The Planning Grants for Engineering Research Centers competition was run as a pilot solicitation within the ERC program. Planning grants are not required as part of the full ERC competition, but intended to build capacity among teams to plan for convergent, center-scale engineering research.

Photonic integrated circuit technology is critical to national security. This technology provides a low-cost, high speed, and energy-efficient device platform in a broad range of applications including telecommunication, life-science, transportation, precision manufacturing, computation, and energy. Devices such as lasers and critical fiber-optic communication systems rely on this technology. The proposed Engineering Research Center for Hybrid Inorganic Photonic Integrated Circuits will drive innovation and engineering of this technology and expand their applications. The planning activity workshops will define the research activities, key knowledge experts and stakeholders necessary for the proposed Engineering Research Center. This planning stage will be fundamental for developing an eventual Engineering Research Center on this topic that will allow for the robust research and diverse work-force training needed for success. The success of the proposed Engineering Research Center will lead to innovations in this critical technology area.

This planning grant for the proposed Hybrid Inorganic Photonic Integrated Circuits (HIPIC) Engineering Research Center will support the research and education team building necessary to address challenges and identify opportunities. In the last twenty years, most PIC devices operate at the near-infrared wavelengths. As such, this technology platform utilizes devices including lasers, waveguides and optical elements which are specifically designed for the NIR wavelength range. This planning award will enable the team to investigate the integration of light sources based on hybrid semiconductors with conventional wide-gap semiconductors as a technology platform that would lead to a possible ERC. The ultimate goal of the planning activities will be to develop a convergent approach to integrate photonic devices based on III-nitride and hybrid perovskites for future photonic integrated circuits. The resulting technology platform could enable massive high-speed data processing for advanced optical computing or communications. This paradigm shift will also offer the potential to replace existing technologies in medical diagnostics, chemical sensing, optical characterization, accelerometry and navigation. During this planning period for the HIPIC ERC, experts in wide bandgap semiconductors and hybrid perovskites and other fields will be invited to participate in workshops with the objective of generating a detailed research, education, and inclusion plan for this potential ERC. The proposed program will converge partners from academia including minority-serving institutions, government partners and industry partners to realize this technology.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
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Kathleen McCloud
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North Carolina State University Raleigh
United States
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