Johnson said part of what makes Clemson an ideal place for the project is a series of investments in unique facilities over the past decade, including the Micro Fabrication Facility, a “clean room” focused on the development, design and fabrication of new types of optical components.
Researchers control the spin of light by shining it through the components.
“It sounds simple to spin the light in one direction and then spin it in another direction in a controlled fashion,” he said. “But the ability to do that takes a different technology in terms of how the optical components are made themselves. It’s the capabilities that we have that enable us to look at this functionality.”
Hai Xiao, chair of the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said that Johnson is uniquely qualified to lead the research.
“Dr. Johnson is a highly respected and deeply experienced leader in the field of optoelectronics,” Xiao said. “With the team he has built and the infrastructure Clemson has in place, they are well-positioned for success.”
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, said the grant sets the stage for transformative research and world-class educational experiences.
“This project brings together a multidisciplinary dream team of leaders to address some of the key challenges in an emerging technology,” Gramopadhye said. “The amount of the award reflects its importance, its potential and the hard work of the team. I congratulate Dr. Johnson and his teammates on this project.”