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You are on page 1of 7

9, SEPTEMBER 1996

ccurate nalysis of MMI Devices with

imensional Confinement

Muttukrishnan Rajarajan, Student Member, IEEE, B. M. Azizur Rahman, Senior Member, IEEE,

T. Wongcharoen, Student Member, IEEE, and Kenneth T. V. Grattan

Abstract- The accurate analysis of multimode interference

(MMI) devices with two-dimensional (2-D) confinement has

been demonstrated by using the least squares boundary residual

(LSBR) method. Accurate modal propagation constants and

spatial field profiles in the MMI section are obtained by using

the vector H-field based finite element method. The accurate

calculation of the excited modal coefficients is achieved by

using the LSER, which satisfies the continuity of the transverse

field components more rigorously than using simple overlap

integrals.

I. INTRODUCTION

N RECENT years, there has been a growing interest in

compact photonic devices using the multimode interference

(MMI) principle 111-[3] for signal routing and signal process-

ing in integrated optical networks. Their unique properties,

such as compact size, low loss, stable splitting ratio, low

crosstalk and imbalance, large optical bandwidth, insensitivity

to polarization, ease of production, and good fabrication tol-

erances have led to their rapid incorporation in more complex

photonic integrated circuits (PIC’S). Several MMI devices have

been reported, such as 3 dB couplers [4]-[7], 90” hybrids

and symmetric power splitters [I]-[3], [8], Mach-Zehnder

switches [9], optical coherent front-end polarization-diversity

detector chips [lo] and power splitters and combiners for ring

lasers [l l ], [12].

However, so far in most of the device simulations, a number

of approximations have been assumed resulting in a less satis-

factory approach and in this paper a more rigorous numerical

technique is presented for the accurate characterization of prac-

tical MMI devices. In this work computer simulations of MMI

structures with both one- and two-dimensional confinements

are presented.

11. WEORY

The constructive inteference between the waveguide modes

causes a “selj-imaging” phenomenon which is the basic prin-

ciple of operation of MMI-based devices. So far various ap-

proaches using ray’optics [ 131, hybrid methods using Green’s

function decomposition [ 141, Fourier [ 151 or finite difference

[ 121 based beam propagation method (BPM) type simulations

or guide-mode propagation analysis (MPA) [3] has been pro-

posed. Although a full-vectorial three dimensional nonparaxial

Manuscript received J anuary 17, 1996; revised April 29, 1996.

The authors arewith the Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Informa-

tion Engineering, City University, Northampton Square, London, EClV OHB,

England.

Publisher ItemIdentifier S 0733-8724(96)07054-5.

propagation analysis may be an useful tool, however, the

combination of the least squares boundary residual (LSBR)

method and the vector finite element method is rigorous and

also computationally more efficient for the analysis of MMI-

based devices

For the analysis of such MMI devices, first, it is necessary to

find the modal solutions of the associated uniform multimode

interferometric (MMI) and the single-mode access or output

waveguides. However, in the analysis of MMI devices, often

the same transverse behavior in one of the lateral direc-

tions (y) is assumed and a practical two-dimensional (2-D)

waveguide problem is in effect approximated by a simpler

one-dimensional (1-D) planar waveguide. Most frequently the

effective index method is used to find the modal propagation

constants (Pz) and the field profiles of such simplified pla-

nar waveguides. Recently, Weinert and Agrawal [ 161 have

used a more rigorous finite difference technique but with

the scalar formulation and Berry et al. [17] have used the

semianalytical discrete spectral index method (DSI) to find

the modal solutions of waveguides with a 2-D confinement.

However, it has been shown earlier [ 181 that the more versatile

finite element method, using a vector H-field formulation, can

provide accurate modal solutions for a wide range of optical

waveguides with two-dimensional confinement.

In using the numerical approach presented in this paper,

an arbitrary incident light field profile is decomposed into the

guided modes of the MMI section and propagated along the

length of the MMI coupler and superimposed at the output

sections. For this purpose, it is required to find the coefficients

of all the modes (b, ) excited in the MMI section due to

a particular field incidence via the access waveguide at the

discontinuity junction plane. In all the simulations of the MMl

devices reported so far, this has been done by using the simple

overlap integral (01) method [2]-[41, [161, between the input

field profiles and each guided mode field profile. However, the

fundamental boundary condition at the discontinuity plane is

the continuity of the transverse components of both the electric

(E) and magnetic (H) fields. This can be more rigorously

achieved by using the least squares boundary residual (LSBR)

method [19]. The LSBR method is rigorously convergent,

satisfying the boundary conditions in the usual least squares

sense over the interface. The error minimization is global

rather than sampled. The LSBR method looks for a stationary

solution to satisfy the continuity conditions by minimizing the

error energy functional, J , as given by [191

p,’ - q2 + a . z0”p: - H,TI/2dR

(1)

0733-8724/96$05.00 0 1996 IEEE

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RAJ ARAJ AN et al.: ACCURATE ANALYSIS OF MMI DEVICES WlTH 2-D CONFINEMENT 2079

where 20 is the free-space wave impedance and Q is a dimen-

sionless weighting factor to balance the electric and magnetic

components of the error functional, J. The integration is

carried out over the discontinuity interface, 0. The above

transverse components of the total electromagnetic fields E:

and H,' in side I and E;' and Hi1 in side 11, are expressed

as follows:

cc

i=l

cc

i=l

M

i =l

M

H,I1 = hiHit

(3)

(4)

( 5)

i=l

where the summation should be understood to include the

guided as well as the radiative modes. It may be assumed

that the junction at z =0 is excited by an incident wave

from side I, whose transverse components (x and y) of the

electric and magnetic fields are El and H,", respectively. At

the discontinuity plane, many modes are generated to satisfy

the necessary boundary conditions and these modes may be

propagating or radiating, where the terms defined by a; and

h, are the amplitudes of the reflected modes in side I and the

transmitted modes in side 11, respectively.

The field profile at a distance z can be written as a

superposition of all guided mode field distributions. By taking

the phase of the fundamental mode (DO) as a common factor

out of the sum and assuming the time dependence exp(jwt)

implicit hereafter, the field profile H(x, y, 2 ) can be written as

M-1

i =O

and similarly for the E(x, y, x) field. Here M is the number

of modes considered in the MMI section. Quite often the

total lateral field profile at the end of the MMI section is

obtained by using the approximate propagation constants,

assuming a quadratic spacing between them [4]. It can be

noted that, under certain circumstances, the field H(z, y, z )

can be a reproduction or self-imaging (only approximately for

real MMI structures) of the input field profile, or multiple

images can be formed. However, to use a MMI-based device

as a power splitter or mode expander, accurate calculation of

the modal coefficients is necessary.

111. RESULTS

In this paper first a planar MMI structure and secondly a

MMI structure with two-dimensional confinement are charac-

terized and the results obtained on these are compared with

those from the more approximate overlap integral approach.

Fig. 1 shows the schematic diagram of the planar MMI struc-

ture used in the first example, in which it is assumed that

the MMI section is WMMI pm wide and the width of the

center-fed access waveguide is dl =2.6 pm. For this example,

n

I

Z=L

\1 X "s

Fig. 1. Schematic diagramof a 1-D multimode interference (MMI) coupler.

I I I I

h

-0.71 '

d

. ! 2

2

H

3

0

-0.7 8

-0.69 5

c="

--0.68

0.0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3

a

Fig. 2. Variation of the transmission coefficient and condition number with

the weighting factor, cy.

only the axial dependence ( 2 ) of the field profile is studied.

However there may be multiple input or output channels with

their specific locations for a MMI device, depending on their

applications, such as N x N splitters [1]-[3]. The refractive

index in the guide and cladding sections are ng =3.3989

and n, =3.1645 respectively and the operating wavelength is

considered to be 1.55 pm.

The weighting factor, a, is adjusted to obtain a better

balance between the electric and magnetic energy function&.

Fig. 2 shows the variation of the condition number (C) and the

transmission coefficients ( TO) of the fundamental mode with

the weighting factor. The singular value decomposition (SVD)

is a powerful numerical technque for solving most linear least

squares problems [20]. The condition number, C, may be

defined so that a large value signifies that the matrix is ill-

conditioned, and the minimum value of the condition number

is related to the lowest residual error of the energy functional

J, given in (1) from which the linear equation is constructed.

In this case the width of the MMI section, WMMI, is equal

to 9.0 pm. It can be observed that when Q =0.08 then the

condition number is minimum, which signifies that the residual

error in field continuity matching is also a minimum. This

optimum value of Q! correlates with the square of the effective

indices, and corresponds to the correct balance between the

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2080 J OURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 14, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 1996

TABLE I

TRANSMISSION COEFFICIENTS ( T%) AND THE REFLECTION COEFFICIENTS ( p z ) FOR THE GUIDED MODES IN A l-D MMI SECTION

I I I I I I 1 I

5 0 5 5 6 0 6 5 7 0 7 5 8 0 8 5 9 0

W d w d

Fig 3

wldth, WMMI

Variation of the transimtted modal coefficients ( T ~ ) with the MMI

electric and magnetic fields. It can be seen that the transmission

coefficients also vary slightly with the condition number when

only one mode is used (111 =1) on each side of the junction

(noting the highly magnified scale), but however, for M =6,

the transmission coefficient value is very stable with a. For

each different example, the weighting factor Q is optimized to

achieve the minimum field continuity error.

Table I shows the amplitude coefficients of the transmitted

modes (7,) in the MMI section calculated by using the LSBR

method when the width of the MMI section was 9.0 pm. The

amplitudes of the reflected modes into the incident waveguide

are also given in Table I. Due to the structural and excitation

symmetry, antisymmetric odd modes will not be generated

and this has been numerically tested by including them in

the simulation and noting the insignificant values of their

coefficients. In the following simulations, six symmetric even

modes in the MMI section, and six modes in the access guide

section, are considered to match the field continuity at the butt-

coupling interface and the results are shown in the first row

( M =6). It should be stated that although the guided modes

in each section are orthogonal to each other, the coefficients

of each transmitted and reflected mode, however, also depend

on the inclusion of other modes in the simulation. It can be

noted from the table that the modal coefficients of the higher

order modes are becoming progressively smaller or are very

small. In this simulation 500 elements have been used for both

the waveguide sections. The last line of the Table I shows the

values obtained by using the simple overlap integrals (01),

and all of them are about 7% smaller than the LSBR results

shown. In both the approaches, namely, using the LSBR and

the 01 method, accurate vector fields generated by the finite

0

Fig. 4. Evolution of the light-wave propagation along the MMI section.

element simulation have been used. After calculation of the

modal field profiles, a further computer program is used to

calculate the transmission and the reflection coefficients by

using both the approaches. Typical CPU time required is about

2 min on a Sun Classic workstation. It can be noted that,

although the overlap integral approach can be accepted as

an approximate method, the results obtained using the LSBR

method are somewhat more accurate. The results shown in

the middle row ( M =l), when only one mode is used in

the LSBR approach, are also better than those using the 01

method, only due to the better balance achieved between the

electric and magnetic field components of the error function,

J, during the minimization by using the optimum weighting

function, a.

Fig. 3 shows the variation of the transmitted modal coef-

ficients ( T ~ ) with the width of the MMI section. In this case

only the results using the LSBR method have been plotted.

Due to the structural symmetry, the antisymmetric modes are

not generated, and only the coefficients of the symmetric even

modes are plotted here. As this width of the MMI section,

WMMI, is increased, more and more higher order modes are

generated. It can also be observed that the coefficients of the

lower order even modes have increased and at the same time

that of the fundamental mode has decreased. By using some

specific structures, such as those with a particular symmetry

and specific light illumination, the generation of some of the

modes can be controlled, if required.

Fig. 4 shows the 2- 2 field profile in the MMI section

using the accurate modal coefficients employing the LSBR

method and accurate propagation constants and field profiles

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RAJ ARAJ AN el al.: ACCURATE ANALYSIS OF MMI DEVICES WITH 2-D CONFINEMENT 208 1

0 L

I I 1 1 1

LSBR

0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5

Fig. 5. The resultant field profiles at (a) in the input waveguidesection at z =0- , (b) in theMMI section at z =0+, and (c) in the MMI section at z =40 pm.

Fig. 6. Schematic diagramof the 2-D MMI structure.

by using the finite element method. It can be observed that the

propagating field profile breaks down to multiple sections and

refocuses again at a further distance. In this case the width

of the MMI section is 5 pm. The number of power splitting

sections can be increased by increasing the width of the MMI

section. The exact imaging of the MMI devices is based on the

quadratic spacing of the propagation constants, but however,

it has been shown that in a practical waveguide this is only an

approximation [ 161. For the dielectric waveguides especially,

in the case of weakly confined multimode waveguides, the

eigenmode spectrum deviates from the exact quadratic spacing

of the propagation constants. It can be shown that, for the

structure considered in this paper the exact beat length for the

modes (with respect to the first mode, TEo) will deviate

by 0.3% from the ideal quadratic spacing approximations

and the deviation will increase further for the higher order

modes. This deviation from the ideally required /3 spacing

will produce aberrations and a reduced contrast, particularly

when the splitting number is large.

Fig. 5 shows the transverse (x) dependence of the field

profiles at three axial ( z ) positions. Fig. 5(a) shows the in-

cident field profile in the input waveguide section ( z =0-),

which is the fundamental TEo mode in that section. Fig. 5(b)

shows the field profile at the beginning ( z =0+) of the

MMI section which is very similar to the profile shown in

Fig. 5(a). However, the resultant field profile is due to the

superposition of all the excited modes in this MMZ section

and small ripples at the edges are visible due to incomplete

cancellation of the fields. However, as the composite field

propagates through the MMI section, each mode with its own

propagation constants, their relative phase difference modifies

the resultant field profile, and this profile at z =40 pm is

shown in Fig. 5(c). It can be observed that the field profile

calculated (solid line) by using the modal coefficients from

the overlap integral approach differs from that of using LSBR

method (dashed line). The resultant field profile at this position

is quite distinct from the profile at the beginning of the MMI

section and can be used in the design of a two-way power

splitter.

Next, a MMI section with two-dimensional confinement

is considered. The schematic diagram of the structure is

shown in Fig. 6. A single mode square waveguide with 1 pm

dimensions is butt-coupled to a MMI section of square cross-

section. The guide and cladding indices are 3.3989 and 3.1645,

respectively, for both the guides and the operating wavelength

was 1.55 pm. In this example, it is assumed that both the

waveguides are aligned at the center, so two-fold structural

symmetry does exist. When the fundamental quasi-TEll (H:l)

mode is incident from side 1, the available total symmetry

condition is exploited to reduce the computational time. In the

FE simulations and the subsequent LSBR calculations, 7200

first-order triangular elements are used for a quarter of the

structure and it takes about 5 min CPU time for each modal

solution.

The modal coefficients of the excited modes in the MMI

section are shown in Table I1 for the MMI section width,

WMMI =2.5 pm. The amplitudes of the reflected modes into

the incident waveguide are also given in this Table. More

accurate results by considering four modes simultaneously

( M =4) in each side for the field continuity enforcement in

a least squares sense are shown in column 2. The approximate

results using the overlap integral (01) are also shown in

column 5. It can be seen that results using only one mode

at a time ( M =1) even yields better results than the overlap

integral, due to the better balance achieved between the electric

and magnetic components of the error functional J during

the minimization of the field continuity error. The variation

of modal coefficients (.rmn) of the transmitted HKn modes

in side 2 with the dimension of the square guide (WMMI)

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2082 J OURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 14, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 1996

TABLE I1

TRANSMISSION COEFFICIENTS AND THE REFLECTION COEFFICIENTS ( p z ) FOR THE MODES W A 2-D MMI SECTION

0.7

0 1 I I I

2 5 30 3 5 40 4 s

Ww1bm)

Fig 7

MMI section with its width

Variation of the transmitted coefficients of the guided modes in the

in side 2 is shown in Fig. 7. It can be seen that as the

dimension is increasing, the coefficient of the fundamental

mode is decreasing, whereas the coefficients for other higher

order modes are increasing.

The dominant Hy field profile for the fundamental quasi-TE

mode, H,Y,, in the narrow input waveguide at z =OK , is shown

in Fig. 8(a). The field profile at the beginning (x =0,) of the

MMI section is shown in Fig. 8(b). This profile is obtained

by a superposition of all the four modes with their appropriate

excitation coefficients. It can be observed that the resultant

field profile is very close to the incident field profile shown

in Fig. 8(a), except for a slight aberration around the edges

of the MMI guide-core. This combined profile is due to all

the four modes generated in the MMI section and propagated

through the waveguide. However, as the individual modes

propagate with different propagation constants, their relative

phase difference will change the overall field profile along

the axial direction. Fig. 9 shows transverse (s-y) profile of

the resultant Hy field at a distance x =8.0 pm, which

has a much more expanded profile than the input guide

and can be used to achieve better coupling between a PIC

(photonic integrated circuit) and a fiber. The vertical axis

is in arbitrary units for the dominant y-component of the

magnetic field for the quasi-TE modes. Next, coupling of the

resultant expanded field profile to an optical fiber with spot-

size radius 2.06 pm is calculated. In this work the spot size

radius is defined as the radial distance where the intensity

profile falls to e-' of its maximum value. The variation

5.0 L

0.0

0.0 2.5 5 .O 7.5 10.0

Widthwm) (x)

(a)

5.0 4

0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0

Width(pm) (x)

(b)

Fig. 8.

and (b) at the beginning ( z =0+) in the MMI section.

Field profile (a) in the narrow input waveguide section ( z =OL )

of the overall power coupling, from the PIC to the fiber

mode with the intermediate MMI section, with the MMI

section's length and lateral dimension, is shown in Fig. 10.

It can be observed that for a MMI with larger cross section,

the maximum power coupling is increased, but however, the

optimum longitudinal (2) position is also displaced further. It

can also be noted that the overall power coupling factor is

reasonably stable with the fabrication tolerance of the MMI

section. Without the use of such an MMI section, the power

coupling factor is only 8% for the direct coupling between

the PIC and the optical fiber considered here. However, in

any practical situation the difficulty of accurate positioning

of the fiber from the etched or cleaved facets also has to

be considered and with present technology this is difficult

for cleaved facets. So, an overall 8 dB gain, by using the

intermediate MMI section of 3.0 pm square, is predicted. For

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RAJ ARAJ AN et al.: ACCURATE ANALYSIS OF MMI DEVICES WITH 2-D CONFINEMENT 2083

0%

Fig. 9. Field profile in the MMI section at z =8.0 pm.

0.5

A 0

$ 0.45

.B

8

' 0.4

E

z

0.35

6 ? a 9 10 11

Zcud

Fig. 10.

intermediate MMI section.

Variation of the overall power coupling with the dimensions of an

the optical system integration, the dimensions of the MMI

section can be optimized, to maximize the coupling with

acceptable fabrication tolerance, between a specific PIC and

an optical fiber. On the other hand, Fig. 11 shows the resultant

field profile at a distance z =9.1 pm. It can be observed that

at this axial position ( z ) , the total power is equally divided in

the four corner sections, and a MMI section of this length can

be used as a four-way symmetrical three-dimensional power

divider.

IV. DISCUSSION

For the accurate analysis of practical three-dimensional (3-

D) MMI devices with a complex cross-section to optimize

mode-shape expansion or power splitting, a numerical ap-

proach has been shown to be useful as a design tool. In

this paper, first in a comparative study to show the efficiency

of the numerical approach, the accuracy of the simple over-

Fig. 11. Field profile in the MMI section at z =9.1 pm.

lap integral approach compared to the more accurate LSBR

method has been discussed. The results obtained by using

the LSBR method although computationally more expensive

are seen to be more accurate than those obtained using

the simple overlap integral approach and of real value for

analysis of these devices. Although, for three-dimensional

guided-wave devices with arbitrary z-dependence, a fully 3-D

propagation analysis, based on the finite difference or finite

element or Fourier-based beam propagation method (BPM)

can also be applied, however to simulate devices with a finite

number of discontinuity steps, the combination of the finite

element method and the LSBR is not only numerically more

efficient but also is expected to be more accurate than the

present widely used scalar, paraxial, and uniformly sampled

BPM approximations. Results for simple MMI sections with

both 1- and 2-D confinement are also shown to illustrate

the application of the numerical approach presented in this

paper, namely the combination of the finite element and the

LSBR methods. The evolution of the field profile at different

axial distances is also shown, with their implied application

as mode expanders and mode splitters. Detailed numerical

experiments can be carried out to optimize a particular device

design and to study their fabrication tolerances to facilitate the

potential use of these methods to underpin further experimental

developments. The amplitudes of the reflected modes are

calculated in this study, but however, they were not used

to calculate the overall light coupling to an optical fiber.

However, in a device containing more than one discountinuity

plane or in a laser and optical amplifier, where the calculation

of the reflection coefficients is important, the particular value

of the LSBR method proposed here is shown, over the 01

approach, showing the greater flexibility and power of the

LSBR technique. The inclusion of many modes to find the

transmission and reflection coefficients accurately and the

applicability of the LSBR method to practical guided-wave

structures with two-dimensional confinement are the major

features of the numerical approach presented here. With the

greater use of computer-based numerical methods, increasingly

available at reducing cost, the proposed design method can

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2084 JOURNAL OF LIGHTWAVE TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 14, NO. 9, SEPTEMBER 1996

compete effectively with simple 01 methods as an advanced

analysis tool and be flexible to cope with a wide range of

design problems into the future.

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versity Press, 1989.

Muttukrishnan Rajarajan (S’95) was born in Sri

Lanka on September 26, 1970. Hestudied at theCity

University, London, England, where he received the

degree in electronics engineering with honors in

1994. During his studies he was active in the field of

nonlinear optics. He is currently pursuing thePh.D.

degree at City University, London.

His present research work involves multimode

interference-based devices for optical communica-

tion.

B. M. Azizur Rahman (S’80-M’83-SM’94) re-

ceived the B.Sc.Eng. and M Sc.Eng. degrees in elec-

trical engineering with distinction fromBangladesh

University of Engineering and Technology (BUET),

Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1976 and 1979, respectively.

He received the Ph.D. degree in electronic eugi-

neering fromUniversity College London, London,

England, in 1982.

From 1976 to 1979, he was a Lecturer at the

Electrical Engineering Department, BUET. After

completing the Ph.D. degree, he joined University

College London as a postdoctoral research fellow and continued hs research

work on thefinite element modeling of optical waveguides until 1988. In 1988,

he joined the Electrical Electronic and Information Engineering Department

of City University, London, England, as a Lecturer, where he is now a

Reader. At City University, he directs research work on the computer-aided

characterization of linear, nonlinear, anisotropic and actme optical guided-

wave devices

Dr Rahman is a Member of the Institute of Electncal Engineers (England)

and Member of the European Optical Society

T. Wongcharoen (S’95) photograph and biography not available at thetime

of publication.

Kenneth T. V. Grattan was born in County Ar-

magh, Northern Ireland, on December 9, 1953.

He received the B.Sc. degree in physics and the

Ph.D. degree fromthe Queen’s university, Belfast,

Northern Ireland, in 1974 and 1978, respectively,

and the D.Sc. degree fromCity University, London,

England, in 1992. His Ph.D. research involved the

development of ultraviolet gas dmharge lasers and

their application to the study of the photophysics of

vapor phase organic scintillators.

From19078 to 1983, he was a Research Assistant

at Impenal College, University of London, England, working in the field of

ultraviolet and vacuumultraviolet lasers and their applicahon to measurement

on excited states of atoms and molecules. In 1983, he was appointed “New

Blood” Lecturer in Measurement and Instrumentahon at City University, in

1987, he became a Senior Lecturer, in 1988, he became a Reader, and in

1990, he became a Professor. His research interests are currently in the

field of optical sensing with industrial, environmental, and bioengineering

applications. He has authored and co-authored over 300journal and conference

papers in the field of ophcal measurement and sensing.

Dr. Grattan is a Fellow and Chairman of the Applied Optics Division of

the Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, and

a Fellow of the Institute of Measurment and Control.

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