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All-Chalcogenide Programmable All-Optical Deep Neural Networks

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posted on 2023-01-11, 22:05 authored by Ting Yu, Xiaoxuan Ma, Ernest Pastor, Jonathan K. George, Simon Wall, Mario Miscuglio, Robert E. Simpson, Volker J. Sorger
Deeplearning algorithms are revolutionising many aspects of modern life. Typically, they are implemented in CMOS-based hardware with severely limited memory access times and inefficient data-routing. All-optical neural networks without any electro-optic conversions could alleviate these shortcomings. However, an all-optical nonlinear activation function, which is a vital building block for optical neural networks, needs to be developed efficiently on-chip. Here, we introduce and demonstrate both optical synapse weighting and all-optical nonlinear thresholding using two different effects in a chalcogenide material photonic platform. We show how the structural phase transitions in a wide-bandgap phase-change material enables storing the neural network weights via non-volatile photonic memory, whilst resonant bond destabilisation is used as a nonlinear activation threshold without changing the material. These two different transitions within chalcogenides enable programmable neural networks with near-zero static power consumption once trained, in addition to picosecond delays performing inference tasks not limited by wire charging that limit electrical circuits; for instance, we show that nanosecond-order weight programming and near-instantaneous weight updates enable accurate inference tasks within 20 picoseconds in a 3-layer all-optical neural network. Optical neural networks that bypass electro-optic conversion altogether hold promise for network-edge machine learning applications where decision-making in real-time are critical, such as for autonomous vehicles or navigation systems such as signal pre-processing of LIDAR systems.



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