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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Arizona
  • Nasser Peyghambarian
  • (520) 621-4649
Award Date:09/05/2008
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 18,500,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 36,528,818
  • FY 2011=$4,049,300
  • FY 2009=$6,250,000
  • FY 2016=$3,496,272
  • FY 2012=$4,079,000
  • FY 2014=$8,042,386
  • FY 2008=$3,250,000
  • FY 2013=$4,465,000
  • FY 2017=$810,600
  • FY 2015=$1,086,260
  • FY 2010=$1,000,000
Start Date:09/01/2008
End Date:08/31/2019
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:NSF Engineering Research Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN)
Federal Award ID Number:0812072
DUNS ID:806345617
Parent DUNS ID:072459266
Program:ERC-Eng Research Centers
Program Officer:
  • Dominique Dagenais
  • (703) 292-2980

Awardee Location

Street:888 N Euclid Ave
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Arizona
Street:888 N Euclid Ave
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

The University of Arizona (Lead) with Nasser Peyghambarian as its director, and its partner institutions, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of California at Los Angeles, Norfolk State University and Tuskegee University propose to establish a Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN). The vision of CIAN is to create transformative technologies for optical access networks where virtually any application requiring any resource can be seamlessly and efficiently aggregated and interfaced with existing and future core networks in a cost-effective manner. Analogous to the evolution over decades of today?s computer laptop using massive integration of discrete electronic components, the CIAN vision would lead to the creation of the PC equivalent of the optical access network by employing optoelectronic integration to enable affordable and flexible access to any type of service, including delivery of data rates approaching 10 Gigabits/sec to a broad population base anywhere and at anytime. The intellectual merit of CIAN includes: (1) transforming expensive discrete components-based subsystems into flexible cost-effective integrated optoelectronic subsystems to achieve scaleable and affordable high-data-rate access networks; and (2) demonstrating flexible network functionalities by moving services from the higher layers of the network closer to the physical layer. To achieve these goals, the CIAN strategic research program is organized into three integrated technical thrusts. Thrust 1: Optical Communication Systems and Networking will act as the ?top-down? driver for the development and integration of components and devices to enable and demonstrate novel network functionalities for applications including ultra high-data-rate processing centers. Thrust 2: Subsystem Integration and Silicon Nanophotonics will explore signal conditioning, processing, reconfiguration, and control functions realized with various platforms including CMOS compatible nanostructures and silicon nanophotonics, and multifunctional integrated subsystems exploiting monolithic and heterogeneous integration. Thrust 3: Materials and Devices will act as the scientific and technological foundation by conducting research on new materials, device technologies, processing and integration methods for chip-scale integrated optoelectronics. The shared CIAN Testbed is a research facility that allows CIAN?s comprehensive vertically structured research efforts to be integrated, enabling effective systems-driven collaborative research among participants and the wider research and industrial community. The broader impacts of CIAN?s research will be felt in every home and in the quality of life. Ultra-high data rate and cost effective services will contribute to business innovation, improve educational opportunities, enhance distribution of medical services, avoid the expense and human costs of unnecessary commuting, minimize the environmental impact from infrastructure and pollution, substantially reduce dependence on energy imports, enable new and varied entertainment opportunities, and increase overall national security. The infrastructure to carry these services is as precious a national resource as the air, rail, and road transportation system or the electrical power grid. Education, research, and knowledge transfer will be integrated through the team-based multidisciplinary environment of CIAN. The education, outreach and diversity efforts will focus on educating a skilled and diverse workforce including Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans. CIAN will have an extensive pre-college education and outreach program. Creation of intellectual property and technology transfer will be a cornerstone of CIAN?s efforts.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The vision for the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) is to deliver network services at peak data rates up to 100 Gbps anytime and anywhere at low cost and with high energy efficiency. Internet traffic and data center traffic continues to increase at near exponential rates, driven by an increasing number of users or connected devices, bandwidth-intensive applications such as immersive and augmented video, cloud services and 5G and beyond applications. These trends plus an increasingly heterogeneous and unpredictable traffic flow at high bandwidth, put strain on aggregation points in regional networks and data center networks. CIAN's goal is the creation of a transformative network by addressing bottlenecks in existing networks to unlock future scalability, low latency, network management and control for dynamic bandwidth allocation, energy efficiency and low cost. NSF funding has enabled CIAN to deliver on the key dimensions of this important vision for the future.

CIAN has left an indelible footprint on the field of integrated photonic communication devices and had a seminal role in the development of silicon photonic communication devices and systems applications. CIAN started at a time when Indium Phosphide based devices were being widely deployed and yet silicon photonics was not viewed as a viable technology by the communication systems community. Prior to 2006, Web of Science was showing almost no publications on the topic of silicon photonics. From 2008 there was steady growth and in 2012 activity in this area accelerated to a peak in 2016 at 702 publications. This trend shows the clear emergence of a new field, one that was propelled by the CIAN ERC.

From the perspective of industry interest, the situation today is dramatically different from 2008. At this year's CIAN Industry Affiliates Board meeting a representative from Microsoft announced that they have a strategy for growth in their communication systems and its entirely focused around silicon photonics. Ten years ago, Microsoft would not have had their own optical network. Their need today, like all of the hyperscale providers, is focused around using integrated photonics to drive down cost and power and silicon photonics is the key platform to achieve this. CIAN's pioneering work on optical networking in data centers crystallized the attention of hyperscale providers and in fact the founding CIAN thrust lead on data center networks was recruited by Google and is now the technical lead of their network organization. The HELIOS data center networking architecture and its descendants, MORDIA, REACTOR and PROJECTOR, became known throughout the community and stimulated a surge of activity on optical networks for data centers. Pioneering CIAN research on software defined networking (SDN), including machine learning based control, has similarly influenced recent developments in metro networks, opening the door to wider use of high speed, low latency optical systems for 5G and smart city networks.

CIAN's influence on the growth of research on silicon photonics can be seen through two other major developments during this period. Perhaps the most significant is the development of the AIM Photonics Initiative. This major investment as part of the National Network for Manufacturing innovation seeks to accelerate integrated photonics, including major developments in silicon photonics, toward volume manufacturing, emulating the integrated electronics industry. Four CIAN member universities and faculty were key partners in the formation of AIM and a fifth was instrumental in securing the government investment for an integrated photonics NNMI Institute. Leading up to AIM and in developing the silicon photonics eco-system, CIAN worked closely with Sandia National Labs to develop their foundry capability and process design kit (PDK). In fact, an integrated photonics software community has developed of companies offering software tools for the design, simulation, layout, fabrication, and packaging of silicon photonic chips. Many of these companies have been CIAN industry members as part of the large eco-system of chip developers that CIAN has helped to foster.

 In the past five years, CIAN has spun out five start-up companies. In cooperation with the Optoelectronic Industry Development Association (OIDA)/Optical Society (OSA), CIAN has held eight road mapping, metric and standards workshops in order to establish aggressive, quantitative, system-level metrics to guide industry and academic research and development. It continues to provide guidance to the industry through its application focused testbeds and road mapping activities.

CIAN is educating students and post-doctoral fellows with the critical attributes identified in the Engineer of 2020. CIAN has provided important STEM opportunities for Native American groups through its unique Native American focused research experience programs for teachers and undergraduates. CIAN has not only helped to build the workforce driving the important technological transformations stimulated by CIAN research, but has also provided educational tools through a set of online 'Supercourse' modules in photonic communications available on the PhotonicsHub website, publicly available online lecture series, and new course and certificate offerings at member universities.

Last Modified: 12/16/2019
Modified by: Nasser Peyghambarian

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