The Photonics Center at USC (CPT) comprises fifteen faculty and approximately seventy-five graduate students, as well as facilities for fabrication, characterization, and systems implementation of novel photonic technology. The Center is the campus focal point for a broad range of government and industrially funded research activities that are revolutionizing communications, signal processing, interconnections, and military systems. The Center research in microlasers, ultrahigh frequency polymer modulators and other polymer devices, photonic integrated circuits, photonic bandgap structures, and free space optical systems. The crown jewels of the Center are the W. M. Keck Foundation Photonics Research Laboratory and the Charles Lee Powell Foundation
Photonics Instructional Laboratory. These laboratories form a sophisticated clean room facility fully equipped to conduct state-of-the-art photonic device fabrication and to educate students in the science and technology of semiconductor devices. The research lab houses standard device fabrication tools such as photolithography, wet and dry etching, metal and dielectric deposition, oxidation and diffusion in a class 100 environment (class 10000 in the teaching lab). In addition, the lab features newly acquired electron beam lithography prototyping capability to allow the definition of features down to 30 nanometers, and an electron cyclotron etching system with laser interferometric control that allows the control of etching depth to a few atomic layers. The facilities have been used to fabricate the latest devices in several technologies and to explore new devices with feature sizes as small as 40 nanometers.
The research facility has also served as an incubator for several photonics companies. The facility was chosen by these companies because of the opportunity it provided to interact with USC faculty and students and to take advantage of the center