Muhammad Alam PhD, P.Eng

Assistant Professor

Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty
Phone: 613-533-6000 ext. 74874
Walter Light Hall, Room: 516

Expertise: Nanophotonics
Muhammad  Alam
Biography Research Teaching Publications

Muhammad Zulfiker Alam is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his BASc from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (2000), MASc from the University of Victoria (2003), and PhD from the University of Toronto (2012). As part of his PhD research, he proposed the hybrid plasmonic waveguide which stimulated worldwide research activity. In recognition of the impact of his research he received the Douglas R. Colton Medal for Research, which is given to one researcher every year in Canada. Subsequently he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Caltech. He was also a visiting researcher at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

Dr. Alam’s work has resulted in more than 50 journal and conference publications, and three issued or pending patents. His research interests include metasurface, optoelectronics, plasmonics, and silicon photonics. 

Research Interest

Recent progress in materials science, micro and nano fabrication technologies, and the availability of high performance computing resources have revolutionized many branches of science and technology. Nanophotonics is among the areas at the forefront of such advances. It is now a key enabling technology for many applications, and holds great promises for the future. The goal of our research is to transform the promises of nanophotonics from possibility to reality. We are especially interested in plasmonics, metasurface and silicon photonics. 


Surface plasmon (SP) is a surface wave, which results from the coupling of an electromagnetic wave with the collective electronic oscillations at a metal-dielectric interface. The light confinement ability of SP is not limited by diffraction, and as a result it can be squeezed to deep subwavelength scale. Plasmonics is a branch of nanophotnics, which focuses on the study and applications of the unique properties of SP. The high confinement of SP makes plasmonics a highly sensitive tool for biosening and chemical sensing.  Plasmonics is also a very promising pathway for miniaturization of optoelectronic devices to better integrate them with electronics. We are interested to explore the applications of plasmonics for a wide range of applications including optical modulation, energy harvesting and sensing.  


Controlling the flow of light and light-matter interaction is key to numerous applications including communication, information processing, imaging, and energy harvesting. Traditional optical elements are large in size, which limits their usefulness in many of these applications. In addition, their fabrication is often not compatible with planar fabrication technology developed by the electronics industry. A solution to this challenge is offered by metasurface, which consists of periodic arrangement of thin subwavelength optical elements. Metasurface provides us with unprecedented control on molding the flow of light and its properties. The fabrication of metasurface is also compatible with planar fabrication technology, which drastically simplifies the fabrication and integration of optical components. The field of metasurface is still in its infancy but many promising applications including flat lenses, compact spectrometers, novel holographic schemes and polarization control devices have already been demonstrated. We are interested in developing new metasurfaces, which can outperform existing alternatives, and find widespread applications in communication, sensing, energy harvesting, computing and imaging. 

Silicon photonics 

The explosive growth in demands for large bandwidth and high performance computing has resulted in intense research activities for development of on-chip capability for optical signal transmission and signal processing. Silicon photonics has emerged as one of the most promising candidate for this because of the high refractive index of silicon and its compatibility with CMOS electronics, which can lead to dense integration, lower cost and seamless integration of photonics and electronics. Although impressive progress has been made in recent years, many issues still need to be addressed before silicon photonics can become a mainstream technology. Most applications in optical communication require the ability to generate, modulate, transmit and detect optical signals. Unfortunately all of these functions cannot be satisfied using only silicon. We are interested in the integration of various materials with silicon to achieve proper functionalities, which will be crucial for the future development of silicon photonics. 

ELEC 280: Fundamentals of Electromagnetics

To view Dr. Alam's publications, please visit his Google Scholar Citations.


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