M.K. (Meint) Smit

Prof. Meint Smit leads the Photonic Integration group at the COBRA Research Institute. He is one of the pioneers of Photonic Integration. Together with Prof. Roel Baets from IMEC, he initiated and coordinated the EU-FP6 Network of excellence ePIXnet, in which more than 60 groups (academic and industrial) involved in Photonic Integration participated. He is currently leading two major European projects (EuroPIC and PARADIGM), and a Dutch Program (STW GTIP) in the field of InP-based Generic Photonic Integration Technology, with a total research budget of over 25 M€, in which Europe’s key players in the field of InP Photonic Integration are cooperating in order to strengthen Europe’s present lead in this field and provide it with the world’s first industrial generic photonic InP-foundries.

Meint Smit’s profile is effectively summarized in the citation of the MOC-Award that he received at the Micro-Optics Conference in Tokyo, in 2009: “for pioneering contributions and leadership in Optoelectronic Integration, including Arrayed Waveguide Grating”. His photonics career can be roughly divided in three periods:

1985-1995: Basic components. Smit invented the Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG), the most frequently applied demultiplexer in photonic integrated circuits (ICs), and pioneered the application of the self-imaging properties of multimode waveguides in compact and fabrication-tolerant Multi-Mode-Interference couplers (MMI, a name coined by him).

1995-2005: Photonic ICs. In the early 1990s, Smit started research on integration of AWGs and MMIs with active components in increasingly complex photonic ICs, leading up to the world’s first AWG-based integrated Wavelength Division Multiplexed (WDM) receiver. A number of successes followed: the smallest semiconductor-based AWG demultiplexer (1994), the most compact integrated Add-Drop Multiplexer (1996), a 9-channel WDM-laser (in cooperation with Philips, 1996), the most compact optical cross-connect (1999), a chip, which has often been cited as an early example of complex photonic integration, and the first wavelength converter integrated with a tunable laser source (2003).

2005-now: Generic Integration Technology. Unlike today’s microelectronics, technology development in photonics is strongly application-specific: for almost every application a novel technology is developed, which makes the entry costs very high. This has prevented a breakthrough of Photonic Integration. In response to this, Smit pioneered the use of the microelectronics methodology in photonics, and contributed to the launch of open-access integration technology platforms for InP and Silicon Photonics. He is leading the InP platform (JePPIX) in which Europe’s key-players in the field of InP technology are cooperating in two major European projects (EuroPIC and PARADIGM). Through many invited and keynote presentations and leadership of a number of major European projects, Smit has greatly contributed to the fact that the European InP community has taken the lead in the field of generic photonic integration technology.

Five key publications

  1. Smit, M.K. et al. Moore’s law in Photonics. Laser Photonics Rev. 6, No. 1, 1–13, 2012. DOI 10.1002/lpor.201100001.
  2. Hill, M.T. et al. Lasing in metallic-coated nano-cavities. Nature Photonics, 1(10), 589-594, 2007.
  3. Hill, M.T. et al. A fast low-power optical memory based on coupled micro-ring lasers. Nature 432, 7014, pp. 206-209, 2004.
  4. Smit, M.K. and C. Van Dam. PHASAR-based WDM devices: principles, design and applications. J. of Sel. Topics in Quantum. Electron., Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 236-250, June 1996.
  5. Smit, M.K. New focusing and dispersive planar component based on an optical phased array. Electronics Letters, Vol. 24, pp. 385-386, 1988.