Ti3C2Tx MXene Enabled All-Optical Nonlinear Activation Function for On-Chip Photonic Deep Neural Networks

Adir Hazan, Barak Ratzker, Danzhen Zhang, Aviad Katiyi, Nachum Frage, Maxim Sokol, Yury Gogotsi, Alina Karabchevsky

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint

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Neural networks are one of the first major milestones in developing artificial intelligence systems. The utilisation of integrated photonics in neural networks offers a promising alternative approach to microelectronic and hybrid optical-electronic implementations due to improvements in computational speed and low energy consumption in machine-learning tasks. However, at present, most of the neural network hardware systems are still electronic-based due to a lack of optical realisation of the nonlinear activation function. Here, we experimentally demonstrate two novel approaches for implementing an all-optical neural nonlinear activation function based on utilising unique light-matter interactions in 2D Ti3C2Tx (MXene) in the infrared (IR) range in two
configurations: 1) a saturable absorber made of MXene thin film, and 2) a silicon waveguide with MXene flakes overlayer. These configurations may serve as nonlinear units in photonic neural networks, while their nonlinear transfer function can be flexibly designed to optimise the performance of different neuromorphic tasks, depending on the operating wavelength. The proposed configurations are reconfigurable and can therefore be adjusted for various applications without the need to modify the physical structure. We confirm the capability and feasibility of the obtained results in machine-learning applications via an Modified National Institute of Standards and Technology (MNIST) handwritten digit classifications task, with near 99% accuracy. Our developed concept for an all-optical neuron is expected to constitute a major step towards the realization of all-optically implemented deep neural networks.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 19 Sep 2021


  • physics.optics
  • cs.ET


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