Inaugural lecture: Bridging terahertz-speed electronics and photonics with hybrid integrated circuits


Event details

Date 03.09.2024
Hour 16:0017:00
Speaker Prof. Ileana-Cristina Benea-Chelmus
Location Online
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English
A miniaturized circuit that seamlessly interconnects optical and electronic signals can transparently transfer information from the optical to the electronic domain and back, offering parallelization, tunability and processing speeds that stand-alone electronic, or optical systems can’t offer.

Modern communication, computing and sensing technologies rely on developing miniaturized solutions that allow combining the best of optical and microwave domain. Terahertz technologies, spanning increased frequencies from 100 GHz to 10 THz, are critical for providing larger bandwidths and faster switching capabilities, but their development presents significant challenges. A promising approach is to generate, modulate and detect terahertz signals by leveraging on the telecom frequency band, which offers laser sources with minimal phase fluctuations and optical detectors that operate at the fundamental quantum limit, ultimately providing exquisite noise performance.

Developing such technologies is instrumental for metrology alike, for example in quantum sensing. In addition, controlling optical signals at high speeds is a prerequisite for applications such as fiber communication, lidar, or diffractive computing.

In this lecture, we will explore how the latest integrated photonic platforms can combine the best of photonics with the best of electronics. We will conclude by imagining tomorrow’s hybrid circuits with applications in classical and quantum realms by surpassing current technologies in sensitivity, power-efficiency, versatility, and complexity.

Cristina Benea-Chelmus is an Assistant Professor of Engineering in EPFL’s School of Engineering and the Institute of Electro and Microengineering. She holds an affiliation with EPFL’s Quantum Science Center, where she is its Deputy Director, and Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Applied Sciences, as a Visiting Professor. She established the Hybrid Photonics Laboratory at EPFL (HYLAB) which focuses on leveraging the latest integrated photonic technologies for optical and terahertz-speed signal processing, frequency conversion, and quantum sensing. She received her PhD in Physics from ETH Zurich in 2018 and did her postdoctoral training in Applied Physics at Harvard University in the USA. Her undergraduate training is in electrical engineering, physics and photonics. For her scientific contributions she has received numerous awards, the Hans-Eggenberger fellowship, the award in Quantum Electronics and Optical Division from the European Physical Society, the Women in Ultrafast Laser Science award or the PRIMA fellowship. Apart from research, the various classes she developed at EPFL immerse her students into all-things photonics: fundamentals, simulations, fabrication – and measurements.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Registration required


  • Faculté STI – Décanat & Institut IEM