New Faculty Profiles

Mike Watts joined the MIT EECS Department in August 2010 as an Assistant Professor and principal investigator with the Photonic Microsystems Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, RLE

Mike Watts joined the MIT EECS Department in August 2010 as an Assistant Professor and principal investigator with the Photonic Microsystems Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, RLE

Mike Watts joined the MIT EECS Department in August 2010 as an Assistant Professor and a member of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, where he heads the Photonic Microsystems Group. Mike received his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University in 1996. He then joined Draper Laboratory as a Member of Technical Staff in their Fiber Optics Group. In 1999 he became a Draper Fellow and received his SM and PhD degrees from MIT in 2001 and 2005, respectively. In 2005, he joined Sandia National Labs, where he led their silicon photonics effort and was promoted to a Principal Member of Technical Staff.

Mike’s research interests are in the electromagnetic modeling, fabrication, and testing of complex photonic microsystems. His research is currently being applied to low-power communications, sensing, and microwave-photonics systems. His efforts in low-power communications have led to the lowest power silicon modulators and first silicon high-speed bandpass switches, devices which now consume only a few femtojoules-per-bit. These and other microphotonic devices are being directly integrated with CMOS electronics for high-speed transmitting, receiving, switching, and routing applications of digital signals.

In addition, his work in sensing applications has led to a new class of microphotonic thermal detectors that have yielded internal noise performance approaching fundamental limits of thermal detection. Mike is now pursuing large-scale integration techniques for photonic microsystems in order to form thermal imagers out of these microphotonic elements. Another large-scale photonic integration effort of Mike’s is to couple microphotonic phase shifters to plasmonic nanoantennas to produce phased-arrays for rapid beam-steering.

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