Neuromorphic encoding of image pixel data into rate-coded optical spike trains with a photonic VCSEL-neuron

Hejda, Matej and Robertson, Joshua and Bueno, Julian and Alanis, Juan and Hurtado, Antonio (2021) Neuromorphic encoding of image pixel data into rate-coded optical spike trains with a photonic VCSEL-neuron. APL Photonics, 6 (6). 060802. ISSN 2378-0967 (

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Driven by the increasing significance of artificial intelligence, the field of neuromorphic (brain-inspired) photonics is attracting increasing interest, promising new, high-speed, and energy-efficient computing hardware for key applications in information processing and computer vision. Widely available photonic devices, such as vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs), offer highly desirable properties for photonic implementations of neuromorphic systems, such as high-speed and low energy operation, neuron-like dynamical responses, and ease of integration into chip-scale systems. Here, we experimentally demonstrate encoding of digital image data into continuous, rate-coded, up to GHz-speed optical spike trains with a VCSEL-based photonic spiking neuron. Moreover, our solution makes use of off-the-shelf fiber-optic components with operation at telecom wavelengths, therefore making the system compatible with current optical network and data center technologies. This VCSEL-based spiking encoder paves the way toward optical spike-based data processing and ultrafast neuromorphic vision systems.


Hejda, Matej ORCID logoORCID:, Robertson, Joshua, Bueno, Julian, Alanis, Juan and Hurtado, Antonio ORCID logoORCID:;