George N. Tzintzarov has been awarded the Outstanding Paper Award at the 2020 Nuclear and Space Radiation Effects Conference (NSREC). Held virtually in December 2020, the IEEE NSREC is the largest international forum for the presentation of advances in radiation effects in electronic devices, circuits, and systems.
Since 2006, NSREC has awarded separate accolades for outstanding papers: one reserved for student submissions and one for the best overall conference paper. Since this distinction was instituted, this is only the third time that a student has been awarded the overall Outstanding Paper Award. Tzintzarov also received this award as a co-author in 2018 and 2019.
Tzintzarov is Ph.D. student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, and is advised by ECE Professor John D. Cressler, who holds the Schlumberger Chair in Electronics. Tzintzarov received his B.S and M.S in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2016 and 2020, respectively.
The paper, “Optical Single-Event Transients Induced in Integrated Silicon-Photonic Waveguides by Two-Photon Absorption,” was co-authored by Adrian Ildefonso, Jeffrey W. Teng, Milad Frounchi, Albert Djikeng, Prahlad Iyengar, Patrick S. Goley, Ani Khachatrian, Joel Hales, Ryan Bahr, Stephen P. Buchner, Dale McMorrow, and John D. Cressler. This work, which was performed in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., experimentally confirmed the existence of Optical Single-Event Transients (OSETs) in silicon integrated waveguides.
Energized particles in space, such as heavy ions which typically emanate from interstellar space, can deposit energy into spacecraft systems. This energy can cause malfunctions, signal glitches, or even spacecraft terminal failures. Over the past several decades, these phenomena, called “single-event effects,” have been well characterized for electrical systems. However, emerging interest of using optical communications systems (which function very differently than electrical systems) for space has raised the question: “Can optical communications systems survive in the harsh, heavy-ion rich space environment?”
While this question is far from being answered with certainty, and may vary from system to system, the work in Tzintzarov’s paper provided the first experimental confirmation of optical single-event transients (OSETs). Tzintzarov showed that OSETs perturb optical signals in a silicon waveguide. Since silicon waveguides are a major building block of silicon-integrated optical systems, the results from this paper raise concerns for the use of integrated silicon photonic systems for space applications.
A full-length journal paper on this conference presentation has already been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science and will be published in a special issue of the journal in April 2021. This work was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency under contract HDTRA1-16-1-0018 and HDTRA-11710053, and by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1650044.
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Last revised February 10, 2021