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DARPA names Prof. Ippen to lead $9.5 million project

Erich P. Ippen
Erich P. Ippen

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a 3.5-year, $9.5 million program to Professor Erich P. Ippen of MIT's Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE).

The project, titled "Optical Arbitrary Waveform Generation for Ultrahigh Resolution Sensing and Imaging," seeks to achieve unprecedented levels of performance for ultra-broadband coherent optical systems and enable dramatic advances in such applications as high-resolution 3-D imaging, novel chemical sensing and ultra-broadband optical communications.

"This is challenging but very exciting," said Ippen, who is the Elihu Thomson Professor of Electrical Engineering and professor of physics. "We have an opportunity to achieve an entirely new level of control over the optical spectrum." Ippen's RLE co-principal investigators are Franz X. Kaertner and Leslie A. Kolodziejski, both professors in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Ippen leads a multi-institutional team that includes collaborators at the University of California at Davis, where the lead co-principal investigator is Professor S. J. Ben Yoo, as well as industry partners Inphi Inc. of Westlake Village, Calif., and Multiplex Inc. and Inplane Photonics Inc., both of South Plainfield, N. J.

Jeffrey H. Shapiro, director of RLE and the Julius A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering, said, "This new DARPA project -- which is the largest Department of Defense program ever awarded to RLE, and the second-largest ever from any sponsor -- builds on the laboratory's strengths in photonics, particularly our world-leading efforts in femtosecond-laser frequency-comb technology and nanoscale device fabrication. It also reflects the success of our researchers in bringing together multidisciplinary teams that span diverse research capabilities and organizations."

The work is funded by the Defense Sciences Office and the Microsystems Technology Office of DARPA.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 9, 2005 (download PDF).

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