The IEEE RAPID conference's topics cover vast technical areas within the photonics community and the interests of our members. Attendees will be able to participate in keynotes, plenaries, invited talks, and social events per the conference's 10 tracks.

Track ANP - Advanced Nanophotonics Platform

Ultrafast and Nonlinear Nanophotonics:
Optical and electronic properties of materials are strongly modified at reduced dimensions. The scope of this session will be to attract contributions that leverage these new properties to study novel nonlinear and ultrafast effects at the nanoscale.

Integrated Quantum Photonics:
This session seeks original contributions in the area of integrated quantum photonics including, but not limited to: chip-scale quantum photonic integration platforms; nonlinear integrated optics for quantum photonics; on-chip quantum emitter synthesis, integration and characterization; cavity quantum electrodynamics with single emitters; hybrid and heterogeneous integrated quantum photonics; on-chip quantum light sources and detectors; entanglement generation and characterization; quantum cavity optomechanics; integrated photonic quantum simulation, computation, metrology and communications; scalable integrated quantum photonic devices; ultraviolet and visible frequency integrated photonics; novel materials for integrated photonics.

Floquet Engineered Photonics:
This session will focus on recent pioneering studies of strongly-driven periodic light-induced phenomena in condensed matter systems also known as “Floquet Engineered” systems, have shown that interacting electrons driven far from equilibrium exhibit ordered and resilient properties unachievable near equilibrium. This concept can be explored by viewing non-equilibrium electronic structures as being “dressed” by driving fields (internal/external) using synthetic gauge fields that control optical, electronic, topological and other properties. In this regime, metastable states can be realized using strong intrinsic coupling of photons with other particles/quasiparticles (electron, phonon, exciton, magnon etc.) under thermodynamic equilibrium with coherent perturbation. This regime presents new design opportunities for electronic/photonic devices with real time tunability, low energy consumption, and minimal heating. The session open to other new topics in the field of Floquet Engineering.

Active Plasmonics and Nanophotonics: This session seeks original contributions in the general area of active optical devices and architectures enabled by advanced plasmonic and/or nanophotonic concepts. Examples include, but are not limited to, electron-plasmon interactions, novel ways to generate/detect or amplify light, and to modulate/tune the optical properties of nano-scale photonic devices using an external transduction.

Track AOP - Applications of Photonics

This track will cover some salient applications of photonics and realted technologies to the defense and commercial arena. The Topics include: applications of photonics to engines, blat/shock wave imaging and spectroscopic techniques, displays holography and projection as well as position, navigation and timing.

Ultrashort Pulsed Laser Technology and Applications:
This session will focus on recent research efforts on ultrashort pulsed laser (USPL) systems and potential applications of these systems. The session welcomes submissions from a wide range of areas that make use of USPLs. Atmospheric effects on optical propagation can often limit performance of a directed energy system. The predominant factors in beam degradation are natural processes like scattering, deterministic effects like refraction, or stochastic effects like optical turbulence. Long horizontal paths can have significant differences in turbulence and extinction depending on diurnal or annual variations. We encourage submissions that describe experimentation and/or modeling of nonlinear USPL propagation through atmosphere, high intensity effects in materials (atmospheric propagation, supercontinuum generation, etc.), novel applications in laser material processing (ablative micro-machining, waveguide writing, etc.), high precision metrology and optical communications, and other areas.

Optical Methods for Characterizing Physics and Chemistry in Propulsion:
This session will address efforts to develop and apply new optical systems for multidimensional measurements and imaging of chemical and physical processes in propulsion devices. Such devices include turbine engines, detonation engines, scramjets, and rockets, for example. Measurements of chemical species (e.g., combustion reactants and products), temperature, pressure, velocity, spray characteristics, and other scalar and vector fields are of interest. Active and passive optical approaches exploiting myriad linear and non-linear light–matter interactions (e.g., absorption, luminescence, scattering, incandescence) will be explored.

Displays, Holography and Projection:
Infrared (IR) optoelectronic emitters hold the potential for a wide array of applications such as infrared scene projection (IRSP) for hardware-in-the-loop testing. The requirements for such emitters include high operational efficiency, emission within designated wavebands, and high power output. Emitter arrays for IRSP systems must be able to emulate real-world phenomena by emitting scenes of high radiometric, spatial, and temporal fidelity. Such systems have fundamental limitations related to response time and maximum simulated apparent temperature, making them unsuitable for emulation of very hot (>700K) and rapidly evolving scenes. Papers that address phenomenology, design, theoretical modeling/simulation, and experimental demonstrations materials, components, devices and systems for displays, holography and scene projection are invited. Examples include, but is not limited to, new display and projection screen technologies including 3D and holographic displays, alternative material structures and emitters, surface coatings for enhanced extraction efficiencies, as well as device algorithms and driving electronics.

Imaging and Spectroscopic Techniques for Hypersonic Ground Test Facilities:
This topic will cover diagnostic advances in the study of hyper-velocity and high-enthalpy ground test facilities that contribute to our understanding of hypersonic flight. Methods include advanced laser diagnostics for coherent Raman spectroscopy, laser-induced fluorescence, and velocimetry approaches utilizing ultrashort-pulse and burst-mode lasers, as well as conventional light sources.

T&E Tools, Challenges, and Opportunities in Photonics:
The National Defense Strategy shares increased emphasis on new technologies to include: advanced computing, “big data “analytics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology. Photonics is a cross-cutting enabler and will drive T&E future needs. New test tools, skills, methods and standards to enable future T&E are needed to keep pace with today’s rapid developments which spans traditional T&E approaches, rapid prototyping and experimentations.

Track ETP - Enabling Technologies in Photonics

This track will address enabling technologies for photonics.

Photonic Technologies for Position, Navigation, and Timing:
This session will focus on recent developments in integrated and/or compact photonic technologies that enable the precise and accurate determination of a user’s position, navigation, and timing (PNT). Examples of such technologies include: (1) On-chip sub-Hz linewidth lasers, (2) Integrated temperature- or environmental-insensitive optical frequency references, (3) Chip-scale and integrated photonics for the control and cooling of atoms, (4) Atomic clocks implemented with integrated photonics, (5) Integrated photonic gyroscopes or other inertial sensors, and (6) Compact systems for free-space optical time transfer.

Microwave Optics and RF Photonics:
This session will present the latest research in the emerging areas of: (1) Photonic technology for microwave generation; Optical Frequency Comb based RF-Microwave oscillators, clocks and frequency dividers, (2) RF/microwave-Photonic transmitting/receiving links, (3) ultrafast optical-microwave and millimeter-wave system topologies, (4) ultra-high bandwidth devices for RF-Photonic systems including linear optical modulators and high-power photodetectors, (5) Integrated photonic and optoelectronic circuits for microwave processing, including filtering, distribution, frequency conversion, mixing, correlating and digitizing, and (6) Photonic beamforming/steering circuit for microwave phased-array antenna.

Advances in Chip-Scale UV-Visible Optoelectronics and Photonics:
In this session, we will discuss recent advancements, challenges, and opportunities in photonics and optoelectronics in chip scale applications ranging from device growth, heterogeneous integration, and device performance. Topics will include recent developments in the field of epitaxial growth of III-Vs, and oxides for UV-NIR nanoemitters, doping and control of defects, fabrication of electrically injected lasers, LEDs, subwavelength light sources, and their integration. This session will also cover efficient on-chip light sources, photonic, and plasmonic, structures for on-chip optical interconnects, high-speed and low-power optical modulators, and heterogeneous integration of direct bandgap materials with silicon nanophotonics and systems. Finally, contributions highlighting developments beyond the device level such as integrated photonic circuits, and UV-visible based optoelectronic systems will be discussed. The goal is to highlight major recent achievements in the field, foster an exchange of ideas and collaborations, and accelerate future development of this field.

Optical Sensing and Computational Imaging Systems:
This session will focus on recent advances in the theoretical, computational and algorithmic methods underpinning the development of optical imaging systems for applications in consumer, industrial, military, medical, scientific, astronomical imaging applications and beyond. To cater for such a broad range of application domains, this session therefore welcomes submissions from equally diverse areas including – but not limited to – astronomical imaging, biomedical imaging, coded-aperture imaging, coded illumination, compressive sensing and imaging, computational microscopy, (hyper)spectral imaging, imaging through scattering media, infrared imaging, lensless imaging, LiDAR, light-field sensing, machine learning for computational imaging and optical systems design, non-line-of-sight imaging, phase imaging, ptychography, remote sensing, SAR, super-resolution and tomography.

Track FPM - Functional Photonic Materials

This track covers advances in the development of photonic materials including: non-epitaxial materials and devices, modeling and simulation, infrared organic materials and properties, and 2D materials and devices. Broadly these materials are being developed for defense applications including nonlinear absorbers, frequency conversion, photorefractives, IR detectors, antennas, photodectectors, and sensing.

Non-Epitaxial Optoelectronic Devices:
Solution-processed optoelectronic materials and devices have continuously garnered significant interest due to their low-cost and process accessibility relative to epitaxy. This session focuses on the modeling, simulation, fabrication, and characterization of optoelectronic materials and devices made from solution-processed inorganic materials and nanostructures. Topics include, but are not limited to, solution-processed colloidal quantum dots for infrared applications, nanophotonic devices, emitters and lasers, phase-change materials, and perovskites

Modeling and Simulation for Advanced Photonics:
This session seeks submissions related to theoretical and computational research of nascent photonic materials, including low-dimensional, active, nonreciprocal, and topological materials, among others. Classical, semi-classical and quantum electromagnetic methodologies that seek to explain experimental observables and to design advanced concepts are of interest. Topics on development, application and implementation of computational numerical and analytical methods, also coupled to optimization methods, data analysis tools, including machine learning algorithms, or derivation of appropriate materials properties are sought. M&S for advanced applications, include, for example, photonic or electronic devices, quantum phenomena, or metamaterials design.

Two Dimensional and Topological Materials:
This session seeks submissions related to 2D and topological materials and heterostructures for photonics. 2D materials, Topological insulators, Weyl semimetals, Dirac semimetals, and novel materials exhibiting topological behavior are of interest. Topics on the synthesis, characterization and incorporation of these materials into photonic applications are sought. The exploration and development of new 2D and topological materials is also relevant.

Track HMB - Human State Measurement and Biosensing

This track will focus on technologies that are pertinent to the human element in defense using biological and human centered capabilities. The topics will include materials and devices for biosensing, biosensing methods, human state measurement and human analyst augmentation.

Biosensing Methods:
This session will focus on the interfacing of biologically-inspired sensing elements and sensor platforms for detection and quantification of different biomarkers beyond the current state-of-the-art. Especial emphasis will be placed on the development of new technologies that allow multi-analyte quantification with high sensitivity in low biofluid volumes for next generation biomarker signature quantification.

Human State Measurement:
This session will focus on emerging Human State Measurement methodologies and models including, but not limited to, wearable/epidermal devices, motion capture, chemical/biochemical biomarker sensing, data analytics and machine learning. The human states of interest to measure include, but not limited to, the cognitive, psychological, physiological, and stress levels of individual or group of humans. In addition, finding means and mechanisms to correlate the measured human states to the various human performance levels, such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, physical/psychological strength, are explored throughout the session.

Track MMAP - Materials and Manufacturing for Advanced Photonics

This track will focus on the materials, processes, and manufacturing technologies required for advanced photonics. Topics will include novel materials, modeling and simulation for materials, liquid crystal technology, as well as bottom-up/additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping.

Emerging Material Platforms for Plasmonics:
An urgent challenge currently faced by researchers in plasmonics is the ability to identify the next generation of low-loss, tailorable, dynamically switchable, cost-effective, robust and semiconductor-compatible materials for implementation of advanced nanophotonic designs and realization of practical plasmonic devices for applications in on-chip circuitry, imaging, sensing, energy conversion and quantum information technologies.

Novel Materials for Photonics:
This session seeks submissions broadly related to emergent optical materials for photonic applications. Of great interest are novel materials and structures that enable new functions or optical control relevant to DoD applications. Potential material examples include (but are not limited to) amorphous or disordered materials, 2D and layered materials, complex oxides, optoelectronic materials, optical metasurfaces, etc. Also sought are insights surrounding structure-property-processing relationships due to the synthesis, growth, or fabrication of representative materials and the expected impact on pending optical device or coating integration.

Scalable Manufacturing and Rapid Prototyping for Photonics:
Fundamental process innovations are needed to enable a range of next generation photonic technologies. This session will focus on challenges in the area of photonic materials and device fabrication, especially for large-area applications. This session will emphasize manufacturing methods including or related to 3-D printing, bottom-up synthesis of hierarchical nanoscale materials and devices, self-assembly, separation/purification processes, and high-throughput characterization.

Semiconductor Materials and Quantum Nanoscience:
This session seeks submissions on potential devices in emerging quantum materials and related modeling, fabrication, and characterization. Particular emphasis should be on the processing and material characteristics that limit or extend their use for their intended application. Examples are nanoscale quantum optics and optomechanics devices, novel single photon detector materials, novel plasmonic structures, etc.

Track OEDDIP - Optical Emitters, Detectors and Devices

This track will examine devices and materials that enable imaging and sensing platforms.

High Peak and Average Power Laser Technology:
Submissions are sought on next generation technology for developing higher peak and average power lasers, from petawatt (10^15 W) and exawatt (10^18 W) class lasers to high average power lasers with > kW output at various wavelengths. (CW to pulsed at ns to fs pulse durations). Interest is in new laser gain media, novel amplifier, stretcher-compressor and optics design with optimization of parameters like group velocity dispersion and heat-load management. Advances in high peak power and high average power pulsed lasers with wavelengths greater than 1.5 microns are of particular interest.

UV Optoelectronics:
In this session, we will discuss recent advancements in the development of UV optoelectronic devices (λ < 400 nm). The target is to highlight major recent achievements in the field, foster an exchange of ideas and collaborations, and accelerate future development of such technology. Topics will include recent advancements in the field of epitaxial growth of III-nitrides and oxides for UV emitters, doping and control of defects, device design and novel devices, fabrication and contacts for electrically injected lasers and LEDs, and characterization and properties of state-of-the-art emitters. This also includes improved light extraction in UV LEDs, photonics crystals, UV detectors, and new materials for UV optoelectronic applications. Finally, contributions highlighting developments beyond the device level such as wave guiding, integrated photonic circuits, and UV based optoelectronic systems will be included.

This session will showcase original work on emitters operating across the electromagnetic spectrum (UV to THz). Topics include lasers operating from THz to UV, dynamics and noise in semiconductor lasers and systems, nano- or subwavelength- scale lasers and emitters, emitters based on low-dimensional materials (quantum wires, dots and layered materials), vertical cavity emitters, fiber lasers, high power and high brightness sources and source arrays, ultrafast lasers, and emitters for integrated photonic applications. In addition, we seek results demonstrating novel materials systems for light emitters and approaches for leveraging enhanced light-matter interaction for new forms of light emitters, including emitters to generate non-classical light. Finally, submissions demonstrating applications of emitters and sources for security, defense, and sensing applications, as well as the development of optical systems based on new types of light sources, are encouraged.

Track OIST - Optical Imaging and Sensing Technology

This track will cover optical imaging and sensing technology that supports detection, recognition, classification and characterization for defense applications. Topics include spectral, polarimetric, and multimodal imaging; UV optoelectronics; terahertz photonics; and target detection and pattern recognition.

Spectral, Polarimetric, and Multimodal Imaging:
This session will explore emerging developments in sensor concepts and designs, system analysis, target and background phenomenology, and signal and image processing methods relating to hyperspectral, multispectral, hypertemporal, and polarimetric imaging systems. Defense applications ranging from close-proximity non-destructive evaluation to remote sensing for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting will be considered. Additionally, sensors and systems that enable multi-modal measurements across space, spectrum, time, angle, polarization, and distance, and their associated tradespaces, will be discussed.

RF and Optical Target Imaging, Identification, and Pattern Recognition:

We seek papers on new techniques for extracting target information from RF or optical sensor data. Extracted target information may include location, velocity, constituent electrical properties, shape, class, or any other distinguishing characteristic. Papers focusing on advancements in algorithms, signal processing techniques, or hardware strategies are welcome. Techniques of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Image formation and image processing
• Compressive sensing
• Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automatic target recognition
• Inverse scattering and inverse problems
• Computational electromagnetics
• Synthetic aperture radar
• Array signal processing
• Micro-Doppler analysis
• Sensor fusion
• Polarimetric and interferometric processing

Optical Detectors/Sensors:
This session will showcase original work in optical detector materials, detector architectures, and sensing modalities across the electromagnetic spectrum (from UV to IR to THz). The goal is to highlight recent advances in detector technology and to bring together materials, optics, and electronics expertise with designers of optical/photonic systems. Topics will include: epitaxial growth of detector materials, novel growth techniques for optical materials, infrared (SWIR, MWIR, LWIR, FIR) detectors and focal plane arrays, THz detection, high speed detectors, single photon detectors and/or optical detector for quantum information processing applications, UV-visible single-element and focal plane array detectors, integration of optical detectors with CMOS technology, and bolometric materials and detection schemes. Finally, contributions exploring new mechanisms for optical detection, new detector architectures, and novel optical materials, as well as presentations focused on new optical/photonic systems enabled by advances in detector technology will be included.

Convergent Technologies for Defense and Commercial Applications:
In this special session, a panel of experts will be describe four areas of the program, namely, Electro-Optic (EO)/Infrared (IR), Radiofrequency (RF), Edge/Security, and Modeling & Simulation. These thrust areas are essential technologies for the Department of Defense’s capabilities in the exploitation and management of electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) and network security. Research in these areas also has significant commercial applications.

Track OMPEES - Optical Metamaterials, Plasmonics and Engineered Electromagnetic Structures

The track will cover micro- and nano- technologies that have enabled unprecedented control of light – matter interactions on the subwavelength scale. The track will have dedicated sessions focusing on experimental, theoretical and device application aspects of nanophotonics, photonic lattices, plasmonics, optical metamaterials and metasurfaces.

Resonant Photonic Lattices:
Subwavelength scale optical devices with 1D or 2D pattering constitute generalized optical lattices facilitating complex transformations of electromagnetic fields in spectral and spatial domains. These devices include metamaterials and photonic crystals. This session addresses linear and nonlinear resonant optical interactions enabled by lightwave confinement and/or scattering in such structures. Topics of submission include guided-mode resonance physics and effects, novel subwavelength resonator concepts, nonreciprocity in photonic lattices, effects of highly confined optical modes, nonlinear phenomena in periodic waveguides, metamaterial reflector physics, resonant optical sensor concepts and related topics.

Optical Metamaterials Based Devices and Applications:
Optical Metamaterials have opened the door to unprecedented control of the electromagnetic material properties and created a remarkable platform for manipulating and enhancing light-matter interactions by design. In addition, they enabled the realization of many material properties that cannot be found in natural materials. This ability has led to novel and counter-intuitive concepts, devices, and creative solutions to long-standing technological challenges. This session seeks submissions that cover a broad range of metamaterials-related topics, including but not limited to: novel device concepts; nonlinear, tunable, and reconfigurable metamaterials; chiral and bianisotropic metamaterials; nonreciprocal and topological metamaterials; quantum metamaterials; homogenization and effective medium models; transformation electromagnetics; metamaterials for chemical and biological sensing; experimental techniques and characterization of metamaterials, and system-level devices integration that is enabled/enhanced by metamaterials.

Optical Metasurfaces and Applications::
Optical metasurfaces are ultra-thin optical devices that have enabled unprecedented control over the phase, amplitude, or polarization of light. This session will cover optical frequency (infrared, visible, and ultraviolet) metasurface designs and applications. The emphasis will be on active devices and approaches that enable dynamic tunability, gain, or nonlinear response of the metasurface elements or device. Presentations connecting applications to the design flexibility of metasurfaces to offer thin and flat optics, functional optical coatings, and reconfigurable optical systems will be encouraged.

Complex Nanomaterials with Tunable Chirality and/or Nonlinearity:
For most of the 20th Century chirality was a binary concept – an object was either chiral or it was not, if it was chiral then it was either left-handed or right-handed. With the progress of nanotechnology, it has become possible to tune chirality through a continuum of states, both in top-down and in bottom-up approaches. It has also become possible to tune the optical chirality of light. Upon tuning the plasmonic, dielectric and excitonic resonances, as well as upon tuning the dipolar and multipolar responses in nanostructures, nonlinear optical properties can be greatly enhanced and tuned, leading to novel physical effects and technological applications.
This session will cover topics, such as:

  • Fabrication of chiral and nonlinear nano/meta-materials, including top-down and bottom-up approaches
  • Experimental characterization of nonlinearities in nano/meta-materials and metasurfaces
  • Fabrication techniques for nano/meta-materials with enhanced nonlinear response
  • Experimental characterization of chiral nano/meta-materials
  • Chirality of nonlinear optical interactions in nano/meta-materials
  • Optical nonlinearities in 2D materials
  • Theoretical modelling of nonlinear nano/meta-materials, including material properties characterizing the second and third harmonic generated light
  • Theoretical frameworks for chiral nano/meta-materials, including design of metamaterials with enhanced chirality
  • Computational methods for chiral and nonlinear nano/meta-materials
  • Optical chirality and orbital angular momentum
  • Interactions between (super)chiral meta/nanomaterials and quantum systems (atoms and molecules)

Track PDS - Photonics for Defense Systems

This track will assess the state-of-the-art of photonics technologies to applications and systems that are relevant in defense. The topics covered will include EO/IR/LADAR, hardware and software testing of optical systems, Cybersecurity tools for instrumentation and control for test and evaluation, and special operations interests.

This session focuses on the use of state-of-the-art EO/IR passive imaging and LADAR sensor systems for defense applications such as surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting. EO/IR passive and active imaging systems are required to accomplish these goals for moving and stationary targets in a diverse range of settings including desert, forest, and urban environments. Sensors need to be able to robustly differentiate between background objects and targets of interest. Modeling and/or experimental investigation of the performance of these systems for detecting, tracking, recognizing, and identifying targets is of interest. Operational spectral bands may include visible to the long wave IR. LADAR systems considered for this section may include multispectral, polarimetric, as well as other sensing modalities.

Devices and Systems for Sensors:
This track will focus on multidisciplinary research that investigates optical systems in order to understand and apply the principles that enable such high performing systems. Topics covered will include optical technologies/architectures, sensors, signal and information processing. Areas of interest include GRIN and free-form optics, novel transducers, integrated sensing and processing, natural polarization and spectral signatures, materials and structures, multi-aperture architectures, size weight and power (SWAP) issues, performance metrics / figures of merit for unconventional approaches, etc.

Specialty Optical Fibers:
Specialty optical fibers have played a pivotal role in numerous scientific breakthroughs and serve as a crucial driver of innovation for high-end applications and commercial products across various sectors in modern society. These fibers are increasingly becoming integral to various modern technologies, such as defense and security, quantum optics, communication, sensing, automotive, and biomedicine. This session will focus on the design, fabrication, and characterization of various specialty optical fibers, and their applications. The session will cover the following topics, but not limited to:

Novel Optical Fiber Design, Fabrication, and Characterization:

  • Hollow-core fibers
  • Microstructure optical fibers
  • Soft glass fibers
  • Infrared fibers
  • Multi-core fibers

Fiber Lasers and Beyond: 

  • High energy fiber lasers
  • CW fiber lasers
  • Ultrashort pulsed fiber lasers
  • Fiber gas lasers


  • Single-mode and multi-mode ultrafast nonlinear dynamics
  • Spatiotemporal nonlinear dynamics in fibers
  • Quantum communication in fibers
  • Gas-based nonlinear fibers optics
  • Multi-octave supercontinuum generation in fibers
  • Fiber sensors, spectroscopy, and laser science

Photonics and Future Warfighter Operational Concepts:
Photonics are a key enabling technology for new capabilities that build the foundation for a future Joint Force that conducts complex, multi-domain operations, even under the most difficult scenarios. It is important to leverage advanced technologies to expand a diverse warfighting portfolio and drive enterprise-wide solutions to develop new ways of operating as a joint force. Leveragering photonics to accelerate transformational science and technology (S&T) for our warfighters now and in the future is at the forefront. This session overviews strategic drivers shaping the defense S&T portfolio and how photonics play a key role to solve these challenges.