Brojde Special Courses
Sponsored by the Peter Brojde Center

The Peter Brojde Center sponsors optical courses on topics that are at the focal point of the research and development arena worldwide. The courses are aimed at exposing the engineering and science senior and graduate students of the Hebrew University to the most recent developments and the future directions of research and development of novel technologies as they are being conceived. The courses are delivered by world leaders in the topics of the respected courses.(Previous Courses)

The 2014 Brojde Special Course:

Quantum Biology in the Dark / Prof. Luca Turin

Mon. Oct the 20th;  Tue. Oct. the 21st;  Thu. Oct. the 23rd

2 pm - 6 pm, in Lecture Hall B-221, the School of Engineering and Computer Science (Rothberg Bldg.).


The importance of quantum phenomena in biology was first demonstrated in photosynthesis and bird navigation, where the primary event is an electronic excitation caused by an incoming photon. We have been interested in quantum, or possibly quantum, phenomena occurring in the brain of insects and humans, where light plays no part. In the three lectures I shall describe and discuss three areas I have worked where quantum phenomena are at work and which appear ripe for further investigation: olfaction, neuronal receptor function and general anesthesia. The goal of these lectures is to incite physicists and biologists to join hands in this exciting research area and in due course make us amateurs obsolete.

A TED lecture by Prof. Turin:

The course is designed for the graduate students (Ph.D & 2nd year M.Sc) in Applied Physics, Biology, Physics, and Chemistry, Pharmacology, Agriculture, and the students of the brain center.

Prof. Turin's Lecture Notes

Former Special Brojde Courses:

Quantum Biology

Given by: Prof. Rienk Van Grondelle and Dr. Elisabet Romero
VU Amsterdam


Many biological processes involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, the formation of excited electronic states, the transfer of excitation energy, and of electrons and protons (hydrogen ions) in biological processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Quantum biology uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects. 
Some examples of the biological phenomena that have been studied in terms of quantum processes are the transformation of frequency-specific radiation (i.e., photosynthesis and vision) into chemical energy, the conversion of chemical energy into motion, magneto reception in animals, DNA mutation and Brownian motors in many cellular processes. 
In particular, recent studies have identified quantum coherence and entanglement between the excited states of pigmets in the light-harvesting stage of photosynthesis. This stage of photosynthesis is highly efficient. However, the role of the quantum coherence effects in enhancing excitation transport quantum yields is under instance debate (Wikipedia).

Semiconductor Quantum Nanostructures

Given by: Professor Elyahou Kapon
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne


  • Introduction: Formation mechanisms, optical properties and photonic applications.
  • Quantum nanostructures: The nanoscale, quantum confinement, low dimensional structures.
  • Optical properties of bulk semiconductors:III-V compounds, band structure, optical transitions, excitons.
  • Low-dimensional semiconductors: Quantum wires and quantum dots; Epitaxial growth, fabrication and formation mechanisms; optical spectra; Localization and Coulomb correlation effects.
  • Quantum photonics with semiconductor nanostructures: Generation of single and entangled photons, cavity quantum electrodynamics,Quantum wire and quantum dot lasers.

Silicon photonics: motivation and history

Given by: Professor Michal Lipson
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Cornell University


  • Introduction, types of waveguides, bandwidth, photonics applications.
  • Derivation of wave equation from Maxwell's equations, solutions to the wave equation. Total internal reflection, wave optics vs Ray optics.
  • Planar slab waveguide, graphical and numerical solutions, numerical aperture, Slots waveguides, Couplers, Inverse tapers, Normalized propagation parameters, rectangular waveguide, effective index method. Attenuation, absorption, losses in rectangular waveguides
  • Coupled mode theory, analysis of a coupler, degenerate mode coupling. Circular waveguides, ring resonators
  • Modulators.
  • Novel low loss waveguides.
  • Nonlinear silicon photonics.

Quantum- and Nano-Devices

Given by: Dr. Harald Schneider
Head, Semiconductor Spectroscopy Division Institute of Ion-Beam Physics and Materials Research Forschungszentrum Dresden Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany

Semiconductor quantum- and nanostructures are becoming increasingly important for various device applications. On the one hand, quantum effects are imposing natural limits on scalability in silicon nanoelectronics, which will ultimately change "Moore's law" and related paradigms. On the other hand, tunneling and quantum confinement have formed the basis for a variety of new semiconductor heterostructure devices, starting with the resonant tunneling diode (RTD) and the quantum well laser in the seventies. Later on, the quantum well infrared photo detector (QWIP) and the quantum cascade laser (QCL) were introduced, where optical transitions between sub bands in a quantum well lead to novel opportunities in infrared optoelectronics, thermal imaging, and environmental sensing. Besides the two-dimensional electron states in quantum wells where quantum confinement only exists in one direction, systems with lower dimensionality, i.e., quantum wires (QWR) and quantum dots (QD), hold the potential for improved performance and novel functionality.
After some basic introduction into semiconductor quantum structures, this course will focus on device concepts and applications related to tunneling and artificial electronic sublevels. Special emphasis will be given to infrared optoelectronics; to this end, QWIP and QCL will be covered in more detail. The potential of QD for improved device performance and future applications in quantum cryptography and metrology will also be addressed.

Introduction to Spin-Based Electronics

Given by: Prof. Hanan Dery
University of Rechester (New York)

Part I - Spin basics
    1. Quantum Mechanical Angular Momentum (spin, orbital, total)
    2. Motion of free spins (classical and quantum mechanical approaches)
    3. Spin-orbit interaction, Hund's rules and particles indistinguishability

Part II - Spin-Diffusion in Semiconductors and Metals
    1. The classical Boltzmann transport equation (BTE).
    2. Spin dependent transport (diffusive regime)
    3. Spin relaxation mechanisms
    4. Solutions of the spin diffusion equation in metals and semiconductor
    5. Prototypes of spin-accumulation devices
    6. Magneto-Optical properties in semiconductors (review of theory and experimental setup).