Faculty Profile

Yurii Vlasov

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Yurii Vlasov
Yurii Vlasov
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
1250 Micro and Nanotechnology Lab
208 N. Wright Street
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 300-1870

Administrative Titles

  • Founder Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • PhD (Physics) 1994, Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology, St.-Petersburg, Russia
  • MS (Biophysics) 1988, University of St.-Petersburg, Physics Department, Russia


Dr. Yurii Vlasov is a GEBI Founder Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is tenured with the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Bio-Engineering, as well as Carle Illinois College of Medicine. At the UIUC he established the Integrated Neurotechnology lab devoted to development of advanced engineering approaches aimed at reverse engineering of the brain circuits. The major themes include development of silicon-based nanofluidic and nanophotonic neural probes, in-vivo neurobiological experiments with massive recording and manipulation of brain activity, and, lastly, development of machine-learning algorithms to analyze large neural datasets.

Prior to joining the UIUC in 2016, Dr. Vlasov held various research and managerial positions at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in N.Y. where he led broad company-wide efforts in integrated silicon nanophotonics and more recently in neuromorphic computing architectures. He initiated the Silicon Nanophotonics project in 2001 and managed it for over 15 years from its early fundamental research stage up to commercial manufacturing of optical transceivers for large-scale datacenters and supercomputers. The technology has been fully qualified and deployed for commercial production at GlobalFoundries.

Prior to joining IBM in 2001, Dr. Vlasov developed semiconductor nanophotonics at the N.E.C. Research Institute in Princeton, N.J. and at the Strasbourg IPCMS Institute in France. For over a decade, he was also a Research Scientist with the Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology in St. Petersburg, Russia working on optics of nanostructured semiconductors. He received his M.S. from the University of St. Petersburg (1988) and Ph.D from the Ioffe Institute (1994), both in physics.

Dr. Vlasov is a Fellow of APS, IEEE, and OSA. He has published over 300 papers, filed over 100 patents, and delivered over 100 invited, plenary and tutorial talks. He received the IBM CEO Corporate Award, the ￿Best of IBM￿ Award, and several IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, as well as was named ￿Scientist of the Year￿ by the Scientific American journal. Dr. Vlasov and his work has been covered in numerous major newspapers, including New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and others. It has been featured on television news programs including The Tonight Show, ABC, CBS, etc. It has also been highlighted in review columns on Science Daily, Scientific American Journal, New Scientist, etc.

Academic Positions

  • 2007-2008 Adjunct Professor, ECE Department, Columbia University, NY
  • Courses taught: E4944, E9402

For more information

Other Professional Employment

  • 2015-2018 Senior Fellow , HHMI Janelia Research Campus, VA
  • 2015-2016 Manager, Department of Brain-Inspired Technologies, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, NY
  • 2013- 2014 Visiting Scientist, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus, VA
  • 2008- 2013 Manager,Department of Silicon Integrated Nanophotonics, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, NY
  • 2001-2008 Project Lead, Silicon Nanophotonics, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, NY
  • 2000-2001 Scientist, NEC Research Institute, Inc., Princeton NJ
  • 1998-2000 Postdoctoral Member of Staff, NEC Research Institute, Inc., Princeton NJ
  • 1996-1997 Postdoctoral Fellow, Strasbourg Institute of Materials Physics, France
  • 1994-2000 Research Scientist, Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia
  • 1988-1994 Junior Research Scientist, Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia

Professional Registrations

  • IEEE Fellow 2015
  • APS Fellow 2007
  • OSA Fellow 2006

Professional Highlights

Research Statement

We aim to uncover the basic principles of brain computations that form the basis of perception and guide complex behavior. Our vision is to integrate engineering, systems neuroscience, and data analytics to advance our knowledge of inner working of the brain. Correspondingly, the interdisciplinary projects in the lab can be categorized into three main threads: Neuro-engineering, Neuro-biology, and Neuro-informatics. Neuro-engineering is focused on developing advanced neural probes to interrogate and manipulate the brain using nanotechnology approaches. These novel tools are used in Neuro-biology experiments to record massive datasets of brain activity in live animals during active navigation in virtual reality. Development of machine learning analytical methods in Neuro-informatics thread provides insight into functionality of neural circuits and systems.

Research Interests

  • Neuroengineering, Integrated neural probes, neurophotonics, Brain-machine interface, Virtual Reality systems
  • Neurobiology, Experimental systems neuroscience, Hierarchical information processing in cortical networks
  • Neuroinformatics, Machine learning, dimensionality reduction, network dynamics

Research Areas

  • Bionanotechnology
  • Machine learning
  • Nano-photonics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Optical communications
  • Photonic integrated circuits (PICs)

Research Topics

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Google Scholar ; Total number of publications >300 including journal papers, refereed proceedings and book chapters
  • Acceleration of Deep Neural Network Training with Resistive Cross-Point Devices, Tayfun Gokmen, Yurii Vlasov; arXiv:1603.07341 [cs.LG] (2016)
  • Neural coding in barrel cortex during whisker-guided locomotion; N.Sofroniew, Y.Vlasov, S. Hires, J.Freeman, K.Svoboda; eLife 2015;4:e12559 (2015)
  • A 90nm CMOS Integrated Nano-Photonics Technology for 25Gbps WDM Optical Communications Applications, S. Assefa, S. Shank, W. Green, M. Khater, E. Kiewra, C. Reinholm, S. Kamlapurkar, A. Rylyakov, C. Schow, F. Horst, H. Pan, T. Topuria, P. Rice, D. M. Gill, J. Rosenberg, T. Barwicz, M. Yang, J. Proesel, J. Hofrichter, B. Offrein, X. Gu, W. Haensch, J. Ellis-Monaghan, and Y. Vlasov , IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, postdeadline session 33.8, IEDM Digest (2012)
  • Reinventing germanium avalanche photodetector for nanophotonic on-chip optical interconnects, S. Assefa, F. Xia, Y.A. Vlasov, Nature 464(7285), 80-84, (2010)
  • High-throughput silicon nanophotonic wavelength-insensitive switch for on-chip optical networks, Y Vlasov, WMJ Green, F Xia, Nature Photonics 2 (4), 242-246, (2008)
  • Ultra-compact, low RF power, 10 Gb/s silicon Mach-Zehnder modulator, WM Green, MJ Rooks, L Sekaric, YA Vlasov, Optics Express 15 (25), 17106-17113, (2007)
  • Ultracompact optical buffers on a silicon chip, F Xia, L Sekaric, Y Vlasov, Nature Photonics 1 (1), 65-71, (2006)
  • Active control of slow light on a chip with photonic crystal waveguides, YA Vlasov, M O'Boyle, HF Hamann, SJ McNab, Nature 438 (7064), 65-69, (2005)
  • Losses in single-mode silicon-on-insulator strip waveguides and bends, YA Vlasov, SJ McNab, Opt. Express 12 (8), 1622-1631, (2004)
  • Ultra-low loss photonic integrated circuit with membrane-type photonic crystal waveguides, S McNab, N Moll, Y Vlasov, Optics Express 11 (22), 2927-2939, (2003)
  • On-chip natural assembly of silicon photonic bandgap crystals, YA Vlasov, XZ Bo, JC Sturm, DJ Norris, Nature 414 (6861), 289-293, (2001)
  • Chemical Approaches to Three‐Dimensional Semiconductor Photonic Crystals, DJ Norris, YA Vlasov, Advanced Materials 13 (6), 371-376, (2001)
  • Synthesis of Photonic Crystals for Optical Wavelengths from Semiconductor Quantum Dots, Yu. A. Vlasov, Nan Yao, and D. J. Norris, Adv. Mater. 11, 165 (1999)
  • Existence of a photonic pseudogap for visible light in synthetic opals, YA Vlasov, VN Astratov, OZ Karimov, AA Kaplyanskii, VN Bogomolov, AV Prokofiev, Physical Review B 55 (20), 13357-13360, (1997)


  • Over 100 patents in the areas of nanophotonics, CMOS manufacturing, photonics packaging, neuromorphic devices and systems, etc. , including issued (>65) and pending (>35)

Conferences Organized or Chaired

  • General Co-Chair, Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, 2016
  • Program Co-Chair, Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference, 2015
  • Co-Founder of a novel programming area on ComputerCom in a major professional conference and industrial trade-show Optical Fiber Communications through a series of workshops (2008), special Symposia (2009, 2010) and finally a new Committee on ￿Optics for Computercom and Data Centers￿ (2011)
  • Member, Committee ￿Optical Dispersion Compensation￿, Optical Fiber Communications, 2008-2009
  • Member, Organizing Committee, Nonlinear Optics, OSA Topical, Hawaii, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Member, Organizing Committee, ￿Photonic Metamaterials: from Random to Periodic￿, OSA Topical Meeting, Jackson Hole, WA, 2007
  • Member, Advisory Committee, VII Symposium on Photonic and Electromagnetic Crystal Structures, Monterey, CA, 2007
  • Chair, Committee on ￿Fundamentals of Metamaterials, Random and Periodic Media￿, CLEO/QELS 2006
  • Member, Organizing Committee, ￿Photonic Metamaterials: from Random to Periodic￿, OSA Topical Meeting, Bahamas, 2006
  • Member, Organizing Committee, IEEE LEOS Annual Meeting, Sydney, Australia, October 2005.
  • Member, Advisory Committee, VI Symposium on Photonic and Electromagnetic Crystal Structures, NATO ASI, Crete, 2005
  • Member, Organizing Committee, Nanophotonics for Information Systems, OSA Topical, San Diego, 2005
  • Member, Organizing Committee, ￿Fundamentals of Metamaterials, Random and Periodic Media￿, CLEO/QELS 2004, 2005
  • Member, Organizing Committee, OSA Topical meeting ￿Integrated Photonics Research￿, Washington 2004.
  • Member, Organizing Committee, ￿Waves in Random and Periodic Media￿, CLEO/QELS 2003
  • Co-Chair, ￿Holey fibers and photonic crystals￿ LEOS Summer Topical Meeting 2003
  • Chair, Symposium on ￿Microphotonics ￿ Materials and Applications￿, MRS Fall Meeting 2002
  • Member, Organizing Committee, ￿Novel Optics and Photonic Crystals￿, CLEO/QELS 2000

Professional Societies

  • Led development of a novel CWDM4 proposal for the IEEE 100G Ethernet 802.3bm committee that once acquired a highest level of support on the floor. Full baseline proposal (draft clause 96) with all specifications had been prepared for final voting. Although no consensus was reached by 802.3bm, several MSA had been established following the specs of the initial IEEE CWDM4 proposal as CWDM4, CLR4 and Open Optics.

Other Outside Service

  • Reviewer, NIH ￿BRAIN￿ Initiative (2015-2016)
  • Advisor, NSF Partnership in Research and Education in Materials at the Metamaterials Research (META-PREM). Michigan, Purdue and Cornell universities. (2015-2016)
  • Advisor, The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), Columbia University (20012-2015)
  • Advisor, University of Washington, NSF Science and Technology Center on Information Technology Research (2008-2009)
  • Advisor, NSF Center for Metamaterials, Purdue University, (2006-2008)
  • Advisor, Australian Center for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems, University of Sydney (2006-2007)
  • Advisor, NNI Grand Challenges in Nanoelectronics, Committee on Nanophotonics, Arlington, (2004)
  • Advisor, DARPA Defense Sciences Research Council, ￿Beyond OEO bottleneck￿ Arlington, (2003)

Research Honors

  • Fellow, IEEE for ￿contributions to silicon integrated nanophotonics￿ (2015)
  • IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for "pioneering work in Si Photonic Switching for datacenters￿ (2015)
  • IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for ￿contributions to technologies for Exascale computing￿ (2014)
  • IBM Corporate Achievement Award for ￿Scientific Breakthroughs in Silicon Nanophotonics with Applications in Data Communications￿ (2012)
  • ￿Best of IBM￿ Award for "development of Silicon Nanophotonics technology" (2012)
  • IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for ￿Demonstration of nanophotonic communications devices and circuits￿ (2008)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society for "contributions to the understanding of the photonic nanostructures including photonic crystals and silicon nanophotonics￿ (2007)
  • Fellow, Optical Society of America for ￿outstanding contributions to photonic bandgap materials and silicon integrated nanophotonic circuits.￿ (2006)
  • IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for ￿Demonstration of Tunable Slow Light in Silicon Nanophotonics￿ (2006)
  • ￿Scientist of the Year￿, Scientific American Journal ￿New technologies that exercise extraordinary control over light￿ (2006)