Almost the entire lower half of the spectrum in the log scale (~1 Hz-1 THz) is now within the operational frequency range of integrated circuit technology. With material science advancements and heterogeneous integration, potentially even optical frequencies will, in future, be integrated with silicon. The synergy between high-frequency circuits, electromagnetics and digital, is an exciting field of research and we are just beginning to explore the plethora of opportunities in this new paradigm. Being able to synthesize, manipulate and control desirable electromagnetic near- fields in an integrated platform or otherwise, comprising of analog, digital and RF circuits, can create novel sensing and radar systems, new architectures in communication or even new methods for targeted drug delivery, therapy and imaging. The platform for implementation is not fundamentally important; however, in order to achieve an efficient end-to-end design, conventional ways of thinking of circuits, electromagnetics, devices will need to be revisited; novel architectures and techniques need to be explored and developed, systems will need to be optimized across different levels of abstractions. We are interested in exploring this close area between electromagnetic field synthesis and control in an integrated platform or otherwise to create systems for new applications.
Imagine the possibilities of a billion transistors with cut-off frequencies progressing towards THz frequencies. The unique ability to integrate very fast transistors, along with complex signal processing all in one chip, has opened up a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the mm-Wave and THz frequency ranges, previously unavailable to integrated technology. This can not only miniaturize bulky, expensive, custom optics-based instrumentation existing in this range, but the versatility of silicon technology can open doors to high-impactful new applications in ultra-high speed wireless communication, high-resolution imaging to spectroscopic analysis of biomolecules and security. The path-breaking innovations will not happen piggybacking on technology advancements with scaling, but through new architectures, design methodologies that can fully leverage the true potential of such versatile integrated platforms .
Interestingly, at THz frequencies, the dimensions of the chip is comparable to the wavelength which allows interesting electromagnetic properties, while at optical frequencies in the visible range, the wavelength is comparable to the smallest lithographic features. Sub-wavelength interaction of nanoplasmonic metals with light has made tremendous progress in recent years for its ability to confine, concentrate, guide and filter light with nano?scale noble metals, opening up many exciting applications including deep sub?diffraction imaging, significant fluorescence spectroscopy signal enhancement, sub?wavelength optical wave?guiding with extreme mode confinement, extraordinary optical transmission through sub?wavelength hole arrays, and perfect lensing. Combine this with a silicon platform where extremely complex metallic structures with near-arbitrary lithographic patterns for optical field processing and extremely high yield can be integrated with a billion integrated transistors for electronic signal processing. This intersection creates a very powerful platform for future optical systems-on-chip for miniaturized sensing and imaging applications, both in-vitro and in-vivo.
Wireless communication is undergoing fundamental changes as new swathes of the spectrum are opening up in the RF and mm-Wave frequency ranges with bandwidths order of magnitude higher than ever before. Classical narrow-band fixed-frequency architectures which has been the workhorse of modern day RFICs need fundamental re-invention. Architectures that can serve future communication needs to be smart, efficient, programmable, be flexible in its frequency of operation and self-correct and self-heal. Programmable THz ICs which can be reconfigured to synthesize and radiate signals with dynamic spectral control can have far-reaching impact in the field of THz electronics. We are interested in the entire gamut of innovations from programmable transceiver architectures to programmable antennas and electromagnetic interfaces collectively approaching toward universal transceiver front-ends.