Photonics for Information Processing (PIP)

Topic description:

Reconstructing microwave, optical signal and image based on photonics has enabled a wide range of new and important applications in metrology, ultra fast optics, spectroscopy, biophotonics, optical communication, radar, lidar and artificial intelligence. 

The goal of this topic is to gather the researchers working on different technological levels of ”signal reconstruction using photonics” from theory, component to implementation and across different applications, together to learn state of the art, exchange ideas and inspire potential collaborations across different disciplines. 

The following fields will be covered in this topic: 

  • Ultrashort pulses analysis and broadband signal characterization in temporal, spectral, and spatial domains 
  • Photonic time stretching techniques for wideband signal acquisition – Photonic-enhanced Compressing sensing 
  • Photonic and opto-electronic reservoir computing 
  • Photonic-based supervised and unsupervised learning for image classification – Phase retrieval methods such as self-referencing, optical alternative projection and optical random projection 
  • Optical full field reconstruction for communication 
  • Integrated photonics for combinatorial optimization problems 

Reconfigurable Optics and Photonics (ROP)

Topic description:

Traditional optical systems typically operate with fixed functionalities post-fabrication. In contrast, emerging reconfigurable optics and photonics enable dynamic optical response tuning and thus realize enhanced performance and functionalities. These fields therefore have been investigated intensively recently and opened up exciting opportunities for agile manipulation of light propagation, processing and interaction with matter, in free-space and/or on-chip.

In particular, optical metasurfaces and metamaterials integrated with active components allow the local and global tuning of optical responses. Harnessing a variety of tuning mechanisms, a wide range of dynamically-controlled meta-optical devices and systems have been realized for free-space phase/amplitude/polarization modulation, such as spatial light modulators, tunable filters, beam steering components, varifocal lenses, switchable holograms, display, adaptive thermal camouflage, tunable absorbers and emitters, etc. On the other hand, reconfigurable photonic integrated circuits have also been explored extensively on various photonics platforms, demonstrating advanced on-chip programable dynamic architectures for optical switching, routing, modulation, signal processing, etc. Such technological advancements have equipped traditional photonic integrated circuits with unprecedented versatile capabilities in critical applications such as optical communications, computing, sensing, imaging, positioning, microwave photonics, 5G, quantum photonics, etc.

This topic covers key aspects in frontier research, technologies and perspectives of reconfigurable optics and photonics. We aim to bring together experts from academia, government research institutions and industry to discuss recent advances, assess key challenges and outline future directions in these exciting fields.

Silicon-Integrated Mid-Infrared Photonics (SIMP)

Topic description:

The mid-infrared wavelength domain has a myriad of applications in surveillance, free-space communications, anti-counterfeiting, produce inspection, identifying and sorting, biomedical research, environmental pollution monitoring, and biochemical sensing and imaging, to name a few. For example, biochemical sensors operating in the mid-infrared spectral range (2-8 μm) are becoming rapidly valuable because the fundamental vibrational transitions of molecules are more than two orders of magnitude stronger in the mid-infrared spectral region than in the visible and near-infrared, thus allowing the detection of distinctive spectral fingerprints of molecules. 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,  also proves the potential of the technology. 

While the technology for mid-infrared optoelectronic 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 arise from the integration of III-V and II-VI compound semiconductor materials (e.g., InSb, PbSe). In fact, besides being costly, these semiconductors are rather incompatible with the Si-based CMOS process. Therefore, the development of Si compatible mid-infrared optoelectronic devices holds the key to the seamless integration of various mid-infrared components and necessary electronic circuitry into a CMOS architecture. 

In the last few years, all over the world an extensive amount of research efforts has been put on the development of Si-compatible mid-infrared optoelectronic devices. Although III-V and II-VI compound semiconductor materials generally achieve superior performance (especially for laser applications), the realization of monolithically integrated photonic-electronic circuits using Si-compatible processes has been driving this research field very intensively. Years of efforts and investments have recently resulted in numerous breakthrough discoveries for material syntheses and fabrication techniques. The research activity on (Si)GeSn is a good example for the synthesis of new mid-infrared materials; (Si)GeSn is inherently compatible with Si and possesses direct bandgap leading to sufficiently high light-emitting efficiency for lasing applications as well as good optical absorption property for detection and imaging applications. Hybrid approaches to integrate III-V/II-VI on Si-compatible platforms using heteroepitaxy and/or wafer bonding have also been attracting a great deal of attention, with the aim to combine the superior optoelectronic properties of compound semiconductors with Si enabled scalability and CMOS compatibility. Also, emerging materials such as two- dimensional van der Waals materials have also been explored for Si-integrated mid-infrared photodetectors.

Structured Light and Beyond (SLB)

Topic description:

The goals of the conference is the cross-fertilisation of concepts from a broad range of optical sensing technologies and optical media that can be enhanced through the application of novel spatial shaping of phase or polarization of optical fields. We will have talks from key leaders across a core set of research topics and actively support interactive networking sessions that will promote the generation of new collaborations. This meeting will provide a unique platform to engage in the fundamental science and novel technologies from various research fields including optical matter interaction, novel waveguides, environmental monitoring and beyond.


  • Optical control technologies for structured light
  • Optical matter interactions with structured light
  • Hollow core fibre technologies and applications
  • Novel waveguide sensors enhanced by structure light
  • Spin-orbit interactions with materials
  • Remote sensing of air or marine environments
  • DSP technologies for information retrieval from structured light
  • Non-linear interactions in novel optical fibers and optical waveguides
  • Non-linear interactions with materials
  • SBS and other acoustic-optical effects
  • Multimode fibre amplifiers and novel gain media for structured light
  • Mid-IR and Terahertz spectroscopy
  • Optical techniques to deal with Turbulence in the atmosphere and submersed environments

Ultra-wideband Optical Fibre Communication Systems (UWB)

Topic description:

Ultra-wideband (UWB) optical fibre communication systems have emerged in recent years as a major topic in the field with the potential to address the near-to-mid-term capacity increase requirements in optical networking. Systems based on UWB technology are potentially attractive because they leverage the massive investment in the single mode optical fibre plant already deployed in millions of km worldwide, by making as much as possible use of the low loss transmission window of optical fibre (~1300-1600nm). This topic area seeks to gather together key researchers and stakeholders with interests in UWB optical fibre communications from around the world to explore the current state-of-the-art in UWB component technologies, sub-systems, architectures, and systems.  We aim to stimulate an open discussion on the latest advances, opportunities and challenges faced by research scientists and development engineers working on systems, and stimulate new ideas and collaborations.

The topic area seeks contributions related to ultra-wideband fibre systems and include:

  • Optical fibre component technologies and physical integration
  • Optical fibre communication system demonstrations
  • Optical fibre communication modelling and performance prediction
  • System design and operation
  • Spectral power optimisation, bandwidth allocation and network management
  • Optical power management techniques and capacity optimization
  • Application of novel techniques such as machine learning to UWB systems and related technologies
  • Cost and energy performance analyses for network applications