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Proceedings Paper • Open Access • new

Web-based interactive simulations and virtual lab for photonics education

Paper Abstract

There is large industry demand for qualified engineers and technicians in photonics advanced manufacturing. Current workforce training methods require expensive state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, as well as commercial licenses for photonic design software, which can be prohibitively costly for many universities. Virtual laboratories and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can help fill this training gap by providing a scalable approach to photonics workforce education for an international audience. In this project, AIM Photonics Academy—the education initiative of AIM Photonics, a Manufacturing USA Institute—is creating a virtual laboratory to enable self-directed learning for the emerging photonics workforce. Students learn photonic device and circuit modeling in a 3D online virtual lab environment with interactive simulations of micron-scale photonic visualizations. An intuitive interface highlights the most critical device design parameters and their optimal operational settings for applications in Datacom, wireless communication, sensing, and imaging. Simulations include silicon waveguide propagation and loss, radial waveguide bends, and directional couplers for photonic integrated circuits (PICs). In spring of 2019, AIM Academy has integrated these simulations into an online course focused on PIC-chip design, with a fundamentals course expected in fall of 2019. Additionally, these online tools will be used in a blended learning curriculum in 2020 to train engineers and technicians in semiconductor design, testing and packaging for photonics applications. Following online module completion, students can take blended learning on-site workshops at affiliated university laboratories to capitalize on their simulated training with hands-on experiments in chip design, packaging, and optical or electrical testing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 July 2019
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11143, Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019, 111430W (2 July 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2523861
Show Author Affiliations
Erik Verlage, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Sajan Saini, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Anuradha Agarwal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Samuel Serna, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Ryan Kosciolek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Trevor Morrisey, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Lionel C. Kimerling, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11143:
Fifteenth Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2019
Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard; Joseph A. Shaw, Editor(s)

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