Physical Optics and Electronics Group
Prof. Rajeev Ram

We invent new optoelectronic devices to solve problems in communications, energy, and bioengineering. Our research focuses on the boundary of systems and device physics. The systems drive the need for creative solutions and validate the utility of our scientific work.


We are developing photonic technologies to address climate change. Two papers published in Frontiers in Plant Science and Scientific Reports demonstrate that Raman spectroscopy can be used to guide precision delivery of nitrogen fertilizer thus limiting runoff of excess nitrogen which is a major source of pollution for aquatic ecosystems and of greenhouse gases produced during the manufacture of ammonia. A perspective on how such new sensor technologies can support sustainable farming has been published in Nature Plants.


A technique to incorporate photonic integration in any advanced CMOS technology was reported by Amir Atabaki in Nature. This work follows our earlier demonstration of the first microprocessor with an optical network that was also reported in Nature. This demonstration marks the culmination of a decade of work started at MIT and continued through collaborations at Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder.


A microbioreactor was used to control synthetic gene networks engineered in yeast. The flexibility of this platform was demonstrated through the switchable production of two different therapeutic proteins (interferon and human growth hormone). The experiments were performed by Ningren Han in close collaboration with Pablo Perez-Pinera in Tim Lu’s Group and reported in Nature Communications.