Research Centers

Research Labs and Groups

Our team’s expertise lies in vapor phase epitaxy (VPE) of III-V photonic devices and nanostructures, bandgap engineering using epitaxial nanostructures, novel photovoltaic devices such as the intermediate band solar cell, photovoltaic characterization, simulation and testing. Funding for this work is provided through multiple state and federal agencies as well as collaboration with small and medium businesses.  Our work leverages student, faculty and industrial collaborators with a truly interdisciplinary nature spanning physics, engineering, materials science and chemistry.  In addition, we have strived to use our research program to further strengthen our student’s training as well as enhance RIT educational outreach and industrial collaboration.  The results of our work are disseminated through both publication and collaboration with major photovoltaic and electronics manufacturers.

Learn more about Nanostructured Photovoltaics & Photonics Laboratories

The Epitaxially-Integrated Nanoscale Systems (EINS) lab focuses on applied physics and engineering at the nanometer scale. At the center of our research is the atomic-level assembly or epitaxy of III-V compound semiconductor nanowires by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). We investigate the monolithic integration and manipulation of III-V nanocrystals on a wide variety of functional, foreign, and flexible platforms, including graphene, metallic foils, carbon-nanotubes, monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides, as well as conventional substrates such Si and III-V wafers. We explore the novel structural, optical, and electrical properties of our nanostructures through extensive materials characterization experiments and we employ unique nano-fabrication processes, such as metal-assisted chemical etching, to develop innovative devices for applications in photovoltaics, optoelectronics, and nanoelectronics.

Learn more about the Epitaxially-Integrated Nanoscale Systems (EINS) Lab

The RIDL detector testing systems use four cylindrical vacuum cryogenic dewars. Each individual system uses a cryocooler that has two cooling stages: one at ~60 K (10 W) and another at ~10 K (7 W). The cold temperatures yield lower detector dark current and read noise. The systems use Lakeshore temperature controllers to sense temperatures at 10 locations within the dewars and to control heaters in the detector thermal path. This thermal control system stabilizes the detector thermal block to 400 mK RMS over timescales greater than 24 hours. The RIDL also has two large integrating spheres that provide uniform and calibrated illumination from the ultraviolet through the infrared. The dewars are stationed on large optical tables that have vibration-isolation legs.

The RIDL has over eight detector readout systems. These include two Astronomical Research Camera controllers with 32 digitizing channels, a 1 MHz readout speed, and 16-bit readout capability, two Teledyne SIDECAR ASICs with 36 channels and readout speeds up to 5 MHz at 12-bits and 500 kHz at 16-bits, two JMClarke Engineering controllers with 16 and 32 readout channels, and two custom FPGA systems based on Altera and Xilinx parts with readout speeds up to 10 MHz that have been used with single-photon counting GMAPDs and photon-number resolving CMOS detectors.

Learn more about the Rochester Imaging Detector Lab >

The RIT Integrated Photonics Group conducts research in the Lobozzo Photonics and Optical Characterization lab. Dr. Preble and his team develop high performance nanophotonic devices and systems using complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor compatible materials and processes. Their work enables unique performance and efficiency by leveraging the inherently high bandwidths and low power of photons with the intelligence of electronics. The Lobozzo lab includes a Ti:sapphire laser, optical parametric oscillator, atomic force microscope, ion mill, cryogenic optoelectronic probe station, and telecom test equipment. Other CfD faculty and students use the lab for terahertz measurements and time-resolved photoluminescence.

Learn more about the Lobozzo Photonics and Optical Characterization Lab

The Integrated Photonics Group has added space for quantum integrated photonic experiments, called the Integrated Photonics Lab. Researchers use this lab to design and develop scalable quantum computing, communication, and sensing circuits integrated on Silicon Photonic chips. These chips densely integrate photon sources, entanglement circuits, and single-photon detectors onto a phase stable platform. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) provided funding through the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program for a Photon Spot single-photon detector system which has high detection efficiencies (>85%) and very low dark counts (<200Hz). The system has detectors for both short-wave infrared and UV wavelengths. The National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fund the laboratories’ research projects.

Learn more about the Integrated Photonics Lab

The Laboratory for Advanced Instrumentation Research (LAIR), led by CfD Professor Dr. Zoran Ninkov, is in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, a short distance from the CfD Headquarters. The LAIR develops novel and innovative instruments for gathering data from a wide variety of physical phenomena and trains the next generation of instrument scientists who will occupy positions in government, industry, and academia. It includes hardware and software for developing terahertz (THz) imaging detectors using Si-MOSFET CMOS technology (Figure 55). Over the years, Dr. Ninkov and his team developed a wide variety of instruments at LAIR, including digital radiography systems, liquid crystal filter based imaging systems for airborne (UAV) mine detection, a speckle imaging camera for the WIYN 3.6 meter telescope, a MEMS digital micromirror based multi-object spectrometer, and an X-ray imaging system for laser fusion research. NASA, the NSF, NYSTAR and a variety of corporations such as Exelis, ITT, Kodak, Harris, Moxtek, and Thermo Fisher Scientific, have funded this research.

In the new Quantum Imaging and Information laboratory, Assistant Professor Gregory Howland studies how to create, manipulate, and detect quantum mechanical phenomena in the spatial degrees-of-freedom of quantum light. These “Quantum Images” encode large amounts of quantum information of single or entangled photons and serve as a platform for quantum sensing, quantum communication, and quantum computing. Specific research topics range from the applied – such as extreme low-light imaging – to the fundamental – such as quantifying large dimensional quantum entanglement. The 700 square foot laboratory will provide optical benches, laser sources, and single-photon detectors for quantum-optical experiments using bulk, fiber, and integrated optics.

The research activities in the Thin Film Electronics group are focused on inorganic thin-film electronics on both silicon and non-silicon platforms. Research on low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) is exploring an alternative method of crystallization using a flash-lamp annealing (FLA) process.  The instrument uses Xenon flash-lamps with an extremely high irradiance to expose samples with pulses in the microsecond timescale, and was acquired by Prof. Denis Cormier in the Industrial & Systems Engineering Department at RIT.  We have most recently demonstrated the ability to form large-grain material with domains that appear to be 10’s of microns in size; the electronic quality of the material is still under investigation.  Thin-film transistors (TFTs) made at RIT using sputter-deposited Indium-Gallium-Zinc-Oxide (IGZO) demonstrate results among the best reported in the literature, with continued efforts focusing on passivation materials for improved device stability and process integration.  Even though there has been limited introduction of IGZO TFTs in display products, this work continues to be relevant and of significant interest to the display industry. Other metal-oxide semiconductors as well as two-dimensional materials (e.g. MoS2) are of interest for VLSI in addition to applications on alternative substrate materials.

Nanofabrication technology has been central to the field of semiconductor device manufacturing for many years.  As applications grow beyond microelectronics, new needs for research into nanoscale patterning and materials emerge.  The Nanolithography Research Laboratories at RIT has pioneered key advances in nanopatterning and materials technologies that have driven nanolithography into sub-30nm regimes.  Activities are underway in optical (UV, VUV) and EUV lithography as well as non-conventional nanopatterning techniques and materials for new applications in micro and nanoelectronics, plasmonic structures, organic electronic devices, micromechanical and microfluidic MEMS and NEMS, bioNEMS, patterned magnetic media, and liquid crystal displays.  Research is being carried out for the extension of far-field projection lithography, high index immersion lithography, near-field lithography, polymer systems, thin film materials, and sub-diffraction plasmonic imaging.  Faculty and students are actively involved with collaborative research with partners in the US, Europe and Asia with support from industrial and government funding organizations. 

Recently the Rochester Institute of Technology has demonstrated the co-integration of CMOS devices and resonant interband tunnel diodes (RITDs).  Our strategy has been to integrate the tunnel diodes following all high temperature steps, but prior to the contact metallization of the CMOS devices.  A recent paper in the Sept. 2003 issue of IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices co-written by our sister group at the Ohio State University found that compared to the performance of bulk RITDs used as a control (with a peak-to-valley current ratio or PVCR of 3.8), the integrated devices exhibited a slight degradation performance (PVCR of 3.4).  We have also published a paper at the University-Government Industry Microelectronics Conference (UGIM 2003) that showed a slight reduction in performance for integrating atop implant regions.  When formally integrated atop CMOS, the PVCR ultimately was found to be 2.8.  Details of this work were presented in Washington, DC at the 2003 ISDRS conference.  We also have recently demonstrated a simple latch-based circuit in the form of a MOnostable BIstable Logic Element (MOBILE) incorporating an integrated FET and RITD.  We believe that the MOBILE serves as a proof of concept, providing a roadmap as to the biasing conditions where the tunnel diode will ultimately be useful with CMOS.  

The Semiconductor Photonics and Electronics Group focuses on developing highly efficient III-V and III-Nitride semiconductors for photonic, optoelectronic, and electronic devices. High-efficiency III-V and III-Nitride semiconductor based photonic and optoelectronic devices such as lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are considered as promising candidates for next generation communication and illumination system.  The research group is working on the development of novel quantum well active regions and substrates for enabling high performance ultraviolet and visible LEDs/ lasers, as well as the engineering of advanced device concept (surface plasmon and nanostructure engineering) for high-performance nanoscale photonic devices through the study of strong light-matter interaction. The group is also developing novel III-Nitride materials for next-generation analog electronics which would be compatible with the existing Si technology. Dr. Zhang’s research group, makes use of advanced tools and techniques to characterize fabricated devices in the Electrical and Optical Characterization Lab for LED devices. These devices include advanced LEDs for applications such as home lighting, display, and quantum computing. The lab includes equipment such as a semiconductor parameter analyzer, electrical probe station, an electroluminescence (EL) measurement setup and a polarization-dependent setup.

Our group is broadly interested in light-matter interactions from the perspective of fundamental science as well as technological applications. Currently we are focused on the interplay of electromagnetic modes of radiation, such as laser light, with nanofabricated components, such as mechanical oscillators and rotors. Our aims are the cooling of macroscopic objects into the quantum regime and to establish the limits to quantum sensing of mechanical displacement, force, and rotation, for example. These investigations are expected to test the foundation of quantum mechanics as well as to yield next generation sensors that circumvent the limits posed by quantum mechanics to their sensitivity. Some of our effort also goes towards investigating other related platforms for quantum technologies such as ultracold atoms and molecules. Our work is fully theoretical, involving mostly analytical calculations, using the techniques of quantum optics and atomic physics, and some medium-scale numerical work. We collaborate closely with experimental groups locally, nationally, as well as internationally. Our program involves researchers at every level, including undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students as well as postdoctoral scholars. Recent funding sources include the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Science Foundation.

The Biomedical Modeling, Visualization and Image-guided Navigation (BiMVisIGN) laboratory has been working on the development, implementation and validation of new tools and techniques for medical image processing, computing and artificial intelligence in support of computer-assisted diagnosis and therapy. Projects have included deep-learning based image segmentation and registration for multi-modal images and  clinical parameters quantification, cardiac atlas reconstruction from multi-plane 2D real-time ultrasound imaging, surgical tool identification and segmentation from real-time endoscopic / laparoscopic images, abdominal aortic aneurysm modeling and severity assessment using machine learning techniques, image-guided navigation and surgical tracking applications for minimally invasive renal interventions, cardiac active stress reconstruction from multi-phase MR imaging, and the development of image registration techniques for tracking background lung deformation for nodule progression assessment. Our research has been published in several high impact venues, including Medial Physics, IEEE Reviews on Biomedical Engineering, Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Journal of Medical Imaging, Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computational Vision and Biomechanics, and the proceedings of IEEE and SPIE – Optics and Photonics. Moreover, our work has been featured at several international conferences, including Functional Imaging and Modeling of the Heart, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology, SPIE Medical Imaging, Visualization and Image Processing, and Computing in Cardiology.

Diagram of medical imaging.

Integration of biomedical imaging, high-order meshing and biomechanical modeling for 4D (3D + time) quantification and visualization of myocardial contractility from cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (Linte NSF CDS&E: 2018 – 2021)

Visualizations and charts.

Biomedical image computing, modeling and visualization tools and techniques for diagnostic and therapeutic data science (Linte NIH NIGMS MIRA: 2018 – 2023)

The Experimental Cosmology group led by Dr. Michael Zemcov studies the measurements of cosmic large scale structure, the epoch of reionization, secondary anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background, and the history of the star formation in the Universe. Dr. Zemcov has extensive experience with instrumentation, observation and data analysis throughout the electromagnetic spectrum from the optical to the radio, with particular emphasis on the infra-red and sub-mm/mm regimes. The group is currently involved in a number of projects in a variety of roles, ranging from technology development to the scientific interpretation of data from mature instruments. Dr. Zemcov’s group uses two labs Experimental Cosmology Laboratory, a 375 square foot lab is capable of creating technologies for ground- and space-based applications in experimental astrophysics, and the Suborbital Astrophysics Laboratory, which provides capabilities to design, integrate, and calibrate sounding rocket payloads for astrophysical science.

Learn more about the Experimental Cosmology Group

Dr. Maywar and his research group study fiber-optic networks and communication systems, all-optical signal processing, photonics and opto-electronics, optical phenomenon, and nonlinear optics. They investigate both digital and analog optical-communication systems, with particular interest in polarization diversity, multi-level phase and power modulation schemes, and nonlinear optical-domain signal processing. The group utilizes the Photonics Systems Lab and the Center for Photonic Communications to test and measure fiber optic signals and systems. The Center for Photonic Communications has been used for hands on workshops and training. The labs include many oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, signal generators and fiber optic and photonic components.

Learn more about the Photonics Systems Group