Dr. Young-Kai Chen




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DARPA, Microsystems Technology Office (MTO)

Dr. Young-Kai Chen

Dr. Young-Kai Chen joined DARPA as a Program Manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) in September 2017. His research interests include the exploration of innovative technology frontiers in the areas of semiconductor optoelectronic materials, devices, integrated circuits, and advanced system applications for smart sensors, secure broadband wireless, and photonic links.


Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Chen was a Senior Director at Bell Laboratories and responsible for research groups exploring high-speed electronics and optoelectronics for high capacity wireless and optic fiber data links. In this role, he led the successful transition of innovative laboratory prototypes into commercial products and applications, including selectively grown integrated laser-modulator devices in the 1990s and ultra-wideband mm-wave SiGe frontend ICs for multi-gigabit wireless backhaul radios in the 2000s. He also led the exploration of coherent optics with advanced digital signal processing algorithms, which resulted in the launch of the first commercial 100G coherent optical receivers in 2011. Through this technology, large data centers can be linked thousands of kilometers across continents without electronic repeaters. In 2006, his team successfully transitioned integrated silicon photonic technology into a commercial CMOS foundry for long haul coherent products.


Dr. Chen is credited with several inventions, including compact active microwave digital phase-shifter ICs, high-speed, low-noise InP HBTs with superior non-equilibrium electronic transport properties, compact 350 GHz colliding pulse mode-locked (CPM) semiconductor lasers, the integrated photonic digital-to-analog converter, and novel silicon photonic devices and circuits.


Dr. Chen received his MSEE degree from Syracuse University and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in electrical engineering. He served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, National Taiwan University, and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. Dr. Chen is a fellow of Bell Labs, IEEE, Optical Society of America, and a member of United States National Academy of Engineering and Academia Sinica. He is also a recipient of the IEEE David Sarnoff Award and Edison Patent Award.