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Metamaterial Encoders for Neural Networks

Primary Investigators:
Jason Valentine
Yuankai Huo
Brief Description of Project:
Metamaterials are artificially structured materials that can exhibit exotic optical properties such as high frequency magnetism and a negative index of refraction. The purpose of this summer research is to use metamaterials to realize optical encoders for digital neural networks in an effort to off-load digital image processing operations into passive optical materials. Given that operations in the optical domain can be performed at the speed of light, and with no input power, there is a promise of significant speed and power savings using this approach.

The project will focus on fabrication of metamaterial encoders, using designs provided to the student. Fabrication will involve nanoscale patterning of materials in both the PI's laboratory as well as the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE). Physical and optical characterization of the materials will also be performed by the student.

Desired Qualifications:
This project is best suited for individuals with interests in nanoscale materials, electromagnetics, and computer science. The student will perform fabrication and characterization of nanoscale materials so past experience in VINSE will be beneficial but is not mandatory.
Nature of Supervision:
The student will work closely with Prof. Valentine and a graduate student on this project.
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Weeks [1–3]: The student will familiarize themselves with fabrication and characterization techniques.
Weeks [3-10]: The student will fabricate and characterize metamaterial encoders. 

Number of Open Slots: 1
Contact Information:
Name: Jason Valentine
Department: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering