Communication, Optical Sensing


This dissertation proposes the use of the emerging Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and agile lensing optical device technologies to design novel and powerful signal conditioning and sensing modules for advanced applications in optical communications, physical parameter sensing and RF/optical signal processing. For example, these new module designs have experimentally demonstrated exceptional features such as stable loss broadband operations and high > 60 dB optical dynamic range signal filtering capabilities. The first part of the dissertation describes the design and demonstration of digital MEMS-based signal processing modules for communication systems and sensor networks using the TI DLP (Digital Light Processing) technology. Examples of such modules include optical power splitters, narrowband and broadband variable fiber optical attenuators, spectral shapers and filters. Compared to prior works, these all-digital designs have advantages of repeatability, accuracy, and reliability that are essential for advanced communications and sensor applications. The next part of the dissertation proposes, analyzes and demonstrates the use of analog opto-fluidic agile lensing technology for sensor networks and test and measurement systems. Novel optical module designs for distance sensing, liquid level sensing, three-dimensional object shape sensing and variable photonic delay lines are presented and experimentally demonstrated. Compared to prior art module designs, the proposed analog-mode modules have exceptional performances, particularly for extreme environments (e.g., caustic liquids) where the free-space agile beam-based sensor provide remote non-contact access for physical sensing operations. The dissertation also presents novel modules involving hybrid analog-digital photonic designs that make use of the different optical device technologies to deliver the best features of both analog and digital optical device operations and controls. Digital controls are achieved through the use of the digital MEMS technology and analog controls are realized by employing opto-fluidic agile lensing technology and acousto-optic technology. For example, variable fiber-optic attenuators and spectral filters are proposed using the hybrid design. Compared to prior art module designs, these hybrid designs provide a higher module dynamic range and increased resolution that are critical in various advanced system applications. In summary, the dissertation shows the added power of hybrid optical designs using both the digital and analog photonic signal processing versus just all-digital or all-analog module designs.


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Graduation Date



Riza, Nabeel


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program









Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)