Contact Curtis R. Menyuk


Curtis R. Menyuk


Optical Fiber Communications Laboratory


Dr. Menyuk received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in 1976 from M.I.T. and his Ph.D. degree in 1981 from U.C.L.A. in the areas of theoretical plasma physics and nonlinear dynamics. After graduating from U.C.L.A., he became a Research Associate at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he continued his work in theoretical plasma physics and nonlinear phenomena. He became increasingly interested in the issue of soliton robustness---the remarkable stability of solitons in experimental contexts. This interest led him to explore soliton robustness in optical fibers. In collaboration with Dr. Wai, who was a graduate student at the time, he studied solitons in the presence of third order dispersion, and on his own he studied solitons in birefringent optical fibers. In both cases, simulations predicted that solitons are remarkably stable and, in both cases, the predictions were soon experimentally verified.

In 1983, Dr. Menyuk became a Research Scientist at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) where he completed much of his early work on solitons in optical fibers, and in 1986 he accepted an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He was the founding member of the Electrical Engineering Department at UMBC and its first head. In 1993 he was promoted to professor. In 1995 the electrical Engineering Department merged with the Computer Science Department to form the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department when Prof. Menyuk still remains. In 1996, Dr. Menyuk became a fellow of the optical Society of American and in 1998 he became a Fellow of the IEEE.

Shortly before joining the faculty at UMBC, Dr. Menyuk became involved in a collaborative project to study the Raman effect in gases. This work was carried out in collaboration with Dr. Godehard Hilfer at SAIC and Dr. John Reintjes and his experimental group at the Naval Research Laboratory. A fruitful collaboration ensued until 1990 when the project ended. Research on one aspect of the project, self-similarity in stimulated Raman scattering, continued up to 1996.

The early studies of solitons in birefringence optical fibers led to two distinct areas of further inquiry. The first is soliton switching. Most of the work in Dr. Menyuk's research group on this topic has focused on soliton dragging and trapping gates that were first invented by Dr. Mohammed Islam who was at AT&T Bell Laboratories at the time and is now at the University of Michigan. These gates are based on principles first elucidated by Dr. Menyuk. This work ended in 1996. More recently, members of Dr. Menyuk's group have been working with Mark Arend, Micheal Dennis, and Trl Duling at the Naval Research Laboratory to elucidate the behavior of loop mirrors based on communication fibers.

The second area is randomly varying birefringence in optical fibers . The scale length over which the birefringence varies randomly is small compared to the scale length over which the nonlinearity or dispersion affects the communication signals. Thus both soliton and non-soliton communication signals average over this randomly varying birefringence which has an important impact on their evolution. Early work was been carried out in collaboration with Dr. Linn Mollenauer at what was then AT&T Bell Laboratories. This work was published in 1989. Since that time, Dr. Menyuk in collaboration with Dr. Wai, Dr. Dieter Marcuse and other members of his research group have carried out a set of careful studies, aimed at determining how randomly varying dispersion effects the field evolution on the Poincare's sphere. This work calumniated in 1996 with the derivation of the Manakov-PMD equation that shows how polarization mode dispersion interacts with chromatic dispersion and the Kerr nonlinearity and in 1997 with an efficient, new algorithm for solving these equations as well as a validation of the widely used coarse-step method that was introduced independently by Dr. Menyuk's group and a group at AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1991. Ongoing work on Polarization effects includes an effect in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Mahgerefteh at the Laboratory For Physical Sciences to explore methods to compensate for polarization mode dispersion and an effort in collaboration with Tyco submarine systems to explore how the combination of polarization mode dispersion can lead to repolarization of the polarization-scruambles signals and fading.

In 1988, Dr. Menyuk's research group at UMBC began an effort in modeling solid state devices. Topics that we have explored include solving for the full transverse mode structure of layered GaAs waveguides in collaboration with Dr. Yung-Jui (Ray) Chen of UMBC and studying wave propagation in electrostatically induced waveguides, referred to as field-induced waveguides or FIGs, in collaboration with Drs. T. C. Huang and G. Simonis of the Army Research Laboratory.

In 1990, Dr. Menyuk's research group launched an effort in collaboration with Drs. Linn Mollenauer of AT&T Bell Laboratories and Irl Duling of the Naval Research Laboratory to study optical fiber ring lasers. In addition to complete simulations of these lasers, Dr. Menyuk's research group has used an approach that is based on determining the stability of the laser by linearly perturbing about an equilibrium. In 1997, Dr. Menyuk's research group launched an effect in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Carruthers and his co-workers and Professor Moshe Horowitz, a visitor from techninion Israel to study fiber lasers that combine active and passive elements. New algorithms for modeling these lasers have already been developed.

In 1995, The research group of Dr. Menyuk and Carter launched an effort to design and build a recirculating loop experiment at the Laboratory for Physical Sciences. This loop was designed with a dispersion-managed configuration in order to allow us to propagate both non-return-to-zero and return-to-zero pulses. In 1996, it became apparent that dispersion- managed solitons had tremendous advantage over ordinary solitons and potential advantage over other formats. To date we have achieved the largest single channel distance x rate product in a system without soliton control, and Dr. Menyuk's and Dr. Carter's research groups continue to investigate these systems both theoretically and experimentally. In 1996, Dr. Menyuk and Pilipetskii began an effort to understand error correlations due to the acoustic effect. They showed that simple error correction schemes fail, but in collaboration with the research group of Dr. Tulay Adali, they launched an effort to explore the use of signal processing techniques to compensate for these errors. The result are very promising, and it appears that these technologies can also be used to reduce errors in wavelength-devision multiplexed systems.

Other areas of inquiry include spatial solitons, exploring algorithms to efficiently model wavelength division multiplexed systems, non-gaussian noise distributions, and the use of linearization of contributions to avoid time-consuming Monte Carlo simulations.

In 1993, Dr. Menyuk was promoted to Professor. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is a fellow of the Optical Society of America and he is a fellow of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society.