Abstract

Neocortical systems encode information in electrochemical spike timings, not just mean firing rates. Learning and memory in networks of spiking neurons is achieved by the precise timing of action potentials that induces synaptic strengthening (with excitation) or weakening (with inhibition). Inhibition should be incorporated into brain-inspired spike processing in the optical domain to enhance its information-processing capability. We demonstrate the simultaneous excitatory and inhibitory dynamics in an excitable (i.e., a pulsed) laser neuron, both numerically and experimentally. We investigate the bias strength effect, inhibitory strength effect, and excitatory and inhibitory input timing effect, based on the simulation platform of an integrated graphene excitable laser. We further corroborate these analyses with proof-of-principle experiments utilizing a fiber-based graphene excitable laser, where we introduce inhibition by directly modulating the gain of the laser. This technology may potentially open novel spike-processing functionality for future neuromorphic photonic systems.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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