Volker J. Sorger

Headshot of Volker Sorger
Associate Professor
SEH 6590 | Office hours: F: 8:30 – 10:00 am
[email protected]


Volker Sorger is an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the director of the Orthogonal Physics Enabled Nanophotonics (OPEN) Lab. His research areas include opto-electronics, nanophotonics, intelligent information processing, and photonic AI systems. Among his breakthroughs are the first micrometer-compact GHz modulator, strainoptronics photodetector, plasmon laser, and innovations such as multilevel photonic memory and photonic tensor core processor. For his work, Dr. Sorger has received multiple awards, among them are the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the AFOSR Young Investigator Award (YIP), the Hegarty Innovation Prize, and the National Academy of Sciences award of the year. Dr. Sorger is the editor-in-chief of NANOPHOTONICS, and holds the position of the OSA Division Chair for ‘Photonics and Opto-electronics, serving at the boards of OSA & SPIE. He is a senior member of IEEE, OSA & SPIE, and the founder of Optelligence LLC.


  • Ph.D., The University of California - Berkeley, 2011
  • Management of Technology, Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, 2011
  • M.A., The University of Texas, 2005
  • Photonic AI
  • Analog Photonic Accelerators
  • Nanophotonics
  • Optoelectronics

Honors (selected)

2019  PECASE - Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists & Engineers

2019  2x DURIP Awards from ARO and AFOSR

2019  SPIE Community Campion-of-the-year

2018  BEST Paper Award ‘Highest expected future impact’ at the 2018 Cognitive Computing Conference

2017  Early Career Award, Vice President for Research GWU

2017  Gold Medal, 14th US-Korea Forum on Nanotechnology

2017  Senior Member Distinction: OSA, SPIE, IEEE

2016  Early Tenure Promotion

2016  Hegarty Innovations Prize

2016  Dean’s Outstanding Research Award GWU

2014  AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award 

2014  Venture Competition Winner (2x): Clean-Tech Open South-East, and GWU Business Competition   

2014  Annual ECE Faculty Award GWU

2011  Gold Award - Material Research Society

2011  Newport Travel Grant

2010  National Academy of Sciences (NAS): Annual Paper Award

2009  OSA Emil Wolf Prize

2009  BACUS/SPIE Scholarship

2009  Finalist European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Selection (top 0.2%)

2007  Intel Corporation PhD Graduate Fellowship

2008  SPIE Scholarship

2006  Intel Corporation CTG Research Award

2005  Hölderlin Stipend

2002  German National Academic Foundation Fellow (by German President)

1998  Winner Science Competition: “Jugend-Forscht”


Editorships: Editor-in-Chief of NANOPHOTONICS (IF=7.5), Guest Editor Optics Materials Express

Leadership: Division Chair ‘Optoelectronics and Photonics’ (OSA); Technical Group Development Chair (OSA); Technical Group Chair (OSA); Symposia and Scholarship Committee (SPIE); National Photonics Initiative Task Force

Conference Chair: CLEO 2020 Neural Networks, Advanced Photonics Congress, Photonics West (3x times), Optics & Photonics (2x times), MRS Spring & Fall, OSA Incubators, SPIE PW & O&P (multiple).

Journal Reviewer: NPG, Science, ASC, IEEE, OSA, API

Honors: Senior Member Status (OSA, SPIE, IEEE). Fellow of German National Academic Foundation

  1. Plasmon Lasers at Deep Sub-Wavelength Scale Application (US Patent No. 8,509,276) - Licensed for $2,000,000 to a South Korean major electronics manufacturer.
  2. Silicon-based, Broadband, Waveguide-Integrated Electro-Optical Switch (US Patent No. 9,529,158).
  3. Hybrid Photonic Plasmonic Interconnects with Intrinsic and Extrinsic Modulation Option (US Patent No. 10,256,600).
  4. The Reconfigurable Optical Co-Processor (US Patent No. 10,318,680).
  5. All Optical Fast Fourier Transform on Chip with Heating Tunability Design, Simulation, Fabrication, and Performance Analysis. (US Patent No. 10,481,463).
  6. Plasmonic mode III-V laser as on-chip light source (US Patent No. 10,374,389) (filed jointly with IBM)
  7. Hybrid Photonic Plasmonic Non-blocking Wide Spectrum WDM On-chip Router (US Patent No. 10,564,512).
  8. Graphene –Based Plasmonic Slot Electro-Optical Modulator (US Patent No. 10,663,766).
  9. Two-Dimensional Material Printer and Transfer System and Method for Atomically Layered Materials (US Patent Appl. No. 16/121.156).
  10. Residue Arithmetic Nanophotonic System (US Patent Appl. No. 16/284.762).
  11. Image Symmetry Detection via leaky-firing Spiking Neuromorphic Networks (US Patent Appl. No. 16/266.765).
  12. Optical Convolutional Neural Network Accelerator (US Patent Appl. No. 16/507,854).
  13. Optical Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) (US Patent Appl. No. 16/439,268).
  14. Transparent Conductive Oxide-Based Mach-Zehnder Integrated Modulator in Silicon Photonics. (US Patent Appl. No. 16/545.733).
  15. Photonic Tensor Core Processor (PCT International Appl. No. PCT/US2020/028516 – not yet published).
  16. CMOS Compatible Light Emitting Tunnel Junction (LETJ) (PCT International Appl. No. PCT/US2020/032347 – not yet published).
  17. Low loss multistate Photonic Nonvolatile Memories (Provisional Appl. No. 63/026.451 - not yet published).
  18. Dual Functional Broadband On-Chip Optical Modulator Detector (Provisional Appl. No. 62/633.382 - not yet published).
  19. Strain-Engineered Integrated MoTe2 Photodetectors for High Responsivity (Provisional Appl. No. 62/938,116 - not yet published).
  20. 2D material-based Spiral Solar Cell (Provisional Appl. No. 62/146.590 - not yet published).