Photonic Architecture Laboratories is brand new research lab in the Department of Electrical & Electronics Engineering at Koç University, located in İstanbul, Turkey, and led by Assistant Professor Emir Salih Mağden. Our interdisciplinary research focuses on novel integrated optical functionality enabled by creative device design, innovative material solutions, and system-level integration, at the intersection of electrical engineering, applied physics, and materials science. Similar to an architect designing for functionality for various needs of the professional, personal, or commercial work-space, we at Photonic Architecture Laboratories design, fabricate, and test structures and systems for manipulating light at the scale of billionths of a meter. This allows us to dictate the flow of light for many applications including communications, sensing, computation, data handling, and spectroscopy.

Research Themes

Silicon Photonics

integrated optical devices & systems made from silicon-compatible materials, using CMOS fabrication technology

Adaptive Photonic Networks

smart photonic systems that can automatically adapt to changing environmental conditions

Microwave and RF Photonics

using optics to enhance device performance for microwave and radio-frequency applications

Monolithic Rare-Earth Lasers

light sources directly integrated with silicon photonic systems, for efficient generation and routing of light

Ultra-broadband Optical Circuits

systems capable of efficiently handling light throughout spectra as wide as 1000 nm

Nanophotonic Data Handling

data processing, storage, and computation directly in the optical domain


Research at Photonic Architecture Laboratories is performed with a cyclic distribution of tasks, from the inception of the idea, to the theory, design, and simulation of devices and systems, to their layout in preparation of their fabrication, their production in state-of-the-art foundries, and finally to their characterization. Creative thinking and organized action are key for each step of the process. You may see from our Publications that this process builds the backbone of most of our work, and check out the Frequently Asked Questions below if you are interested.

design of a Y-splitter showing a snapshot of electric field in time

Design and Simulation

A successful photonic device starts with careful specification of the required functionality, and an appropriate design. Our initial models start with an in-depth understanding of how light behaves in various media. Through careful simulation and optimization, we determine the best parameters for the most fabrication tolerant devices possible. (image credit)

layout of photonic devices where structural geometry is defined by masks


As photonic architects, we use state-of-the-art tools to convert our designs into masks with nanometer resolution. These masks determine how different layers in the final products will be shaped by carving specific geometries out of silicon and other silicon-compatible materials.

cleanroom fabrication facility


Most of our devices are fabricated by industry partners with state-of-the-art silicon manufacturing capabilities. Further in-house fabrication capabilities will also be available in the near future with the completion of our brand new class-100 cleanroom at Koç University.

characterization setup for an integrated athermal resonator reference at methodology at photonic architecture laboratories


Fabricated devices and systems are optically, electrically, and thermally characterized using benchtop, readily accessible equipment in our laboratory. Our precise measurement setups allow for extraction of many application-specific parameters that are then compared to simulation results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequent questions and answers for prospective students interested in joining Photonic Architecture Laboratories

How does graduate funding work?

Monthly stipends and tuition for full time graduate student members of the lab will be supported either by our lab’s research grants, the Graduate School of Sciences and Engineering, or by their own TUBITAK fellowships. Additionally, for all funded full-time graduate students in thesis programs, Koç University also graciously provides free housing, private health insurance, travel awards, monthly prepaid cards for lunches, and a new laptop at the beginning of their appointment.

How is the advisor-student interaction?

Academic and technical development are the most important driving forces behind innovative, creative research, and are the top priority in Photonic Architecture Laboratories.  All members of our lab have full access to the necessary resources when they need help. That is why Prof. Magden holds a detailed personal meeting with every student at least once a week, as well as group meetings. More meetings are available by appointment when needed, by contacting Prof. Magden.

If I'm accepted into PAL, what will I work on?

Depending on your prior experience, you will spend your first few months learning the basic design and simulation tools in silicon photonics using our lab’s guide. You will then be working on a small project or a relatively small part of a larger project. As you become more experienced and independent, you will have the opportunity to more significantly contribute to our existing projects, and even possibly work on brand new projects that you come up with.

I'm interested! How can I apply?

We are constantly looking for highly motivated and curious students with interest and background in optics. Interested students at both graduate and undergraduate levels should directly contact Prof. Magden with their CVs. For full-time graduate study, you will also need to apply through Graduate School of Sciences and Engineering‘s fall and spring applications for M.S. and Ph.D. candidates.