Erwin Lau
Erwin K. Lau, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Managing Engineer
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Menlo Park

Dr. Lau’s experience covers a wide range of areas, including optics, optical devices, semiconductor devices, analog communications, micro- and nano-fabrication. He has over 10 years of experience in the design, characterization, modeling and simulation of high-speed electronic, optoelectronic devices, and optical systems.

At Exponent, Dr. Lau has performed design, risk analysis, and failure analysis of solid-state lighting, liquid-crystal displays (LCDs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), lasers, ocular biomedical devices, optical lens, and multi-layer transmissive optical systems. He has extensive experience in optical metrology, colorimetry, luminance, reflectance, quantification of visual defects, and cosmetic appearance of surfaces of all types. Dr. Lau has performed laser and LED radiation safety analysis for numerous consumer electronics and medical products. Dr. Lau has extensive experience in designing and modeling of optical and electromagnetic systems, including raytrace modeling of compound optical systems, and has performed finite element analysis of electro-magnetic systems, including high voltage arcing, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems.

Dr. Lau has extensive experience in prototyping of custom analysis fixtures, including design and construction of a ruggedized single-molecule fluorometer system, a laser-based surface particle scatterometer, a micron-scale optical 3-D profilometer, and high-speed transient metrology. He has experience in delivery of robust test fixtures to clients with rapid needs.

Dr. Lau has extensive experience in consumer electronic failure analysis. Some of his notable investigations include flex cable failures; PCB failures due to component failure, FOD, tin whiskers, etc.; laser failures; and adhesive and conductive epoxy failure. He has extensive experience with switching-mode power comverter, especially electrolytic capacitor and PWM failure. He has investigated the failure of aniosotropic conductive adhesives.

In the area of fiber optic telecommunications, Dr. Lau holds the record for developing the highest bandwidth directly modulated laser, as well as the record for highest directly measured resonance frequency. He also helped develop optoelectronic oscillators at microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies for RF photonic applications. While at MIT, he developed a novel finite difference time-domain method for simulating the time-domain response of ultra-fast pulses from mode-locked lasers. At the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Dr. Lau worked on optical interconnects for massively-parallel hybrid optical/electrical computers. He has several years of experience building electrical and optical testing stages for high-speed transistors and lasers, as well as design and clean-room experience for micro-fabrication of infrared lasers, LEDs, and diodes. Using FEM and finite-difference methods, he has modeled the field patterns of optical waveguides and semiconductor lasers, and the electrical capacitance of tunable MEMS capacitors. Dr. Lau is also skilled in developing automated characterization platforms using LabView and Matlab and has experience using software packages including COMSOL, Microwave Studio, Spice, Solidworks, TracePro, Lumerical, and Visual C++.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, 2006
  • M.Eng., Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2001
  • S.B., Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2000
  • IEEE Japan Best Paper Award, 2008

    Hertz Fellowship Finalist, 2002–2003

    University of California, Los Angeles Dean’s Fellowship, 2000

    Beneficial Presidential Scholarship, 1995

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Electrical Engineer, California, #E20518

Publications

Books and Book Chapters

Lau E. High-Speed Modulation of Semiconductor Lasers by Optical Injection Locking: From Basics to Modern Advances. VDM Verlag, 2008.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC. Direct modulation of injection-locked semiconductor lasers. In: Microwave Photonics, Lee CY (ed), Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 77–110, 2007.

Publications


Lau EK. Understanding radiation safety of high-intensity light-emitting diodes. 2013 IEEE Symposium on Product Compliance Engineering (ISPCE), Austin, TX, 2013.

Lau EK, Wong LJ, Wu MC. Enhanced modulation characteristics of optical injection-locked lasers: A tutorial. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 2009 May/June; 15:618–633.

Lau EK, Lakhani A, Tucker RS, Wu MC. Enhanced modulation bandwidth of nanocavity light emitting devices. Optics Express 2009; 17:7790–7799.

Sung HK, Zhao X, Lau EK, Parekh D, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Optoelectronic oscillators using direct-modulated semiconductor lasers under strong optical injection. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 2009 May/Jun; 15:572–577.

Lau EK, Zhao X, Sung HK, Parekh D, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Strong optical injection-locked semiconductor lasers demonstrating > 100-GHz resonance frequencies and 80-GHz intrinsic bandwidths. Optics Express 2008; 16:6609-6618.

Lau EK, Wong LJ, Zhao X, Chen YK, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Bandwidth enhancement by master modulation of optical injection-locked lasers. Journal of Lightwave Technology 2008 Aug; 26:2584–2593.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC. Frequency response enhancement of optical injection-locked lasers. IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics 2008 Jan; 44:90–99.

Zhao X, Parekh D, Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain CJ. Novel cascaded injection-locked 1.55-µm VCSELs with 66 GHz modulation bandwidth. Optics Express 2007; 15:14810–14816.

Sung HK, Lau EK, Wu MC. Optical properties and modulation characteristics of ultra-strong injection-locked distributed feedback lasers. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 2007 Sept/Oct; 13:1215–1221.

Sung HK, Lau EK, Wu MC. Optical single sideband modulation using strong optical injection-locked semiconductor lasers. IEEE Photonics Technology Letters 2007 Jul; 19:1005–1007.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC. Scaling of resonance frequency for strong injection-locked lasers. Optics Letters 2007; 32:3373–3375.

Lee MCM, Hah D, Lau EK, Toshiyoshi H, Wu MC. MEMS-actuated photonic crystal switches. IEEE Photonics Technology Letters 2006 Jan; 18:358–360.

Nguyen HD, Dooyoung H, Patterson PR, Rumin C, Piyawattanametha W, Lau EK, Wu MC. Angular vertical comb-driven tunable capacitor with high-tuning capabilities. Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems 2004 Jun; 13:406–413.

Patterson SG, Lau EK, Pipe KP, Ram RJ. Temperature characteristics of bipolar cascade lasers. Applied Physics Letters 2000; 77:172–174.

Presentations

Lakhani A, Kim MK, Lau EK, Wu MC. Lasing in a one-dimensional photonic crystal. IEEE International Semiconductor Laser Conference, Kyoto, Japan, 2010. 

Lau EK, Tucker RS, Wu MC. Enhanced modulation bandwidth of nanocavity light emitting devices. International Nano-Optoelectronics Workshop (iNOW), Stockholm, Sweden and Berlin, Germany, 2009.

Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain, Lau EK, Zhao X. High-speed modulation of optical injection-locked semiconductor lasers. Optics Fiber Communications Conference, pp. 1–3.San Diego, CA, 2008.

Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Lau EK, Zhao X. High-speed modulation of semiconductor lasers. International Nano-Optoelectronics Workshop (iNOW), Tokyo, Japan, 2008.

Lau EK, Zhao X, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. 80-GHz intrinsic bandwidth of directly modulated semiconductor lasers by optical injection locking. Semiconductor Laser Workshop, San Jose, CA, 2008.

Lau EK, Tucker RS, Wu MC. Modulation bandwidth of purcell-enhanced nanocavity light emitters. Semiconductor Laser Workshop, San Jose, CA, 2008.

Lau EK, Tucker RS, Wu MC. Small-signal modulation bandwidth of purcell-enhanced nanocavity light emitters. International Nano-Optoelectronics Workshop (iNOW), Tokyo, Japan, 2008.

Lau EK, Zhao X, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. 80-GHz bandwidth enhancement of directly modulated semiconductor lasers under optical injection locking. International Semiconductor Laser Conference (ISLC), 2008.

Lau EK, Tucker RS, Wu MC. Effect of damping and gain compression in Purcell-enhanced nanocavity lasers. OSA Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics San Jose, CA, 2008.

Zhao X, Lau EK, Parekh D, Sung HK, W. Hofmann, MC Amann, Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain CJ. 107-GHz resonance frequency of 1.55-mm VCSELs under ultra-high optical injection locking. Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, San Jose, CA, 2008.

Tucker RS, Lau EK, and Wu MC. Small-signal modulation bandwidth of Purcell-enhanced nanocavity light emitters. International Semiconductor Laser Conference (ISLC), 2008.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Zhao X, Parekh D, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Bandwidth enhancement by optical amplitude and phase modulation of injection-locked semiconductor lasers. Proceedings, IEEE International Top. Meeting Microw. Photon, pp. 241244, Victoria, BC, Canada, 2007.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Zhao X, Parekh D, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Bandwidth Enhancement of electro-absorption modulated lasers by optical injection locking. Annual Meeting IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, pp. 188–189, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 2007.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Zhao X, Parekh D, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Bandwidth enhancement by optical modulation of injection-locked semiconductor lasers. OSA Frontiers in Optics, San Jose, CA, 2007.

Zhao X, Parekh D, Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain CJ. Optoelectronic oscillator using injection-locked VCSELs. IEEE Annual Meeting, Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, pp. 190–191, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 2007.

Zhao X, Parekh D, Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain CJ. Cascaded injection-locked 1.55-µm VCSELs for high-speed transmission. OSA Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, Baltimore, MD, 2007.

Sung HK, Lau EK, Zhao X, Parekh D, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Wu MC. Optically injection-locked optoelectronic oscillators with low RF threshold gain. Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, pp. 1–2, Baltimore, MD, 2007.

Lau EK, Sung HK, Wu MC. Ultra-high, 72 GHz resonance frequency and 44 GHz bandwidth of injection-locked 1.55-mm DFB lasers. Optic Fiber Communications Conference, pp. 1–3, Anaheim, CA, 2006.

Sung HK, Lau EK, Wu MC. Near-single sideband modulation in strong optical injection locked semiconductor lasers. Optic Fiber Communications Conference, Anaheim, CA, 2006.

Sung HK, Lau EK, Wu MC, Tishinin D, Liou KY, Tsang WT. Large-signal analog modulation response of monolithic optical injection-locked DFB lasers. Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, pp. 1025–1027, 2005.

Lau EK, Wu MC. Amplitude and frequency modulation of the master laser in injection-locked laser systems. Proceedings, IEEE International Topics Meeting, pp. 142–145, Microw. Photon., Ogunquit, ME, 2004.

Schultz JF, Taubman MS, Harper WW, Williams RM, Myers TL, Cannon BD, Sheen DM, Anheier, Jr. NC, Allen PJ, Sundaram SK, Johnson BR, Aker PM, Wu MC, Lau EK. Quantum cascade transmitters for ultra-sensitive chemical agent and explosives detection. SPIE-International Society Optics Engineering, Proceedings of the SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering, Vol.4999, No.1, 2003, pp. 1–18, 2003.

Lee MCM, Hah D, Lau EK, Wu MC, Toshiyoshi H. Nano-electro-mechanical photonic crystal switch. Optic Fiber Communications Conference, pp. 94–95, 2002.

Patterson SG, Lau E, Pipe KP, Petrich GS, Ram RJ, Kolodziejski LA. High temperature properties of bipolar cascade lasers. Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, pp. 268-269, 2000.

Patents

Zhao X, Lau EK, Wu MC, Chang-Hasnain CJ, Sung HK, and Parekh D. High-Speed Optical Transmitters Using Cascaded Optically Injection-Locked Lasers. 2008.

Prior Experience

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Berkeley, 2007–2010

Student Researcher, IBM T. J. Watson Researcher Center, 2004

Teaching Assistant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999–2000

Student Researcher, IBM Tokyo Research Laboratory, 1998

Professional Affiliations

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Optical Society of America

Project Experience

Prototyping and Manufacturing

  • Single-molecule fluorometer
  • Micro-scale 3-D profilometer
  • Light-pipe design for status indicator 
  • Laser beam expander spot generator
  • Surface particle scatterometer for surface cleanliness

Optical Characterization and Metrology

  • Accelerated lifetime testing (ALT) via UV exposure
  • High-speed phenomenon, i.e. impact visualization, transient effects
  • Scratch and abrasion quantification and comparison
  • Quantification and comparative cosmetic analysis on materials for ALT 
  • Microcolorimetry

Laser and LED Radiation Safety

  • Radiation safety failure of lasers
  • Near-infrared light detection and ranging (LIDAR) systems
  • Medical devices using optical radiation treatment
  • Pulse oximeters
  • Risk assessment of laser- and light-based medical devices

Reverse Engineering

  • Fluorescence authentication system
  • White light emitting diode (LED) technology

Electronic Components

  • Failure analysis of electrolytic capacitors
  • Flex cable reliability testing and failure
  • Conductive epoxy and adhesive failure
  • Anisotropic conductive film (ACF) and anisotropic conductive paste (ACP) failure

Electronic Systems

  • Switching mode power converters
  • AC/DC power adapters
  • Electostatic discharge (ESD) testing
  • Touchscreens, capacitive arrays
  • Battery management units

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

Optics Express

Optics Letters

IEEE Photonic Technology Letters

Journal of Lightwave Technology

IEEE Photonics Journal

Applied Optics

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley, 2006
  • M.Eng., Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2001
  • S.B., Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2000
  • IEEE Japan Best Paper Award, 2008

    Hertz Fellowship Finalist, 2002–2003

    University of California, Los Angeles Dean’s Fellowship, 2000

    Beneficial Presidential Scholarship, 1995

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Professional Electrical Engineer, California, #E20518