1999 Events

December 14, 1999: "Photomultipliers: Modern Vacuum Tubes are Still Very High Tech" by Dr. Ray Muller, Hamamatsu Corp.

Abstract: The photomultiplier tube (PMT) is an electronic sensor that measures the intensity of faint light. It is a vacuum tube that is as old as color television. Color television pioneer Vladimir Zworykin of RCA Labs was a key developer of PMT technology. However, like television and CRTs, PMT technology has been steadily improved upon. PMTs are still very competitive with semiconductor based sensors and outperform them in many applications. Cathode-ray tubes and PMTs are proof that vacuum tube technology has strong staying power even through this age of semiconductors.

This presentation will first provide an introduction to photomultiplier technology, and then will explore new developments in the field. The introduction include a discussion of window materials and spectral response, dynode types and methods of using PMTs. The usage methods include biasing, resistive dividers, active dividers and Cockroft-Walton generators.

The new developments discussed will be the compact cooled GaAs photon counter modules and the flat panel photomultiplier. The new photon counter modules are sub-system devices that are ready-to-go with respect to today's choice of electronic circuits. The modules use low-voltage power and are directly compatible with the input voltages used by computers. They are photon counting systems in a pager-sized box. This systems approach to packaging PMT technology can improve time-to-market for those designers needing PMT functionality but who do not have PMT integration experience. These modules make PMTs just another typical sensor when it comes to ease of use.

The flat panel PMT is a thin square component device than can be stacked into a one or two dimensional array. The viewing area of such an array has little or no dead space between the PMTs. Conventional circular PMTs have significant areas where no sensing can take place. This is so even when the rows of circular apertures are staggered. This new format allows PMTs to take on imaging applications. Arrays of flat panel PMTs are beginning to emulate the capabilities of photo diode arrays. These PMTs are finding use in Cherenkov radiation detectors for particle physics experiments and in non-destructive testing of pipes and aircraft structures. The non-destructive testing uses an x-ray or gamma-ray source and scintillator crystal coupled with an array of flat-panel PMTs to provide localized imaging of non-uniform densities. Usage of these detectors will be of interest to the many local particle physics labs. At least one local non-destructive testing company is already using this technology in its products.

Bio: Raymond Muller has been providing applications engineering assistance to users of photomultipliers for fifteen years. He has the title of sales engineer with the Hamamatsu Corporation of Bridgewater, New Jersey. The technical nature of this presentation will show that he is much more a real engineer than a salesman. His company is the American subsidiary of Hamamatsu Photonics headquartered in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Hamamatsu has 40% of the world market of photoelectric electron-multiplier tubes. 35% of their revenue comes from selling vacuum tubes. They make an equal revenue share from their photosemiconductor devices. Thus, an objective comparison of vacuum tube photonic devices versus those of solid state shall be possible. Hamamatsu's remaining revenue comes from system integration services such as the new photon counting modules that will be discussed in the presentation. Hamamatsu has around 1800 employees worldwide. The average employee age is 37 years. This average provides a nice balance between youthful enthusiasm and experienced wisdom. Mr. Muller's has a good reputation in Silicon Valley for that delicate balance.


November 23, 1999: "Photonic Packaging" by Randy Heyler

Abstract: The tremendous expansion of fiberoptic communication bandwidth is driving a rapid increase in the use of assembly and test automation in the manufacture of fiber optic components. These components present special challenges because the require extremely precise tolerances to be maintained during their assembly. Of particular interest are components which require alignment and attachment of single mode optical fibers or arrays of single mode optical fibers. Repetitive alignment tasks with complicated algorithms lend themselves to computer automation. The latest techniques in submicron assembly and recent advances in equipment and technologies will be presented along with case studies examining the overall assembly process, cycle times, and assembly cost models of photonics packaging.

Bio: Randy Heyler is Vice President, Photonics Packaging and Advanced Automation Systems, for Newport Corporation. For the past 5 years, this group has been devoted to the development of automated sub-micron assembly equipment for the manufacture of fiber- optic components (laser diodes, planar waveguides, passive components, MEMS). Prior to this, Mr. Heyler spent ten years at Spectra-Physics in variety of engineering, operations, and marketing management positions, and five years with Newport as general manager, Instruments Division, and Director of Market Development. Mr. Heyler is past- president of LEOMA (the Laser and Electro-Optic Manufacturers' Association) and past chairman of the Coalition for Photonics and Optics (CPO). He holds both a BSME (Design) and an MS in Engineering Management from Stanford University. A member of both IEEE/LEOS and SPIE, Mr. Heyler served as a session co-Chair for the 1999 Fiber Optics, Optoelectronics and Photonics Assembly Packaging and Manufacturing Workshop, and will be serving as General Chairman for the program in 2000.


June 9, 1999: "Optical Computing" by Peter S. Guilfoyle, OptiComp Corporation

Abstract: For many years, DARPA has been developing optoelectronic systems to enhance the data communications infrastructure for long, medium, and short haul data links. For example, point-to-point links from coast-to-coast have been augmented using wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) where each fiber with N parallel channels uses up to 80 wavelengths. These optoelectronic enhancements have progressed to the LAN and recently into optical backplane interconnects. The introduction of space division multiplexing (SDM) which utilizes parallel fiber interconnects has become more commonplace in backplane systems. Recently, SDM programs have focused on board-to-board communications using free space optical interconnects (FSOI). Ultimately, chip-to-chip and on-chip communications may been realized using VLSI Photonics.

OptiComp Corporation has been focusing its development efforts on FSOI and VLSI Photonics. These programs are being sponsored by DARPA under the Ultra Photonics effort which is being directed by Dr. Robert Leheny.

The integration of photonics with VLSI has thus far emphasized point-to-point and parallel point-topoint interconnect systems. Potential applications will be summarized for the integration of photonics with VLSI beyond point-to-point interconnects. Specifically, selected digital architectures will be addressed which include one-point-to-many-points, many-points-to-one-point, and many-points-to many-points. For example, the implementation of the distributed cross bar switch which utilizes the global digital architectures will be discussed and compared to conventional all-optical cross bar techniques.

Device integration issues which will be addressed include the flip-chip bonding of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) as well as resonant cavity enhanced multiple quantum well (RCE/MQW) detectors onto CMOS. These smart pixels are being integrated with optical interconnect media such as waveguides and diffractive optics to form optoelectronic integrated circuits (OEIC) for data communications.

Bio: Peter Guilfoyle is the founder and president of OptiComp Corporation which is currently developing smart pixel arrays for optical cross connects as well as other optical communications related products. In addition to DARPA, the company's programs have been sponsored by BMDO, ONR, the Air Force Research Laboratory, NSWC, and NASA. OptiComp was the recepiant of the 1994 R&D magazine Top 100 award, and the 1996 and 1998 Roland Tibbets SBIR award. Mr. Guilfoyle was the founder and former president of Saxpy Computer Corporation. He graduated from Carnegie-Mellon with a MSEE in 1976 and a BSEE in 1974.


May 12, 1999: "The Standard for Gigabit Ethernet" by Howard Frazier, Cisco

Abstract: An overview of IEEE Std 802.3z-1998, the standard for Gigabit Ethernet, will be presented with a particular emphasis on the fiber optic link characteristics. Opportunities for the development of fiber optic link specifications above and beyond the standard will be discussed.

Bio: Howard Frazier is employed by Cisco Systems, Inc. within the Workgroup Business Unit. He was the chairman of the IEEE 802.3z Gigabit Task Force, which produced the Gigabit Ethernet standard. Previously, he was the chairman of the IEEE 802.3u 100BASE-T Task Force, which developed the standard for FastEthernet. Prior to joining Cisco, he was employed by Sun Microsystems, Inc. He graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a BSEE in 1983.


April 14, 1999: "How to Improve Your Image: New Trends in Optical Design for the New Millennium" by Bob Fischer, OPTICS 1

Abstract: This talk will be a fast paced visit to many interesting and revealing aspects of optical system design. We will attempt in one hour to introduce you to some of the many subtleties of our field, and you will learn why optical design is in many cases both a science and an art, and why simply "turning the crank on the computer" simply is not the right thing to do. Below are some of the topics to be discussed:

We will also discuss the not-yet-famous Bob Fischer list of "Bloopers and Blunders in Optics" which has been compiled over many years. Each item has a succinct lesson to be learned. As a special feature, the speaker being a Member of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, the meeting place of the Academy of Magical Arts, will treat you his favorite magical illusions along the way, many of which are real classics in magic.

Bio: Robert E. Fischer is president of OPTICS 1, Inc., a Westlake Village CA company involved in the design, engineering, and production of optical and electro-optical systems. He holds BS and MS degrees in Optics from the University of Rochester. His major areas of expertise includes the design and engineering of optical systems, as well as technical marketing. Prior to founding OPTICS 1 in 1987, Fischer was Chief Scientist at Hughes Aircraft Company, Missile Systems Group. Previously he was responsible for lens design for the large optics programs at Itek Corporation. A past president of SPIE, Fischer has also served as Chair of the SPIE Symposia Committee and the International Lens Design Conference as well as Chair of the OSA Optical Design Technical Group. He is currently editor of the SPIE monthly newspaper, "O-E Reports," and is co-editor of the McGraw-Hill Series on Optical and Electro-Optical Engineering. Fischer is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and SPIE, and was a recipient of the SPIE Albert M. Pezzuto Award.


March 10, 1999: "Fiber Gratings in Telecommunications Systems" by Dr. Gary Ball, Uniphase

Abstract: Fiber Bragg gratings are finding widespread application within dense wavelength division multiplexed optical networks. Fiber gratings enable high-performance, cost-effective solutions that will separate, filter and route WDM channels in current and future telecommunication systems. Current applications include channel add-drop, gain flattening, dispersion compensation and signal monitoring. As the use of fiber optic systems expand to include metro and inter-office links, fiber gratings will find increased application as the need to direct and filter light off a long-haul link in mid-span grows in importance. In combination with other passive components, fiber gratings provides an efficient opticalto-optical means of enabling that routing.

Bio: Gary Ball is General Manager of Uniphase Network Components, a division of Uniphase which designs and manufactures passive optical components and value added grating modules. Prior to joining Uniphase, Gary served as General Manager of 3M Bragg Grating Technologies. Gary Ball received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 1992 while working as a research scientist for United Technologies in the areas of fiber gratings, fiber sensors and fiber lasers.


February 10, 1999: "Manufacturing of Planar Lightwave Circuitss" by Dr. Mark Stiller, Lightwave Micro

Abstract: The telecommunications market is expanding rapidly, especially in critical components such as Dense Wavelength Division Demultiplexers and optical switches. To meet these growing demands, both in performance and consumption rate, many new technical approaches have been attempted, with varying degrees of performance and scalability. Of these, Planar Lightwave Circuits (PLCs) offer a unique combination of manufacturability, scalability and performance. Techniques used in the IC and MCM industries have been adapted to the design and development of PLCs at Lightwave Microsystems and allow the development of simple, yet powerful cost and performance modeling tools.

Bio: Mr. Stiller received his MS and BS in Physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has worked in the optics industry for the past 15 years at Lockheed, Optivision and most recently Lightwave Microsystems where he is the Director of Product Development.


January 13, 1999: "Neuromorphic Vision Systems: Inspiration for VLSI from Neurobiology" by Dr. Charles M. Higgins; Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineeringat California Institute of Technology

Abstract: In the early 1980's, Caltech professors Carver Mead, Richard Feynman and John Hopfield instituted a course called "The Physics of Computation", teaching the use of elementary physical properties of devices (such as the transistor) as computational primitives. For example, a MOSFET operated in the subthreshold regime follows an exponential current-characteristic. Rather than "fighting the silicon" by forcing digital ones and zeroes, this course promoted the use of these basic primitives in creating an analog computing system. Mead held that this strategy is the principal reason that biological nervous systems are orders of magnitude more power-efficient than conventional computers in solving sensory problems.

This idea led him to coin the term "Neuromorphic Engineering" to describe computing systems (particularly analog VLSI systems) which are designed on the principles of biological neural systems and use basic physical properties as computational primitives. I will first survey the field of Neuromorphic Engineering, focusing on visual image processing, from its roots in Mahowald and Mead's early silicon retina chips to today's latest "smart vision sensor" designs. In the second part of my talk, I will describe my own recent work on Neuromorphic visual motion processors, which can not only compute real-time optical flow, but also spatially integrate the flow field to produce complex data products such as the focus of expansion.

Abstract: Charles M. Higgins received the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1993. He worked in the Radar Systems Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory until 1996, when he returned to Caltech as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Division of Biology. His current research is in the area of analog VLSI vision chips. His research interests include analog computation, asynchronous inter-chip communication, hardware implementations of biological neural systems, and autonomous systems.