Integrated Photonics

Prof. Wei Shi's group at Université Laval innovates integrated photonics technology to enable a faster, greener Internet, as well as safer, sustainable human-environment interactions. As we are quickly entering a Terabit era, future fiber-optic communication systems will have a dramatically increased complexity that cannot be obtained using discrete optical components. Today, a state-of-the-art coherent transceiver already contains hundreds of optical components and connectors. Next generations of multi-Tb/s transceivers will comprise thousands of optical functions. Due to this unprecedented complexity, optical transceivers are dominating the cost of today’s coherent transmission systems. Photonic integration is the most promising, if not the only, solution to the dilemma between scaling system complexity and reducing cost per bit/s. 

Our research involves silicon photonics, nanophotonics design and characterization, CMOS-photonics co-design, high-speed optical transmission and detection, and integrated lasers. Exciting applications include big data transfer, cloud computing, super computers, portable sensors, and ubiquitous sensing networks.

Silicon Photonics

Prof. Shi is active in the highly qualified personnel training (HQP) in silicon photonics. He offers two coures at Université Laval: Conception et fabrication nano-photonique I (GEL-7070) and II (7071). Since 2012, he teaches design and modeling of photonic devices, such as waveguides, filters, and modulators, in the yearly silicon photonics workshops supported by CMC-Microsystems and the NSERC CREATE SiEPIC program.

Silicon photonics is a quickly emerging field that promises to revolutionize the microelectronics industry and communication technology. It is related to the study and application ofphotonicsystems using siliconas anoptical medium, which is unique for manipulating photons and electrons on the same platform. Leading semiconductor companies such as Intel and IBM, who see it as a means for keeping track with Moore’s Law, have invested heavily in the development of silicon photonic circuits to provide ultra-fast data rates between and within microchips. Communication technology leaders, such as Bell Labs, Huawei, and Cisco are developing silicon photonic systems for next-generation optical communication systems. Over the next decade, silicon photonic integrated circuits will penetrate Internet data centers, high-performance computing systems, and microchips to meet the ever-growing demand for broadband data communications. While there are still many challenges remaining, great opportunities exist for groundbreaking research and innovation. 

Optical Communications Laboratory

We have close collaboration and share equipment with Profs. S. LaRochelle and L. Rusch in the Optical Communications Laboratory, at Université Laval.

Optical communication technology has revolutionized our lives. It provides the physical backbone for global networking and is widely used in Internet data centres and cloud computing. Today integrated photonics is quickly penetrating into microprocessors and wearable electronics. At Université Laval, we explore innovation in both theory and experiment to drastically push the boundaries of next-generation optical communications. Our research covers many of the most exciting topics in this rapidly evolving field, including but not limited to: ultra-high-capacity coherent optical transmissions; smart radio-over-fiber systems; silicon photonics; spatial division multiplexing; multidimensional lasers and amplifiers; integrated photonic systems

Our laboratory was recently updated and upgraded with two CFI grants: $3.75M (LBOWS) and $1.7M (WONDER). It features a Tb/s coherent transmission testbed and state-of-the-art photonics characterization systems. We also have access to $10M facilities and equipment for fabrication and test of glass-based materials and components through collaboration with Prof. Younès Messaddeq. This capacity is unique in Canada; comparable infrastructures can only be found in a limited number of locations around the world. Our students receive systematic training and obtain important skills with these facilities and equipment, all located in the same building dedicated to research in optics and photonics on UL campus.


Prof. Shi is a faculty member of the Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers (COPL), a strategic cluster of optics/photonics researchers from Université Laval, École Polytechnique de Montréal, McGill, INRS, École de technologie supérieure, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University. 

Its research excellence, state-of-the-art facilities and comprehensive scientific program have positioned the COPL among the best centers in the world for optics and photonics training and research.

The Center was founded in 1989 at Université Laval and has since expanded beyond the institution in order to encompass leading-edge expertise available at other universities therefore creating a critical mass of researchers capable of taking on the complex and challenging task of furthering the development of photonics knowledge and applications.


Prof. Shi is a faculty member of ReSMiQ, a Québec research cluster, geared toward advanced research in computer and system architectures, analog and mixed-signal circuit design, testing and verification, system-Level design and applications such as telecommunications, biomedical devices, RF circuits and signal processing algorithms and circuits.  

Microelectronics technology and microsystems design plays a fundamental part in applications requiring portable devices operating at great speed or with low power consumption. These technologies are one of the most essential aspects of any modern economy. As a matter of fact, it can be considered the enabling technology for an increasing number of industrial areas and services. The center facilitates the emergence of industrial innovations and the development of state-of-the-art technology in many areas of application in microelectronics and Microsystems.


Our research is sponsored by the governments of Canada and Québec, as well as our industrial partners.