Bio: Shaya Fainman joined the UCSD faculty in July 1990, after teaching for two years at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1983, he earned his Ph.D. from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where he won the Miriam and Aharon Gutvirt Prize in 1982. From 1983-88, Fainman was a post-doctoral researcher at UCSD. He has been a Fellow of the Optical Society of America since 1995, and has been a Topical Editor of the society's Journal. He was also Editor of the International Journal on Optical Memory and Neural Networks. Fainman heads up UCSD's Ultrafast and Nano-scale Optics Group.
Research: Professor Fainman is involved in design and realization of ultrafast and miniature optical systems. Current research interests in his group include photonic crystals (band gap); 3-D holographic optical storage for image processing; the investigation of artificial dielectric properties of nanostructures; transparent photonic switching fabric and networks; diffractive optics with multifunctionality; and quantum communications and cryptography for photonic network security and privacy. Optical signal processing is a major thrust of Fainman's research, and he is pioneering development of optical code division multiple access (OCDMA), an optical version of the CDMA technology on which most U.S. wireless telephone systems are currently based. OCDMA itself is based on a technique called NSTP--nonlinear spatio-temporal processing. It utilizes pulses from femtosecond lasers to enable the conversion of spatial and temporal information from one domain to the other. Fainman says OCDMA is intrinsically more secure than traditional wavelength division or time division multiplexing, and will permit optical networks to operate in excess of 1 terabit per second.