CIAN - Research

Research Highlights at the Center for Integrated Access Networks

The research of the CIAN Engineering Research Center will advance upon three major thrusts wherein interoperability of components will be proven via state-of-the-art testbeds, which will provide for cross-collaboration among system, sub-system, and device research efforts.

  1. Thrust 1: Optical Communication Systems and Networking
  2. Thrust 2: Subsystem Integration and Silicon Nanophotonics
  3. Thrust 3: Materials and Devices

The vision of CIAN is to create transformative technologies for optical access networks where virtually any application requiring any resource can be seamlessly and efficiently aggregated and interfaced with existing and future core networks in a cost-effective manner.

Analogous to the evolution over decades of today's computer laptop using massive integration of discrete electronic components, the CIAN vision would lead to the creation of the PC equivalent of the optical access network by employing optoelectronic integration to enable affordable and flexible access to any type of service, including delivery of data rates approaching 10 Gigabits/sec to a broad population base anywhere and at any time.

Outcome/accomplishment: Researchers have moved a step closer to projecting 3D video images in near real-time-images that wouldn't require special eyewear to view.A key breakthrough was the development of a novel polymeric material capable of rapidly displaying many images, as part of a system developed by the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center based at the University of Arizona (UA).

Impact/benefits: This advance promises to revolutionize video projection-a more important improvement than the advancement from standard TV projection to high definition. The system is the first with enough computing power and a display medium that can project a near real-time video image in holographic stereo. The UA system has proven the feasibility of transmitting a human-size, full-color 3D image across the world for videoconferencing that would mimic in-person meetings. The CIAN Center Director estimates that five more years of research will be needed before this technology can be commercialized.



Demonstration of rapid refresh holographic 3D telepresence. The Nature cover depicts three different perspective images of an object (one of the researchers on the project) sent through the Internet. A person in one location is displayed in another location in 3D and in near-real time.

Thrust 1: Optical Communication Systems and Networking will act as the "top-down" driver for the development and integration of components and devices that will enable integrated subsystems, co-optimized to cost-effectively provide high-data rate services to the "curb."

This thrust includes issues such as aggregation and access networks, cross-layer optimization, wavelength multicasting and ubiquitous monitoring. The projects in this thrust will enable and demonstrate numerous new network applications including ultra high-bandwidth data centers and immersive telepresence.

Thrust 2: Subsystem Integration and Silicon Nanophotonics will explore signal conditioning, processing, reconfiguration, and control functions realized with various platforms including CMOS compatible nanostructures and silicon nanophotonics, and multifunctional integrated subsystems exploiting monolithic and heterogeneous integration.

Thrust 3: Materials and Devices will act as the scientific and technological foundation by conducting research on new materials, device technologies, processing and integration methods for chip-scale integrated optoelectronics.

Dr. Alan Willner

Thrust 1 Lead

Dr. Axel Scherer

Thrust 2 Lead

Dr.Connie Chang-Hasnain

Thrust 3 Lead

Dr. Keren Bergman

Thrust 1 Co-Lead

Dr. Ming Wu

Thrust 2 Co-Lead

Dr. Robert Norwood

Thrust 3 Co-Lead