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Sensing & Measurement

Roel Baets: Maturity of silicon photonics opens door for sensing applications

Silicon photonics is rapidly emerging as a mature technology platform for the fabrication of photonic integrated circuits.

8 May 2017, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201705.01

In this interview from SPIE Photonics West, Roel Baets, discusses his work at Ghent University (UGent) and imec.

Roel Baets is a full professor at UGent in Belgium and is also associated with imec. He holds academic and managerial responsibilities within the Photonics Research Group of UGent, the Center for Nano- and Biophotonics (NB Photonics) of UGent and the joint UGent-IMEC research program on silicon photonics.

Baets has mainly worked in the field of integrated photonic components. He has made contributions to research on photonic integrated circuits, both in III-V semiconductors and in silicon, as well as their applications in telecom, datacom, sensing, biosensing, and medical devices.

As part of a team of eight professors, he leads the Photonics Research Group at Ghent University, a group of about 90 researchers. The research activities of this team have led to four successful spin-off companies so far. In recent years, Baets' research interests have mainly focused on nonlinear optics, spectroscopic sensing, and biomedical devices on silicon or silicon nitride photonic integrated circuit platforms.

Baets has led major cooperative research initiatives in silicon photonics in Europe. In 2006 he founded ePIXfab, the first global Multi-Project-Wafer service for silicon photonics. Since then ePIXfab has evolved to become the European Silicon Photonics Alliance, with a mission to promote cooperation in the field of silicon photonics.

On the educational side, Roel Baets teaches (or has taught) a bachelor-level course on photonics at large as well as master-level courses on microphotonics, optical communication, and nonlinear optics. He is co-founder of the European Master of Science in Photonics program, a joint degree offered by UGent and VUB. He has also organized multiple summer schools on silicon photonics with a mixed academic and industrial audience.

Baets has served the global optics and photonics community as a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Photonics Society, as an associate editor of the Journal of Lightwave Technology, as a member of the OSA Holonyak Award Committee, the IEEE Sarnoff Award Committee, and the IEEE Photonics Award Committee.

Baets is a grant holder of the Methusalem program of the Flemish government and of the European Research Council (ERC advanced grant). He is a Fellow of the IEEE, of the European Optical Society (EOS) and of the Optical Society (OSA). He is also a member of SPIE and of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium.

Baets received an MSc degree in electrical engineering from Ghent University in 1980 and a second MSc degree from Stanford University in 1981, with a focus on biomedical engineering. He returned to Ghent University for doctoral research focused on semiconductor lasers, which he completed in 1984. From 1984 to 1989, he held a postdoctoral position at IMEC. Since 1989 he has been a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture at UGent where he founded the Photonics Research Group. From 1990 to 1994, he was also a part-time professor at Delft University of Technology and from 2004 to 2008, at Eindhoven University of Technology.

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