Dr. Alexander Demkov, from UT Austin's Department of Physics, recently secured a significant $1.3M contract from the Office of Naval Research. Alongside this achievement, a company he helped establish has been recognized in the Semiconductor Review as one of the top innovators of 2024 in photonics.

The contract, awarded due to their expertise in integrating electro-optic quality barium titanate (BTO) on silicon and silicon-on-insulator, is a testament to Dr. Demkov's leadership. Teaming up with Professor Daniel Wasserman from the Chandra Department of Electric and Computer Engineering, their pioneering work on small and fast modulators grabbed the attention of Steve Mathis, Branch Head of Airborne Electronic Attack S&T Advanced Receiver Design in the Naval Air Warfare Weapons Division at Point Mugu. Their task now is to develop an advanced modulator based on Si-integrated BTO, crucial for the Navy's optical interconnect of ultra high-frequency superconducting RF equipment.

Dr. Demkov's co-founded company, La Luce Cristallina, led by engineer Dr. Agham Posadas, aims to revolutionize fiber optic networks by integrating crystalline functional oxides into semiconductor applications. Their specialty wafers of strong electro-optic material compatible with CMOS foundries mark a significant step forward in semiconductor technology. Overcoming challenges in integration, their flagship product, optical-grade epitaxial barium titanate on silicon wafers, promises superior performance, setting a new industry standard.

La Luce Cristallina's advancements in crystal growth techniques, such as off-axis RF sputtering, ensure efficient production of high-quality, optical-grade crystalline films. With a focus on performance and environmental consciousness, they collaborate with industry leaders and universities to drive innovation in optical transceivers and data center technologies. Their strategic vision includes scaling up production to meet the growing demand for high-frequency devices, positioning themselves as leaders in the barium titanate market.

Recognized as one of the top innovators of 2024 in photonics, La Luce Cristallina's contributions to fiber optic networks are pivotal for global communication, pushing the boundaries of integrated silicon photonics (SiPh).

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Outside of his entrepreneurial endeavors, Dr. Alex Demkov, a Physics professor at The University of Texas at Austin, brings a wealth of experience to the table. With a Ph.D. from Arizona State University and prior experience at Motorola's R&D division, he has been a vital part of UT Austin since 2005. With over 100 research papers, seven U.S. patents, and a record of editorial roles for scientific journals, his contributions to the field are substantial. Awards such as the NSF CAREER award and his fellowship with the American Physical Society underscore his impact and dedication to advancing science and technology.