmable Photonics (PP)

In the past decade photonic integrated circuits (PIC) have found their way into different applications, supported by a number of different technology platforms (silicon, III-V, dielectrics or polymers). The integration density and complexity of these circuits has also dramatically grown, giving rise to a ‘Moore’s law’ for photonic ICs. Almost all these circuits have been created for a specific purpose, and could therefore be called application-specific photonic integrated circuits (ASPIC).

In contrast, the past few years have seen the emergence of generic architectures of programmable photonic ICs, where the connectivity and the functionality of the circuit is defined during operation, usually with electro-optic tuning elements. Such circuits are the optical equivalent of electronic field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA). Different names have been coined for such circuits, such a linear optical processors, field-programmable linear arrays, programmable photonic circuits, programmable nanophotonic processors, reconfigurable optical circuits, etc.

Even though some basic concepts were proposed in the 1990s, PIC technology sufficiently matured in the past few years to allow large circuits, and novel algorithms and architectures to enable the configuration, and control of large networks.

There are also a growing set of other fertile technological research directions: fabrication approaches to complex optical circuits; nano-photonic miniaturization; power reduction; extensions beyond linear systems to nonlinear processing; and possibly other directions yet to emerge. The range of potential applications is expanding, including telecommunications mode separation, microwave photonics, self-optimizing sensing and scanning, reconfigurable filters, topological photonics, arbitrary linear processors, and quantum and
neural network processing.

The ambition of this topic is to bring all of these researchers, across these different technological approaches and applications, together for the first time in an open meeting focused on this area of “programmable photonics”.


  • Wim Bogaerts, Ghent University – IMEC
  • David Miller, Stanford University
  • José Capmany, U. Politecnica Valencia
  • Dirk Englund, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA
  • Graham Reed, Southampton University, England
  • Francesco Morichetti, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Lukas Chrostowski, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Joel Carpenter, University of Queensland, Australia
  • Paul R. Prucnal, Princeton University, NJ, USA

Photonics in Artificial Intelligence (Photonics-AI)

Photonics is enabling artificial intelligence (AI). Combination of photonics and AI for photonics-enabled applications is an exciting new prospect. AI is one of the emerging topics. AI encompasses many technologies, such as machine learning, cloud computing and big data. It overlaps considerably with photonics. With current rapid development of new photonic materials and devices, many AI based devices and systems, like robots, autonomous driving, unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs), and drones, rely heavily on photonic sensors, photonic networks and telecommunications to realize practical and smart functionality. Photonics applied to AI has become a more important topic today.

Conference goals are two fold, one is to let our photonics community to be aware of this emerging direction, the other is to provide a platform for both photonics and AI communities to discuss some future directions which will need experts in both areas to work together. Topics to be covered include: From Night Vision to LiDAR: An Automotive Perspective; LIDAR Approaches and the Demands on Optical Components; A Realistic Assessment of Optics for Self-driving Vehicles; Optical Technologies for Autonomy in Realistic Weather; Photonics for Robot Sensing; Photonics for Smart and Big Data. For this proposed session, which is trying to bridge the understanding between the photonics community and AI community, we plan to invite experts in both areas to attend this session and encourage graduate students to learn this emerging opportunity.


  • Alex Yasha Yi, University of Michigan
  • Xingjun Wang, Peking University
  • Safa Kasap, University of Saskatchewan
  • Anthony Choi, Hong Kong University