Excitable Laser for Unified Spike Processing

Authored by: Paul R. Prucnal , Bhavin J. Shastri , Malvin Carl Teich

Neuromorphic Photonics

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781498725224
eBook ISBN: 9781315370590
Adobe ISBN:


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Novel materials and devices in photonics have the potential to revolutionize optical information processing, beyond conventional binary-logic approaches. Laser systems offer a rich repertoire of useful dynamical behaviors, including the excitable dynamics also found in the time-resolved “spiking” of neurons. Spiking reconciles the expressiveness and efficiency of analog processing with the robustness and scalability of digital processing. This chapter demonstrates a unified platform for spike processing with a graphene-coupled—two-section gain and absorber—laser system. This platform can simultaneously exhibit logic-level restoration, cascadability, and input-output isolation—fundamental challenges in optical information processing. Low-level spike-processing tasks that are critical for higher level processing such as temporal pattern detection and stable recurrent memory are also implemented. This chapter studies these properties in the context of a fiber laser system and also describes an analogous integrated device. The addition of graphene leads to a number of advantages which stem from its unique properties, including high absorption and fast carrier relaxation. These could lead to significant speed and efficiency improvements in unconventional laser processing devices, and ongoing research on graphene microfabrication promises compatibility with integrated laser platforms.

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