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Welcome to the Optical Communications Laboratory 

Led by Professor Alan E. Willner, our research lab is a member of the Communications, Information, Learning & Quantum Group within the Department of Electrical Engineering-Systems at University of Southern California. Fondly called “OC Lab,” we perform research in optical communication systems and deal with optical technologies related to devices, subsystems, signal processing, systems, and networks.


Our 4-room lab is >2,500 square feet, with >$6M of state-of-the-art optical and electrical equipment. Our capabilities enable us to demonstrate: (i) high-capacity links with >Tbit/s data rates covering optical, millimeter-wave, and terahertz bands; (ii) systems using photonic integrated circuits; (iii) arbitrary manipulation of a light field; (iv) nonlinear optical processes.


Our 30-year history includes >55 granted Ph.D. degrees to students originating from many countries with varying technical backgrounds. Students have won numerous recognitions, and the group has >1500 publications, including in Nature Photonics, Nature Communications, Nano Letters, Optica, Optics Letters, and Science. We have had extensive collaborations and joint publications with >50 institutions, and the group has received extensive funding from government and corporate entities.


Current and Former Fundings

We sincerely appreciate the generous support from:

  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)
  • Airbus Institute for Engineering Research (AIER) Board
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Org.
  • Charles Lee Powell Foundation
  • Cisco Systems
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  • Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA)
  • Defense Univ. Research Instrumentation Program
  • Department of Defense
  • Fujitsu
  • Google Faculty Research Awards Program
  • Hewlett Packard Corporation
  • Hitachi Corporation
  • Huawei / Futurewei
  • ILX Lightwave Corp.
  • Intel Corporation / Intel Labs / Intel Labs University Research Office (URO)
  • JDS Uniphase Corporation
  • Joint Services Electronics Program
  • Missile Defense Agency
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)
  • Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC)
  • Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT)
  • Nxgen Partners
  • Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • Office of Naval Research under a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)
  • Okawa Foundation
  • Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA)
  • Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship and Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF)
  • Synopsys
  • VPIphotonics


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