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Jeff Shainline (Fed)

Staff Scientist

Semiconductor electronics has transformed society, impacting industries including transportation, appliances, defense, and of course computing. Great potential in this technological domain remains to be realized through the integration of semiconductor devices with other components adding new physical attributes. By including photonic components, we can dramatically increase the communication bandwidth of semiconductor systems. Adding superconducting circuitry enables new sensor concepts for single-photon detection as well as information processing in the manner carried out by the brain. My research contributions are at this confluence, where semiconductors, superconductors, and photonics converge and complement each other. My team at NIST is developing large arrays of superconducting single-photon detectors employing semiconducting circuitry to read out the signals from millions of pixels to achieve high-resolution, high-frame-rate imaging sensors. Such technology aims to observe the activity of each of the 10 billion transistors on a semiconductor processor chip during operation. We are also developing brain-inspired computational hardware to create artificial neurons that compute with superconducting electronics - the fastest, most energy-efficient known circuits - and communicate with light at the single-photon level. This technology appears capable of creating computational systems with the same number of neurons and synapses as the human brain, while operating 250,000 times faster. My research mission is to develop integrated semiconductor-superconductor-photonic hardware to serve the American semiconductor industry through precision measurements and to answer fundamental questions about the physical limits of cognition.


  • J.M. Shainline, S. Khan, and B. Primavera, "Superconducting optoelectronic circuit to record photon arrival time", U.S. Provisional Patent Application serial number 63/467,534, filed May 18, 2023.

  • J.M. Shainline, A.N. McCaughan, and S. Khan, "Readout of arrays of superconducting single-photon detectors through integration with superconducting and semiconducting electronic circuits", U.S. Provisional Patent Application serial number 63/467,542, filed May 18, 2023.

  • J.M. Shainline, "Superconductor-semiconductor circuit for transducing current to charge for readout of superconductor current-storage elements", U.S. Provisional Patent Application serial number 63/467,551, filed May 18, 2023.

  • S. Khan and J.M. Shainline, "Fiber-to-chip coupler", U.S. Patent Number 11480736, Issue date: Oct. 25th, 2022.

  • J.M. Shainline, "Fluxonic processor and processing photonic synapse events", U.S. Patent Number 11468000, Issue date: Oct. 11th, 2022.

  • J.M. Shainline, A.N. McCaughan, S.W. Nam, and M. Castellanos-Beltran, "Josephson junction circuits for single-photon optoelectronic neurons and synapses", U.S. Patent Number 11283002, Issue date: March 22nd, 2022.

  • J.M. Shainline, S.M. Buckley, and S.W. Nam, "Neuromimetic circuit", U.S. Patent Number 11258415, Issue date: Feb. 22nd, 2022.

  • M.A. Popovic, J. Shainline, J.S. Orcutt and V. Stojanovic, "Depletion-mode carrier-plasma optical modulator in zero-change advanced CMOS", US Patent 10,996,538B2 (filed June 12, 2013, issued May 4, 2021). The utility is also filed as PCT application ``Optical modulator from standard fabrication processing'', WO2014201286 A1.

  • R. Meade, K. Mehta, E. Megged, J. Orcutt, M. Popovi\c, R. Ram, J. Shainline, Z. Sternberg, V. Stojanovic and O. Tehar-Zahav, "Method and optoelectronic structure providing polysilicon photonic devices with different optical properties", three patents with claims examined separately: US Patent 9,768,330 (filed on Aug 25, 2014; issued Sep 19, 2017); US Patent 10,312,388 (filed Aug 25, 2014, divisional on Aug 16, 2017, issued June 4, 2019); (filed Aug 25, 2014, divisional on Apr 19, 2019; issued Jan 26, 2021).

  • O. Tehar-Zahav, Z. Sternberg, R. Meade, E. Megged, J.S. Orcutt, J.M. Shainline, M. Popovic and V. Stojanovic, "Selective polycrystalline silicon defect-state detector formation." 

  • R. Meade, J.S. Orcutt, M. Popovic, J. Shainline, Z. Sternberg, V.M. Stojanovic and O. Tehar-Zahav, "Method and Structure Providing Front-End-of-Line and Back-End-of-Line Coupled Waveguides", US Patent 9,778,416 (filed Sep 19, 2013; issued Oct 3, 2017; MIT Case 16586JK, joint MIT-CU-Micron).

Selected Publications

Circuit designs for superconducting optoelectronic loop neurons

Jeffrey M. Shainline, Adam N. McCaughan, Jeffrey T. Chiles, Richard P. Mirin, Sae Woo Nam, Sonia M. Buckley
We present designs of superconducting optoelectronic neurons based on superconducting single- photon detectors, Josephson junctions, semiconductor light sources

Optoelectronic Intelligence

Jeff Shainline
To design and construct hardware for general intelligence, we must consider principles of both neuroscience and very-large-scale integration. For large neural


Advancing Measurement Science for Microelectronics: CHIPS R&D Metrology Program

Marla L. Dowell, Hannah Brown, Gretchen Greene, Paul D. Hale, Brian Hoskins, Sarah Hughes, Bob R. Keller, R Joseph Kline, June W. Lau, Jeff Shainline
The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 called for NIST to "carry out a microelectronics research program to enable advances and breakthroughs....that will accelerate

Demonstration of Superconducting Optoelectronic Single-Photon Synapses

Saeed Khan, Bryce Primavera, Jeff Chiles, Adam McCaughan, Sonia Buckley, Alexander Tait, Adriana Lita, John Biesecker, Anna Fox, David Olaya, Richard Mirin, Sae Woo Nam, Jeff Shainline
Superconducting optoelectronic hardware is being explored as a path towards artificial spiking neural networks with unprecedented scales of complexity and

PHIDL: Python-based layout and geometry creation for nanolithography

Adam McCaughan, Alexander N. Tait, Sonia Buckley, Jeff Chiles, Jeff Shainline, Sae Woo Nam, Dylan M. Oh
Computer-aided design (CAD) has become a critical element in the creation of nanopatterned structures and devices. In particular, with the increased adoption of

Patents (2018-Present)

Fluxonic Processor And Processing Photonic Synapse Events

NIST Inventors
Jeff Shainline
A fluxonic processor includes processes photonic synapse events and includes a transmitter that receives neuron signal and produces output photons; a neuron that receives a dendrite signal and produces the neuron signal from the dendrite signal; a dendrite that receives a synapse signal, and

Josephson Junction Circuits For Single-Photon Optoelectronic Neurons And Synapses

NIST Inventors
Jeff Shainline , Adam McCaughan and Manuel Castellanos Beltran
Single-photon optoelectronic neurons convert the optical signals of single photons to the electrical domain where summing and thresholding operations are performed. In these circuits, the photonic signals are converted to an electronic signal using a superconducting single-photon detector in

Neuromimetic Circuit

NIST Inventors
Jeff Shainline and Sonia Buckley
Optoelectronic neural networks comprise a system of interconnected processing units (neurons) interconnected by integrated photonic waveguides. The processing units receive photonic signals from other units. Each unit sums the received signals on a waveguide-integrated photon detector, and when the

Fiber-To-Chip Coupler

NIST Inventors
Jeff Shainline and Saeed Khan
A fiber-to-chip coupler includes a substrate, a waveguide on a top surface of the substrate, an optical fiber axially aligned to the waveguide, and a cap. The waveguide has a uniform region with uniform width and a tapered-waveguide region having a width that adiabatically increases from a minimum
Created February 26, 2019, Updated June 13, 2023