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Arka Majumdar

  • Assistant Professor

Appointments

Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
Assistant Professor, Physics

Biography

Professor Arka Majumdar received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in 2007, where he was honored with the Gold Medal from the President of India. Majumdar completed his master’s degree (2009) and Ph.D. (2012) in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, working on solid-state quantum optics. He spent one year at the University of California, Berkeley, (2012-13) as a postdoc before joining Intel Labs in Santa Clara, Calif., to work on next generation electro-optic modulators and optical sensors (2013-14). Majumdar accepted a faculty position at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the Electrical Engineering and Physics departments in August 2014. His research interests include combining emerging nano-photonic devices with computational algorithms to build compact optical sensors to support the growing Infrastructure of the Internet of Things. Majumdar is a recipient of a 2014 Young Investigator Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and 2015 Intel Early Career Faculty Award.

Research Interests

Nanophotonics; dielectric metasurfaces; miniature optical sensors.

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UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects.

Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows!

The Projects:

simsong.org
PI: Les Atlas

Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels
PI: Karl Böhringer

Haptic Passwords
PI: Howard Chizeck

IRA, the robot surgical assistant
PI: Blake Hannaford

UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering
PI: Eric Klavins

Smart Eyewear
PI: Arka Majumdar

OsteoApp
PI: Shwetak Patel

Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology
PI: Joshua Smith
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_10619" align="alignleft" width="510"]From left: Arka Majumdar, Alan Zhan and Shane Colburn From left: Arka Majumdar, Alan Zhan and Shane Colburn[/caption]

A near-eye display is a device that brings a visual display as close to you as headphones bring sound. A well-known recent example is Google’s smart glasses, Google Glass. A small, lightweight near-eye display would be of great use for these mobile devices or in industries such as medicine and aerospace, where there exist stringent size and weight constraints. The potential applications of compact optical systems have driven interest in freeform optics.

Traditional optics, such as a lens, relies on the shape of its surface and its volume to bend light. However, it is difficult to manufacture the sharp curvatures and complex forms utilized in freeform optics using existing technologies. To solve this problem, UW Electrical Engineering (EE) and Physics Assistant Professor Arka Majumdar and his group have developed visible frequency freeform optical elements by leveraging nano-patterned surfaces, known as metasurfaces. These planar metasurfaces mimic the curved surfaces in traditional optics and induce spatially varying changes in phase with an ultrathin and flat form factor, enabling cheap and simple fabrication of freeform elements.

The work comes from Majumdar’s paper “Metasurface Freeform Nanophotonics,” which was recently published in Scientific Reports. The researchers demonstrated metasurfaces with a cubic phase profile, demonstrating extended depth of focus and focal-tunable lenses. This work clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of metasurface technology to build ultra-thin freeform optical elements.

The technology developed by Majumdar’s group is inspired by earlier work in diffractive optics, where spatial phase shifts were achieved by varying the thickness of the device. Majumdar’s group took a slightly different approach — they use sub-wavelength structures, which allow for multiple phase-shifts by only changing the lateral geometry. This enables a flat component, which is easier to manufacture.

“Not only do these structures eliminate the need for multiple stage lithography, the sub-wavelength nature allows us to fabricate spatial profiles with large phase gradients,” lead author and UW physics graduate student Alan Zhan said. “Realizing large phase gradients opens the possibility of building monolithic optical systems, like electronic integrated circuits.”

[caption id="attachment_10615" align="alignright" width="540"]figure_ms_press_release Figure: The scanning electron micrograph of the fabricated cubic metasurfaces[/caption]

These metasurface freeform elements being developed by Majumdar and his group could enable complex optical systems, encompassing uses from vision-correcting eyewear to multi-focal augmented reality visors to implantable microscopes, all while maintaining an ultra-compact form-factor.

“The two fields metasurface and freeform optics are led by two disconnected groups of scientists, and our approach will open up more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation between these two fields," Majumdar said. “Our current focus is on integrating these elements into existing systems. By incorporating them with optical systems, they’ll be able to demonstrate imaging. A next step would be integrating them with solid-state mirrors, so they’ll be able to develop monolithic optical systems.”

Co-authors on the paper are EE graduate student Shane Colburn and postdoctoral scholar Dr. Chris Dodson. The research is funded in part by an Intel Early Career Award and Amazon Catalyst.
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When an individual uses Facebook or searches Google, the information processing happens in a large data center. Short distance optical interconnects can improve the performance of these data centers. Current systems utilize electrons, which could cause overheating and wastes power. However, utilizing light to transfer information between computer chips and boards can improve efficiency.

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics Arka Majumdar, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Physics Xiaodong Xu and their team have discovered an important first step towards building electrically pumped nanolasers (or light-based sources). These lasers are critical in the development of integrated photonic based short-distance optical interconnects and sensors.

The team demonstrated this first step through cavity-enhanced electroluminescence from atomically thin monolayer materials. The thinness of this material yields efficient coordination between the two key components of the laser. Both the cavity-enhanced electroluminescence and material will allow energy-efficient data centers and support high performance parallel computing.

Recently discovered atomically thin semiconductors have generated significant interest due to showing light emission in the 2D limit. However, due to the extreme thinness of this material, its emission intensity is usually not strong enough, and it is important to integrate them with photonic devices (nano-lasers, in this case) to get more light out.

[caption id="attachment_9670" align="alignright" width="224"]Assistant Professor Xiaodong Xu Associate Professor Xiaodong Xu[/caption]

“Researchers have demonstrated electroluminescence in this material [atomically thin monolayer],” Majumdar said. “Last year, we also reported the operation of an ultra-low threshold optically pumped laser, using this material integrated with nano-cavity. But for practical applications, electrically driven devices are required. Using this, one can power the devices using electrical current. For example, you power your laser pointer using an electrical battery. ”

Majumdar and Xu recently reported cavity-enhanced electroluminescence in atomically thin material. A heterostructure of different monolayer materials are used to enhance the emission. The results were published in a recent edition of Nano Letters. Without the cavity, the emission is broadband (unidirectional) and weak. A nano-cavity enhances the emission and also enables single-mode (directed) operation. This allows direct modulation of the emission, a crucial requirement for the data-communication.

These structures are of current scientific interest and are considered the new “gold rush” of condensed matter physics and materials science. Their current result and the previous demonstration of optically pumped lasers show the promise of electrically pumped nano-lasers, which constitutes the next milestone for this research. This next achievement will improve data center efficiency for optimal performance.

“Our team is currently exploring integration of the monolayer materials with a silicon nitride platform,” Majumdar said. “Through this work, we hope to achieve the coveted CMOS [complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor] compatibility, which is the same process by which the computer processors are fabricated today.”

[caption id="attachment_9671" align="alignleft" width="464"]Figure 1: Schematic of the 2D material heterostructure on top of which the photonic crystal cavity is transferred. Figure 2: Optical microscope image of the cavity transferred on the 2D material heterostructure Figure 1: Schematic of the 2D material heterostructure on top of which the photonic crystal cavity is transferred. Figure 2: Optical microscope image of the cavity transferred on the 2D material heterostructure.[/caption]

The research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
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Electrical Engineering and Physics Assistant Professors Kai-Mei Fu and Arka Majumdar received a four-year, $2 million Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project entitled: “A semiconductor-diamond nanophotonic transmitter for long-distance quantum communication.” This highly-competitive grant was awarded to Fu and Majumdar to support their upcoming work on fundamentally-secure communications, which exploits the principles of quantum mechanics.

Fu, who is the principal investigator on the project, and Majumdar will work alongside Professor Maiken Mikkelsen at Duke University and Professor Alejandro Rodriguez at Princeton University. The team formed in response to a call by the NSF for practical quantum-secure communication.

Secure communication is essential in today’s online world as well as in addressing issues of national security.

In the mid-1980s, it was proven that quantum mechanics allows unconditionally secure communication, since it is impossible to gain information about a quantum system without changing the information. However, long distance communication was not seen as even theoretically possible until more than a decade later due to the no-cloning property (it is impossible to identically copy quantum information without full prior knowledge of the information).

The no-cloning property prevents quantum signal amplification, which is essential to transport a signal over long distances. This barrier to transporting a signal was dismantled with the realization that quantum information can be teleported using a device called a quantum repeater.

“It’s just like Star Trek, but with information” Professor Fu said. “We can’t amplify our quantum signal like we do today in fiber-optic cables, but what we can do is destroy the information at one network node and have it appear at another.”

However, significant roadblocks exist for this theoretical concept to become a practical reality. The existing systems work at low temperature and are physically bulky, expensive and not scalable over large distances. Professor Fu and her team tackle these challenges by proposing two transformative approaches.

First, they introduce a fully integrated platform, which combines plasmonics (the interaction between an electromagnetic field and free electrons in a metal), semiconductor optoelectronics (the interaction of photons with semiconductor materials), and diamond-based quantum light emitters to increase the operating temperature to ambient temperature.

Second, they will build a novel frequency conversion block to interface the quantum devices with the existing telecommunication infrastructure. These devices will be designed by state-of-the-art computational techniques, which have only been recently tractable with today’s resources.

Reaching a deployable quantum repeater technology will take several years to achieve, even if Fu and her team are successful. However, pairing physics and engineering provides the approach needed to tackle the initial challenges of scalability.

“We want to discover how we can get this secure method into a semiconductor platform [on a chip] and make it practical,” said Professor Fu. “If it becomes practical, then we can focus on making it scalable over large distances to enable a global secure network.”

More News:

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UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects.

Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows!

The Projects:

simsong.org
PI: Les Atlas

Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels
PI: Karl Böhringer

Haptic Passwords
PI: Howard Chizeck

IRA, the robot surgical assistant
PI: Blake Hannaford

UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering
PI: Eric Klavins

Smart Eyewear
PI: Arka Majumdar

OsteoApp
PI: Shwetak Patel

Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology
PI: Joshua Smith
                            [post_title] => 8 faculty named 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellows
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                            [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_10619" align="alignleft" width="510"]From left: Arka Majumdar, Alan Zhan and Shane Colburn From left: Arka Majumdar, Alan Zhan and Shane Colburn[/caption]

A near-eye display is a device that brings a visual display as close to you as headphones bring sound. A well-known recent example is Google’s smart glasses, Google Glass. A small, lightweight near-eye display would be of great use for these mobile devices or in industries such as medicine and aerospace, where there exist stringent size and weight constraints. The potential applications of compact optical systems have driven interest in freeform optics.

Traditional optics, such as a lens, relies on the shape of its surface and its volume to bend light. However, it is difficult to manufacture the sharp curvatures and complex forms utilized in freeform optics using existing technologies. To solve this problem, UW Electrical Engineering (EE) and Physics Assistant Professor Arka Majumdar and his group have developed visible frequency freeform optical elements by leveraging nano-patterned surfaces, known as metasurfaces. These planar metasurfaces mimic the curved surfaces in traditional optics and induce spatially varying changes in phase with an ultrathin and flat form factor, enabling cheap and simple fabrication of freeform elements.

The work comes from Majumdar’s paper “Metasurface Freeform Nanophotonics,” which was recently published in Scientific Reports. The researchers demonstrated metasurfaces with a cubic phase profile, demonstrating extended depth of focus and focal-tunable lenses. This work clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of metasurface technology to build ultra-thin freeform optical elements.

The technology developed by Majumdar’s group is inspired by earlier work in diffractive optics, where spatial phase shifts were achieved by varying the thickness of the device. Majumdar’s group took a slightly different approach — they use sub-wavelength structures, which allow for multiple phase-shifts by only changing the lateral geometry. This enables a flat component, which is easier to manufacture.

“Not only do these structures eliminate the need for multiple stage lithography, the sub-wavelength nature allows us to fabricate spatial profiles with large phase gradients,” lead author and UW physics graduate student Alan Zhan said. “Realizing large phase gradients opens the possibility of building monolithic optical systems, like electronic integrated circuits.”

[caption id="attachment_10615" align="alignright" width="540"]figure_ms_press_release Figure: The scanning electron micrograph of the fabricated cubic metasurfaces[/caption]

These metasurface freeform elements being developed by Majumdar and his group could enable complex optical systems, encompassing uses from vision-correcting eyewear to multi-focal augmented reality visors to implantable microscopes, all while maintaining an ultra-compact form-factor.

“The two fields metasurface and freeform optics are led by two disconnected groups of scientists, and our approach will open up more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation between these two fields," Majumdar said. “Our current focus is on integrating these elements into existing systems. By incorporating them with optical systems, they’ll be able to demonstrate imaging. A next step would be integrating them with solid-state mirrors, so they’ll be able to develop monolithic optical systems.”

Co-authors on the paper are EE graduate student Shane Colburn and postdoctoral scholar Dr. Chris Dodson. The research is funded in part by an Intel Early Career Award and Amazon Catalyst.
                            [post_title] => Researchers deliver the future in optical display through freeform optics
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                            [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_9669" align="alignleft" width="247"]Assistant Professor Arka Majumdar Assistant Professor Arka Majumdar[/caption]

When an individual uses Facebook or searches Google, the information processing happens in a large data center. Short distance optical interconnects can improve the performance of these data centers. Current systems utilize electrons, which could cause overheating and wastes power. However, utilizing light to transfer information between computer chips and boards can improve efficiency.

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics Arka Majumdar, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Physics Xiaodong Xu and their team have discovered an important first step towards building electrically pumped nanolasers (or light-based sources). These lasers are critical in the development of integrated photonic based short-distance optical interconnects and sensors.

The team demonstrated this first step through cavity-enhanced electroluminescence from atomically thin monolayer materials. The thinness of this material yields efficient coordination between the two key components of the laser. Both the cavity-enhanced electroluminescence and material will allow energy-efficient data centers and support high performance parallel computing.

Recently discovered atomically thin semiconductors have generated significant interest due to showing light emission in the 2D limit. However, due to the extreme thinness of this material, its emission intensity is usually not strong enough, and it is important to integrate them with photonic devices (nano-lasers, in this case) to get more light out.

[caption id="attachment_9670" align="alignright" width="224"]Assistant Professor Xiaodong Xu Associate Professor Xiaodong Xu[/caption]

“Researchers have demonstrated electroluminescence in this material [atomically thin monolayer],” Majumdar said. “Last year, we also reported the operation of an ultra-low threshold optically pumped laser, using this material integrated with nano-cavity. But for practical applications, electrically driven devices are required. Using this, one can power the devices using electrical current. For example, you power your laser pointer using an electrical battery. ”

Majumdar and Xu recently reported cavity-enhanced electroluminescence in atomically thin material. A heterostructure of different monolayer materials are used to enhance the emission. The results were published in a recent edition of Nano Letters. Without the cavity, the emission is broadband (unidirectional) and weak. A nano-cavity enhances the emission and also enables single-mode (directed) operation. This allows direct modulation of the emission, a crucial requirement for the data-communication.

These structures are of current scientific interest and are considered the new “gold rush” of condensed matter physics and materials science. Their current result and the previous demonstration of optically pumped lasers show the promise of electrically pumped nano-lasers, which constitutes the next milestone for this research. This next achievement will improve data center efficiency for optimal performance.

“Our team is currently exploring integration of the monolayer materials with a silicon nitride platform,” Majumdar said. “Through this work, we hope to achieve the coveted CMOS [complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor] compatibility, which is the same process by which the computer processors are fabricated today.”

[caption id="attachment_9671" align="alignleft" width="464"]Figure 1: Schematic of the 2D material heterostructure on top of which the photonic crystal cavity is transferred. Figure 2: Optical microscope image of the cavity transferred on the 2D material heterostructure Figure 1: Schematic of the 2D material heterostructure on top of which the photonic crystal cavity is transferred. Figure 2: Optical microscope image of the cavity transferred on the 2D material heterostructure.[/caption]

The research is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
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Electrical Engineering and Physics Assistant Professors Kai-Mei Fu and Arka Majumdar received a four-year, $2 million Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project entitled: “A semiconductor-diamond nanophotonic transmitter for long-distance quantum communication.” This highly-competitive grant was awarded to Fu and Majumdar to support their upcoming work on fundamentally-secure communications, which exploits the principles of quantum mechanics.

Fu, who is the principal investigator on the project, and Majumdar will work alongside Professor Maiken Mikkelsen at Duke University and Professor Alejandro Rodriguez at Princeton University. The team formed in response to a call by the NSF for practical quantum-secure communication.

Secure communication is essential in today’s online world as well as in addressing issues of national security.

In the mid-1980s, it was proven that quantum mechanics allows unconditionally secure communication, since it is impossible to gain information about a quantum system without changing the information. However, long distance communication was not seen as even theoretically possible until more than a decade later due to the no-cloning property (it is impossible to identically copy quantum information without full prior knowledge of the information).

The no-cloning property prevents quantum signal amplification, which is essential to transport a signal over long distances. This barrier to transporting a signal was dismantled with the realization that quantum information can be teleported using a device called a quantum repeater.

“It’s just like Star Trek, but with information” Professor Fu said. “We can’t amplify our quantum signal like we do today in fiber-optic cables, but what we can do is destroy the information at one network node and have it appear at another.”

However, significant roadblocks exist for this theoretical concept to become a practical reality. The existing systems work at low temperature and are physically bulky, expensive and not scalable over large distances. Professor Fu and her team tackle these challenges by proposing two transformative approaches.

First, they introduce a fully integrated platform, which combines plasmonics (the interaction between an electromagnetic field and free electrons in a metal), semiconductor optoelectronics (the interaction of photons with semiconductor materials), and diamond-based quantum light emitters to increase the operating temperature to ambient temperature.

Second, they will build a novel frequency conversion block to interface the quantum devices with the existing telecommunication infrastructure. These devices will be designed by state-of-the-art computational techniques, which have only been recently tractable with today’s resources.

Reaching a deployable quantum repeater technology will take several years to achieve, even if Fu and her team are successful. However, pairing physics and engineering provides the approach needed to tackle the initial challenges of scalability.

“We want to discover how we can get this secure method into a semiconductor platform [on a chip] and make it practical,” said Professor Fu. “If it becomes practical, then we can focus on making it scalable over large distances to enable a global secure network.”

More News:

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UW EE Professors Les Atlas, Karl Böhringer, Howard Chizeck, Blake Hannaford, Eric Klavins, Arka Majumdar, Shwetak Patel and Joshua Smith were awarded the 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellowship.  In a partnership with the University of Washington, Amazon Catalyst supports bold solutions to world problems. The program provides funding, mentorship and community to the innovative projects.

Congratulations to all newly-minted Amazon Catalyst Fellows!

The Projects:

simsong.org
PI: Les Atlas

Active self-cleaning technology for solar panels
PI: Karl Böhringer

Haptic Passwords
PI: Howard Chizeck

IRA, the robot surgical assistant
PI: Blake Hannaford

UW BIOFAB: A cloud laboratory for genetic engineering
PI: Eric Klavins

Smart Eyewear
PI: Arka Majumdar

OsteoApp
PI: Shwetak Patel

Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology
PI: Joshua Smith
                    [post_title] => 8 faculty named 2017 Amazon Catalyst Fellows
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Representative Publications

  • Cavity-Enabled Self-Electro-Optic Bistability in Silicon Photonics, Arka Majumdar and Armand Rundquist, Optics Letters, Vol. 39, Iss. 13, pp. 3864-3867 (2014).
  • Monolayer semiconductor nanocavity lasers with ultralow thresholds, Sanfeng Wu, Sonia Buckley, John R. Schaibley, Liefeng Feng, Jiaqiang Yan, David G. Mandrus, Fariba Hatami, Wang Yao, Jelena Vuckovic, Arka Majumdar and Xiaodong Xu, Nature, 520, 69-72, (2015).
  • Low Contrast Dielectric Metasurface Optics, Alan Zhan, Shane Colburn, Rahul Trivedi, Taylor Fryett, Christopher Dodson, Arka Majumdar.
  • Cavity enhanced second-order nonlinear quantum photonic logic circuits, Rahul Trivedi, Uday K Khankhoje and Arka Majumdar.
  • Cavity Enhanced Nonlinear Optics for Few Photon Optical Bistability, Taylor K. Fryett, Chris Dodson, Arka Majumdar, Opt. Express 23(12), 16246-16255 (2015).
  • Opt. Express, Taylor K. Fryett, Chris Dodson, Arka Majumdar, Opt. Express 23(12), 16246-16255 (2015).
Arka Majumdar Headshot
Phone206-616-5558
arka@uw.edu
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Research Areas

Education

  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, 2012
    Stanford University
  • MS, Electrical Engineering, 2009
    Stanford University
  • B. Tech, Electronics Engineering, 2007
    IIT-Kharagpur