Volker J. Sorger

Volker Sorger
Associate Professor
SEH 6590 | Office hours: By appointment

Professor Volker Sorger's research team explores novel nanophotonic devices and next-generation photonic computing at the ultimate physical limits to include (i) atto-Joule opto-electronics devices, and (ii) emerging optical information processing such as neuromorphic computing and analogue photonic algorithms. Our goal is to transform cognitive computing into consciousness computing using photonics. We follow an interdisciplinary approach that draws expertise from electrical engineering, physics, and computer engineering. We answer key fundamental questions in information processing and logic and bridge these with National Grand Challenges relating to Rebooting Computing, Enhance Virtual Reality, and Materials Genome Initiative. Our capabilities range from optoelectronic device fab and tests, including emerging materials, over simulation, to prototyping. Recent demonstrations include the first 100’s of atto-Joule efficient electro-optic modulator on a Silicon platform and world's first semiconductor plasmon laser, and image symmetry detection in neuromorphic neural networks. Finally, our team is actively engaged in STEM outreach and optical science-policy such as the IEEE Rebooting Computing and National Photonic Initiative. Prof. Sorger is the Director of the Orthogonal-Physics-Enabled-Nanophotonics (OPEN) Lab at GWU, a senior member of OSA, SPIE, and IEEE, and serves at the Board-of-Meetings for OSA, and both the SPIE Symposia and Scholarship Committee. Securing $6.5M from national funding agencies to include AFOSR, NSF, ARO, and SRC, he published over 120 peer-reviewed publications, cited over 5000 times.


  • Ph.D., The University of California - Berkeley, 2011
  • Management of Technology, Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, 2011
  • M.A., The University of Texas, 2005
  • Nanophotonics
  • Opto-electronics
  • 2D Materials
  • Computing in Optics
    (ECE Focus-Area category: MEMS/NEMS, Electronics Photonics)


  • Total number of citations = 5300+ (as of August 2017)
  • Total number of publications: 123
  • 1 cover story, 10 publications in Nature Publishing Group and Science

Selected Publications:

  • J. K. George, H. Nejadriahi, V. J. Sorger, "Towards On-Chip Optical FFTs for Convolutional Neural Networks" IEEE International Conference on Rebooting Computing 2017 (accepted, 8-2017).
  • R. Amin, C. Suer, Z. Ma, J. Khurgin, R. Agarwal, V. J. Sorger, “Active Material, Optical Mode and Cavity Impact on electro-optic Modulation Performance” arXiv:1612.02494 (2016).
  • V. K. Narayana, S. Sun, A. Mehrabian, V. J. Sorger, and T. El-Ghazawi, “HyPPI NoC: Bringing Hybrid Plasmonics to an Opto-Electronic Network-on-Chip,” in the 46th International Conference on Parallel Processing (ICPP), Bristol, UK, August 14-17 (2017).
  • S. Sun, V. Narayana, T. El-Ghazawi, V. J. Sorger, “A Universal Multi-Hierarchy Figure-of-Merit for On-chip Computing and Communications”, arXiv:1612.02486 (2016). (under review at Journal of Lightwave Technology).
  • S. Sun, V. Narayana, T. El-Ghazawi, V. J. Sorger, “Moore’s law in CLEAR light”, arXiv:1612.02494 (2016). (under review at IEEE Computer)
  • M. H. Tahersima, M. Danang Birowosuto, Z. Ma, W. C. Coley, M. Valentin, I. Lu, K. Liu, Y. Zhou, A. Martinez, I. Liao, B. N. Davis, J. Martinez, S. Naghibi Alvillar, D. Martinez-Ta, A. Guan, A. E. Nguyen, C. Soci, E. Reed, L. Bartels, V. J. Sorger. “Testbeds for Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Photonics: Efficacy of Light Emission Enhancement in Monomer vs. Dimer Nanoscale Antennas”, ACS Photonics, 4, 1713-1721 (2017).
  • R. Amin, C. Suer, Z. Ma, J. Khurgin, R. Agarwal, V. J. Sorger, “A Deterministic Guide for Material and Mode Dependence of On-Chip Electro-Optic Modulator Performance”, Solid-State Electronics, Special Issue, DOI: 10.1016/j.sse.2017.06.024 (2017).
  • V. K. Narayana, S. Sun, A.-H. Badawya, V. J. Sorger, T. El-Ghazawi, “MorphoNoC: MorphoNoC: Exploring the Design Space of a Configurable Hybrid NoC using Nanophotonics,” Microprocessors and Microsystems, (accepted 3-2017).
  • W. Zhu, J. K. George, V. J. Sorger, L. G. Zhang, “3D Printing Scaffold Coupled with Low Level Light Therapy for Neural Tissue Regeneration”. Biofabrication, 9, 025002 (2017).
  • J. Touch, A.H. Badaway, V.J. Sorger, “Optical Computing” Nanophotonics, Special Issue on Optical Computing (6(3)), 503-505 (2017).
  • J. K. George, V. J. Sorger, “Graphene-based Solitons for Spatial Division Multiplexed Switching”, Optics Letters 42, 4, 787-790 (2017).
  • R. Oulton, V. J. Sorger, R. Ma, “Zeroing in Nanolasers” Optics Photonics Reviews (OPN), 1, (2017).
  • J. K. George, H. Seyed, D. D’Hemecourt, W. Zhu, G. Zhang, V. J. Sorger, “Scattering and Absorption Control in Biocompatible Fibers towards Equalized Photobiomodulation”, Biomedical Optics Express 8(3), 1589-1597 (2017).
  • Z. Ma, M. H. Tahersima, S. Khan and V. J. Sorger, "Two-Dimensional Material-Based Mode Confinement Engineering in Electro-Optic Modulators," IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, vol. 23, no. 1, 1-8 (2017).
  • K. Liu, S. Sun, A. Majumdar, V. J. Sorger, “Fundamental Scaling Laws in Nanophotonics” Nature: Scientific Reports, 6, 37419 (2016).
  • K. Liu, C. Zhang, S. Mu, S. Wang, V. J. Sorger, “Trench-coupler based Silicon Mach-Zehnder Thermo-optic Switch with Flexible Two-dimensional Design” Optics Express. 24, 14, 15845-15853 (2016).
  • H. Huang, K. Liu, V. J. Sorger, “Re-analysis of Single-mode Condition for Silicon Rib Waveguides at 1550 nm Wavelength”, Journal of Lightwave Technologies, 34, 3811-3817 (2016).
  • S. V Boriskina, M. A Green, K. Catchpole, E. Yablonovitch, M. C Beard, Y. Okada, S. Lany, T. Gershon, A. Zakutayev, M. H Tahersima, V. J Sorger, M. J Naughton, K. Kempa, M. Dagenais, Y. Yao, L. Xu, X. Sheng, N. D Bronstein, J. A Rogers, P. Alivisatos, R. G Nuzzo, J. M Gordon, D. M Wu, M. D Wisser, A. Salleo, J. Dionne, P. Bermel, J. Greffet, I. Celanovic, M. Soljacic, A. Manor, C.l Rotschild, A. Raman, L. Zhu, S. Fan, G. Chen, “Roadmap on optical energy conversion” Journal of Optics, special issue on roadmap on Optical Energy Conversion, 18, 073004 (2016).
  • K. Liu, N. Li, D. K. Sadana, V. J. Sorger, “Integrated nano-cavity plasmon light-sources for on-chip optical interconnects” ACS Photonics, 3. 233-242 (2016).
  • S. Sun, A. Badaway, V. Narayana, T. El-Ghazawi, V. J. Sorger, “Photonic-Plasmonic Hybrid Interconnects: Efficient Links with Low latency, Energy and Footprint”, IEEE Photonics Journal, 7, 6 (2015).
  • N. Li, K. Liu, D. K. Sadana, V. J. Sorger, “Nano III-V Plasmonic Light-Sources for Monolithic Integration on Silicon”, Nature: Scientific Reports, 5, 14067 (2015).
  • K. Liu, V. J. Sorger, “An electrically-driven Carbon nanotube-based plasmonic laser on Silicon” Optical Materials Express, 5, 1910-1919 (2015).
  • M. Tahersima, V. J. Sorger, “Enhanced Photon Absorption in Spiral Nanostructured Solar Cells using layered 2-D Materials” United Kingdom Institute of Physics, Nanotechnology, 26, 344005 (2015).
  • C. Ye, K. Liu, R. Soref, and V. J. Sorger, “3-Waveguide 2x2 Plasmonic Electro-optic Switch” Nanophotonics, 4, 1, pp. 261-268 (2015).
  • Z. Ma, Z. Li, K. Liu, C. Ye, V. J. Sorger, “Indium-Tin-Oxide for High-performance Electro-optic Modulation”, Nanophotonics, 4, 1 (2015).
  • V. J. Sorger, "2D Material Nanowatt Threshold Lasing" Nature Asia Materials, 7, doi: 10.1038/am.2015.69 (2015).
  • V. J. Sorger, “Editorial to Special Issue on Emerging Materials for Nanophotonics”, Nanophotonics, 4, 1,1 (2015).
  • K. Liu, V. J. Sorger, “Enhanced interaction strength for a square plasmon resonator embedded in photonic crystal nanobeam cavity” Journal Nanophotonics, 9, 093790 (2015).
  • A. Fratalocchi, C. M Dodson, R. Zia, P. Genevet, E. Verhagen, H. Altug, V. J. Sorger, “Nano-optics gets practical: Plasmon Modulators”, Nature Nanotechnology, 10, 11-15 (2015).
  • K. Liu, C.R. Ye, S. Khan, V. J. Sorger, “Review and perspective on ultrafast wavelength-size electro-optic modulators” Laser & Photonics Review, 9, 2, p.172-194 (2015) - Cover
  • C. Ye, S. Khan, Z.R. Li, E. Simsek, V. J. Sorger, “l-Size ITO and Graphene-based Electro-optic Modulators on SOI” IEEE Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, 4, 20 (2014).
  • C. Ye, S. Pickus, V. J. Sorger, “Ultra-compact Graphene-based Electro-optic Modulators on a Silicon-on-Insulator Platform” Intl J. M. Eng.  (2014).
  • S. K. Pickus, S. Khan, C. Ye, Z. Li, and V. J. Sorger, “Silicon Plasmon Modulators: Breaking Photonic Limits” IEEE Photonic Society, 27, 6 (2013).
  • C. Huang, S. Pickus, R. Lamond, Z. Li, V. J. Sorger, “A Sub-λ Size Modulator Beyond the Efficiency-Loss Limit” IEEE Photonics Journal 5, 4 (2013).
  • R.-M. Ma, X. Yin, R. F. Oulton, V. J. Sorger, and X. Zhang, "Multiplexed and Electrically Modulated Plasmon Laser Circuit", Nano Letters 12, 5396-5402 (2012).
  • V. J. Sorger, D. Kimura, R.-M. Ma and X. Zhang „Ultra-compact Silicon nanophotonic Modulator with broadband Response” Nanophotonics 1, 1, 17-22 (2012).
  • V. J. Sorger, R. F. Oulton, R.-M. Ma, X. Zhang “Toward integrated plasmon circuits” MRS Bulletin 37, 8, 728-738 (2012).
  • R.-M. Ma, R. F. Oulton, V. J. Sorger and X. Zhang "Plasmon lasers: coherent light source at molecular scales", Laser & Photonics Reviews 7, 1-21 (2012).
  • V. J. Sorger, N. Pholchai, E. Cubukcu, R. F. Oulton, P. Kolchin, C. Borschel, M. Gnauck et. al “Strongly Enhanced Molecular Fluorescence inside a Nanoscale Waveguide Gap“ Nano Letters 10.1021/nl202825s (2011).
  • V. J. Sorger and X. Zhang „ Spotlight on Plasmon Lasers“ Science 333, 709-710 (2011).
  • V. J. Sorger, Z. Ye, R. F. Oulton, G. Bartal, Y. Wang and X. Zhang “Experimental demonstration of low-loss optical waveguiding at deep sub-wavelength scales” Nature Communication 2, 331 (2011).
  • R.-M. Ma, R. F. Oulton, V. J. Sorger and X. Zhang “Room-temperature sub-diffraction-limited plasmon laser by total internal reflection” Nature Materials 10, 110-113 (2010).
  • V. J. Sorger “Plasmon Laser – Light from the Nanoworld” SPIE Newsroom (2010).
  • R. K. Kramer, N. Pholchai, V. J. Sorger, T. J. Yim, R. F. Oulton and X. Zhang “Positioning of quantum dots on metallic structures” Nanotechnology 21 145307 (2010).
  • R. F. Oulton*, V. J. Sorger*, T. Zentgraf*, R.-M. Ma, C. Gladden, L. Dai, G. Bartal and X. Zhang “Plasmon Lasers at Deep Subwavelength Scale” Nature 461, 629-631 (2009). (*equal author contribution)
  • V. J. Sorger, R. F. Oulton, J. Yao, G. Bartal and X. Zhang “Fabry-Perot Plasmonic Nanocavity“ Nano Letters 9, 3489-3493 (2009).
  • B. Min, E. Ostby, V. J. Sorger, E. Ulin-Avila, L. Yang, X. Zhang, K. Valhalla "High-Q surface plasmon-polariton whispering-gallery microcavity" Nature 457, 455-458 (2009).
  • R. F. Oulton, V. J. Sorger, D. F. B. Pile, D. Genov, X. Zhang “Nano-photonic confinement and transport in a hybrid semiconductor-surface plasmon waveguide” Nature Photonics 2, 496-500 (2008).

Professional Distinctions

  • Delivered 110 invited Presentations at Conferences and Topical meetings, Colloquia and Seminars.
  • Editor-in-Chief of journal ‘Nanophotonics’ (impact factor = 5.4)
  • Senior Member at the following professional organizations: IEEE, OSA, SPIE
  • Member of the Board-of-Meetings at OSA, and of the Symposium and Scholarship Committee at SPIE.
  • Funding Agency Grant Reviewer for NSF, AFOSR, ARO, USAID, and Intl. NSF.
  • Served on 31 Conference and Symposia Organizational Committees
  • Journal Reviewer – Nature Materials, Nature Communications, Nature Nanotechnology, Science, Nano Letters, Optics Letters, Optics Express, Applied Physics Letters, Nanophotonics, ACS Photonics, ACS Nano, IEEE Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics.
  • Science Policy – NPI Task Force Member, Optical Legislative Network Member.
  • STEM Outreach: Advisor of OSA and SPIE student Chapter at GWU. NSF (NUE) Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education.
  • European Space Agency Astronaut selection finalist (top 0.2%) 2008/09.

Awards (selected)

  • Vice President for Research, Early Career Award, GWU (2017).
  • Hegarty Innovations Prize (2016)
  • Dean’s Outstanding Young Faculty Research Award, GWU (2016)
  • Annual Faculty Recognition Award  - SEAS GWU (2015)
  • AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award (2014)
  • Faculty-of-the-year Award (2014)
  • MRS Gold Award (2011)
  • National Academy of Sciences: Best Paper Prize of the year (2010)
  • OSA Emil Wolf Prize (2009)
  • BACUS & SPIE Scholarship (2007,08 and 09)
  • Intel PhD Fellowship (2007-2009)
  • Holderlin Stipend (SAP) (2005)
  • German National Academic Foundation Fellowship (2002)

USPTO Full Patent Filed

  1. (#8,509,276): Plasmon Lasers at Deep Sub-Wavelength Scale Application.
  2. 14/528,392): Silicon-Based, Broadband, Waveguide-Integrated Electro-Optical Switch.
  3. (#14/941,100): Integrated nano-cavity plasmon laser light-sources. (IBM jointly filed).
  4. (#15/369,371): The Reconfigurable Optical Co-Processor (ROC).
  5. (#15/194,119): Hybrid Photonic Plasmonic Interconnects (HYPPI) with Intrinsic and Extrinsic Modulation Option.

B. USPTO Provisional Patent filed

  1. (#62/146,590): 2-D material-based Spiral Solar Cell.
  2. (#62/454,208) Hybrid Photonic Plasmonic Non-blocking Wide Spectrum WDM On-chip Router.
  3. (#62/461,889) Image Symmetry Detection via leaky-firing Spiking Neuromorphic Networks.
  4. (#62/463,217) Graphene Sot-waveguide based Electro-optic Modulator.