Erkmen, Baris I.

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Dr. Baris I. Erkmen

Free-Space Optical Communications Lead

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Area of Expertise: classical communication, classical imaging, information theory, quantum communication, quantum imaging, optical communication
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Dr. Baris I. Erkmen received his B.S. (2002), M.Eng (2003) and Ph.D. (2008) degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is presently a member of technical staff at Google[x]. Prior to May 2013, Baris was at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology, where he initiated and participated in several NASA and non-NASA programs on classical and quantum optical communications, and classical and quantum imaging.

Starting with his doctoral thesis, Baris spearheaded the development of a unifying theory for classical and quantum imaging, through the study of the coherence properties of Gaussian-state light, with particular focus on phase-sensitive coherence. In addition to his thesis, he authored several publications in peer-reviewed journals that develop this theory. In 2013 he co-organized a Keck Institute workshop at Caltech and JPL, focused on space applications of quantum sensing, communication and measurement.

Baris has also been active in the optical communications community. Between 2009 and 2013 he has served as the Principal Investigator of the NASA project OPALS, which successfully demonstrated an optical communications downlink from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014. At JPL, Baris worked on the ultimate capacity limits of optical communications, both in the classical and quantum domains. He has participated in a 2013 proof-of-concept optical communication demonstration achieving greater than 10 bits-per-photon information efficiency. He has also developed a theoretical framework for applying information theoretic measures to quantify the performance of imaging systems.

Baris' current focus is on advanced technology development, analysis, concept formulation, and systems engineering in optical communications and optical remote sensing. His interests include both conventional (classical) approaches, as well as novel methodologies that realize the promises of quantum-limited performance.
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