EECS500 Fall 2015 Department Colloquium

Amr Helmy
Nano Photonic Architectures for Novel Communications and Sensing Technologies
University of Toronto
White 411
November 17, 2015

Recent advances in nano-photonics have significantly increased our ability to realize novel nano-scale waveguides for light. In this talk I plan to discuss two classes of nanoscale waveguides that address unmet performance demands for applications in sensing and telecommunications.

Nanosclae waveguide Plasmonic waveguides provide the unique ability to confine light within a few nanometers and allow for near perfect transmission through sharp bends as well as efficient light distribution between orthogonally intersecting waveguide junctions. However, due to free-carrier absorption in the metal, the enhanced mode confinement inevitably entails an increase in the waveguide loss. In order to mitigate the losses of these waveguides; a novel methodology for designing multi-layer hybrid plasmonic waveguides has been developed. This class of modes and the design methodology associated charts a route for obtaining modes with propagation loss values in the range of 10-40 dB/cm, while maintaining mode areas that are characteristic of plasmonics. This long range mode behavior empowers a new class of optical devices such as modulators, and detectors with record device sizes and parasitic capacitance values. With these structures as a building block, new levels of optoelectronic integration and performance metrics for athermal transceivers is achievable.

Nano-scale waveguides can also incorporate optofluidic capabilities for enhancing the retrieved Raman signal in liquids. Recent progress in characterizing different nanostructures and biological molecules utilizing optofluidics will be discussed. Techniques and applications to combine surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) with optofluidic-assisted Raman spectroscopy will be also reviewed. Finally, challenges and future opportunities to advance Raman spectroscopy as a sensing platform for portable sensing systems that are controlled using handheld devices such as mobile phones will be discussed.


Amr is a Professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Toronto. Prior to his academic career, he held a position at Agilent Technologies, R&D division, in the UK between 2000 and  2004. At Agilent his responsibilities included developing InP-based photonic semiconductor integrated circuits and high-powered submarine-class 980 nm pump lasers.  He received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. from the University of Glasgow with a focus on photonic devices and fabrication technologies, in 1999 and 1995 respectively.  He received his B.Sc. from Cairo University in 1993, in electronics and telecommunications engineering science. His research interests include photonic device physics and characterization techniques, with emphasis on nonlinear optics in III-V semiconductors; applied optical spectroscopy in III-V optoelectronic devices and materials; III-V fabrication and monolithic integration techniques. For his work Amr has received several awards. In 2011 he received the Connaught Innovation Award for his work on non-linear effects in semiconductors and in 2007 and he received Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation in Canada. For his graduate studies, Amr has been awarded the Francis Morrison graduate studies excellence award from the University of Glasgow as well as the British Council Cheavening Scholarship. Amr has served the community in numerous roles. He has served as Vice President Membership for the IEEE Photonics Society (2008-2010). He has served as the Chair of the Nano-Technology Sub-Committee in the IEEE Communications Society (2005-2008), as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Photonics Society News Letter (2006-2008), as the Chair of the Photonics Society Optical Materials and Processing Sub-Committee (2007-2011) and currently is a member of the CLEO technical subcommittee on semiconductor lasers. Amr was also a guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics integrated photonics and is currently an associate editor for Optics Express and the Photonics Journal.