About me

Hi! My name is Sai Kanth, I am a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Maryland and was recently a Research Intern at Nokia Bell Labs. In 2016, I graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras with a Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.) in Engineering Physics.

My research interests lie in the broad area of photonics. Nonlinear optics, classical and quantum optical communication, orbital angular momentum (OAM) of light and multimode fibers are of specific interest to me. The intersection of fundamental optical science and modern day practical and scientific applications is one that I find fascinating.

Recent News

  • 05/2022: Looking for postdoctoral level research opportunities! Please reach out if you’re looking to hire.
  • 05/2022: Our recent work on nonlinear interactions between OAM fiber modes has been published in Optics Express!
  • 07/2021: Congressional Science Advocacy: As part of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI)’s Congressional Visits, I met with the offices of several Representatives and Senators of the U.S. Congress to advocate for increased Federal funding for optical sciences
  • 06/2021: Started my research internship at Bell Labs, working with Dr. René-Jean Essiambre!
  • 03/2021: Represented the University of Maryland at the Emory Global Health Case Competition. Watch my team’s case presentation here!
  • 01/2021: Our recent work on spatiotemporal characterization of nonlinear optical effects in few-mode fibers got published in the prestigious journal Optica!

Current Research

At the University of Maryland’s Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics (IREAP), I work with Prof. Thomas E. Murphy on experimental investigation of nonlinear optical effects in multimode fibers. At Bell Labs, I work with Dr. René-Jean Essiambre on experimental quantum optical communication. Please see my Research page for further information.


  • Design, planning and implementation of free-space and fiber optical experiments
  • Laser systems, fiber and free-space optics, imaging systems, high-speed measurements, spectroscopy, superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs)
  • Automated instrument control, data acquisition and analysis
  • Numerical simulation of guided wave optical systems using MATLAB, Python
  • Science communication and scientific writing for scientific as well as general audiences

Other Interests

I am an avid photographer and biker. I enjoy spending my free time reading, writing, cooking, painting, and playing Chess.

I consider myself a “philomath” in that I genuinely enjoy letting myself get lost learning things that are new to me, be it the nitty gritty of modern commercial aviation, the fascinating world of ancient Roman history, the complicated field of psychology and mental health, or the all-important modern financial system. One of my favorite things is to explore and delve deep into topics that interest me, and finding that things that might initially seem unrelated in fact share deep connections and parallels.

This “cross-disciplinary” (for the lack of a better term) view of the world extends into how I think about scientific research. I am a big believer and advocate in the idea of the edge effect, and I strongly believe that the best and most creative science is done when scientists working in vastly different topics are talking and interacting with each other.

You can read more about my interests here.