Cornell professor Michal Lipson heads a research group of a dozen EEs pursuing nanoscale photonics. The team has created silicon photonic chips that confine light in very small cavities that can slow down, enhance and otherwise manipulate the optical properties of light. These pioneering nanostructures enhance the light-matter interaction in silicon by orders of magnitude, Lipson claims, enabling a material's optical properties to be controlled externally � either electrically or with another optical signal. Lipson aims to provide the basic building blocks for electro-optical and all-optical circuits that include all necessary passive and active photonic components on a single CMOS chip. The daughter of two U.S. physicists, Lipson speaks English with a charming accent that reflects her upbringing in Brazil and Israel. She spoke recently with EE Times contributor R. Colin Johnson.