In 2000 - 2001, the board of Governors, IITM had agreed to set-up Center for Intelligent Optical Networks at IIT Madras, using the seed money from Dr.Gururaj Deshpande who had committed to fund the initiative. This centre functions as part of the Deshpande Centre for Communications

The centre is part of the Department of Electrical Engineering, housed in the CSD Annexure building (Center for Systems and Devices). Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala was the first head of the Centre. More recently, CION has been functioning under the broader mandate of the Deshpande Centre for Communication Networks.

Work in the area of Photonics falls into 3 broad categories

  1. Devices and Components - Integrated optoelectronics, Fibre Bragg Gratings (FBGs), Plasmonics, Optical MEMS, All optical logic
  2. Subsystems - a combination of optoelectronic devices and mixed signal electronics for metrology and instrumentation
  3. Networks - Optical communication networks, both at a physical layer and the implementation of algorithms and protocols at the service layer, and advanced encryption schemes using quantum key distribution.

There are currently 9 faculty and over 40 staff and students working on different areas in photonics. In addition to teaching laboratories, we have laboratories that focus on research in

  1. Experimental Optics
  2. Fibre Lasers
  3. Fibre Bragg Grating Fabrication
  4. Integrated Optics and Plasmonics
  5. Optical Communication and Networks