ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

Graduate Seminar: Laser-Neurons: Neuronal Dynamics on a Much Faster Time-Scale

12:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Friday, October 4, 2013
Location: Whittemore 300

Dr. Antonio Hurtado, University of Essex, will be the speaker.

Abstract: Approaches for emulating the brain’s powerful computational capabilities form an area of considerable research interest. These aim to explore novel solutions to complex computational problems inspired by sophisticated models of the human brain. Whilst the electronic implementation of these features has been investigated for decades, it is only recently that optical approaches have emerged as these offer promise for ultra-fast operation timescales (up to nine orders of magnitude faster than biological neurons).

In this seminar, we will first introduce and discuss the potentials of photonic neuronal models for novel ultrafast and parallel optical computing paradigms. We will also review our approach for optical neurons based upon Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs). We will show that the use of polarized optical injection reproduces a wide range of neuronal computational features, such as spiking, bursting, etc., but on a much faster time-scale than biological neurons. The particular attributes of VCSELs and the simple experimental configuration used offer prospects of ultrafast and reconfigurable computational elements for future optical computing and optical interconnects modules.

Biography: Dr. Antonio Hurtado received the PhD degree in
Telecommunication Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) in 2006. Since 2007 he has been with the Optoelectronics Research Group of the University of Essex (UK) first as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then as a Marie Curie Fellow, after being awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship (Intra-European Fellowships Programme, 2007) by the European Commission. In 2010 he was awarded a second Marie Curie Fellowship (International Outgoing Fellowships Programme) to carry out a collaborative project between the Universities of Essex and New Mexico (UNM). Following this award in 2011 he started working at the UNM’s Center for High Technology Materials.

His research focuses in Semiconductor Lasers, including Vertical-Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) and Nanostructure Lasers (such as Quantum-Dot or Quantum-Dash). He is interested in the effects of Optical Injection in Semiconductor Lasers including Bistability, Nonlinear Switching, Injection Locking, Nonlinear Dynamics, etc. His present research work concentrates on the analysis of optically-injected nanostructure semiconductor lasers for ultrahigh frequency applications and also for neuronal dynamics emulation for novel concepts in computing. He has published over 100 papers in international scientific journals and conferences.