Advisory Board

Dr. Tom Baehr-Jones

The Nanotechnology Now article “The photon force is with us”: Harnessing light to drive nanomachines said

Science fiction writers have long envisioned sailing a spacecraft by the optical force of the sun’s light. But, the forces of sunlight are too weak to fill even the oversized sails that have been tried. Now a team led by researchers at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science has shown that the force of light indeed can be harnessed to drive machines — when the process is scaled to nano-proportions.
Their work opens the door to a new class of semiconductor devices that are operated by the force of light. They envision a future where this process powers quantum information processing and sensing devices, as well as telecommunications that run at ultra-high speed and consume little power.

Tom Baehr-Jones, Ph.D. was on this team of researchers and is Research Scientist in the Nanophotonics group at the University of Washington.
His research interests include computational physics and the design and fabrication of nonlinear integrated optics devices. He was a cofounder at both Simulant and Luxtera.
Tom coauthored High-Q optical resonators in silicon-on-insulator-based slot waveguides, Integrated plasmon and dielectric waveguides, Liquid-crystal electric tuning of a photonic crystal laser, Mode matching interface for efficient coupling of light into planar photonic crystals, Terahertz All-Optical Modulation in a Silicon-Polymer Hybrid System, High-Q ring resonators in thin silicon-on-insulator, Towards a millivolt optical modulator with nano-slot waveguides, Hybrid superprism with low insertion losses and suppressed cross-talk, Analysis of the Tuning Sensitivity of Silicon-on-Insulator Optical Ring Resonators, Optically triggered Q-switched photonic crystal laser, and Nonlinear polymer-clad silicon slot waveguide modulator with a half wave voltage of 0.25 V.
His patents include Frequency conversion with nonlinear optical polymers and high index contrast waveguides, Bremsstrahlung laser (“blaser”), Apparatus and method for detecting optical radiation, Low loss terahertz waveguides, and terahertz generation with nonlinear optical systems, Integrated plasmon and dielectric waveguides, Near field scanning microscope probe and method for fabricating same, and Coupled segmented waveguide structures.
Tom earned his BS (Physics, 2002), his MS (Applied Physics, 2005), and his Ph.D. (Applied Physics, 2006) from Caltech.