The highly efficient photonic materials developed by Mark E. Thompson have advanced organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology from a laboratory curiosity to a booming commercial success, providing low-power, high-resolution displays for mobile devices and the newest generation of flat-panel televisions. With a previous device efficiency of only 25%, OLED performance was severely limited. During the late 1990s, Thompson overcame the limitations by introducing iridium and platinum as materials for electrophosphorescent emitters, which through further development now provide practically 100% device efficiency. Less than 10 years after Thompson’s introduction, electrophosphorescent OLEDs were commercialized and are now featured in the very popular Samsung Galaxy smartphones, among other products.
An American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and National Academy of Inventors Fellow, Thompson is a professor with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Philip Russell’s invention of photonic crystal fiber technology in 1991 opened a completely new field of research in photonics. He continues to be a leading authority in the field and has developed many key aspects of photonic crystal fiber technology, including endlessly single-mode "holey" fibers and hollow-core photonic bandgap fibers. Compared to traditional optical fiber, which is made from solid glass, photonic crystal fiber is typically microstructured with an array of hollow channels that allows tailored control of the light passing through the fiber, providing great flexibility. The fibers have found a wide range of unique applications, many of them pioneered by Prof. Russell, including broadband supercontinuum light sources, high-power fiber lasers, fiber-optic communications, scientific and medical imaging, microscopy, laser beam delivery, sensing, and pressure-tunable gas-based ultraviolet light sources.
Dr. Russell is a founding director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen, Germany and professor of physics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.
Considered the father of optical coherence tomography (OCT), James G. Fujimoto has provided the medical industry with a powerful imaging tool for diagnosis and monitoring treatment response in ophthalmology as well as intravascular and endoscopic imaging. Dr. Fujimoto’s group and collaborators are credited with the invention and development of OCT. His group has made many advances in OCT technologies including photonic sources, systems, medical devices, and signal processing. Working in collaboration with leading physicians, they performed the first studies demonstrating many of the technology’s medical imaging applications. Dr. Fujimoto was co-founder of startup companies that lead to the commercialization of OCT in ophthalmology and intravascular imaging. OCT has become the standard of care in diagnostic ophthalmology worldwide and is an emerging imaging modality in interventional cardiology as well as endoscopy. Dr. Fujimoto is a member of the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Fujimoto is the Elihu Thomson Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
Combining a technical and business career, for over 35 years Peter Moulton has worked to develop and commercialize solid state laser and nonlinear optical devices. While at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, in 1982 he invented the Ti:sapphire tunable solid state laser, which revolutionized the field of ultrafast lasers and helped enable a number of significant scientific and engineering advances. These continue, notably in the area of high-harmonic and attosecond-pulse generation. He helped found what has evolved to Q-Peak, Inc. and led a team of researchers that has transitioned many novel materials and devices out of the laboratory for use in a wide variety of applications, including science, medicine, and defense. His efforts in development of high-power visible-wavelength sources have led to a VC-funded spin-out company, Laser Light Engines, now working to enable large-screen, laser-based digital projectors. Moulton continues to innovate, concentrating now on high-power, fiber lasers and ultrafast, mid-infrared laser systems.
An IEEE Life Fellow, OSA Fellow, and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Moulton recently retired as the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Q-Peak, Inc., Bedford, MA, USA, and remains there as a Principal Scientist. He was awarded the R.W. Wood Prize from the OSA and the William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award from IEEE, both in 1997.
Considered a “father of photonic bandgaps,” Eli Yablonovitch’s pioneering contributions effectively created the new field of photonic band engineering for a variety of advanced technologies. Dr. Yablonovitch originally proposed the idea of photonic bandgaps in 1987 and was the first to successfully demonstrate a photonic crystal in 1991. Dr. Yablonovitch extended the well-known wave function theory of electronic bandgaps in solid-state physics to electromagnetic waves to create the photonic bandgap concept. He then employed an Edisonian approach to discover the first photonic bandgap, demonstrating the electromagnetic equivalent of a semiconductor. That material structure came to be known as “Yablonovite.” He demonstrated that “donors” and “acceptors” could be created within photonic crystals by intentionally introducing defects, just as in semiconductors. Prior to his photonic crystal discoveries, Dr. Yablonovitch introduced the benefit of strain, used in almost all semiconductor lasers, including telecommunications lasers, DVD players, and red laser pointers.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Yablonovitch is currently a professor with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, which is based at Berkeley.
With contributions spanning over 50 years and still continuing, Amnon Yariv’s work is at the heart of today’s high-speed optical communications systems. He recognized early the importance of optical frequency control for high-speed data transmission and developed the distributed feedback semiconductor laser, which has become the main light source for optical communication networks. With Kam Lau, he was the first to describe the physics that limit modulation speed and demonstrated modulation of semiconductor lasers at microwave frequencies. At the California Institute of Technology his group proposed and demonstrated optoelectronic integrated circuits and co-ushered the fields of phase-conjugate optics and slow light propagation in coupled resonator waveguides. He wrote the first college textbooks in quantum and optical electronics, which helped introduce these subjects as academic disciplines. He founded Ortel Corporation, which pioneered high-speed lasers now commonly used in cable television systems.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Yariv is the Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
Considered a luminary in the field of photonics, Ivan Paul Kaminow’s contributions to lightwave technology have revolutionized telecommunications. Dr. Kaminow explored electro-optic materials for high-speed modulation of optical signals and developed a titanium-diffused waveguide for lightwave communications at microwave frequencies up to 100 GHz. This modulator is the technology of choice for today’s long-distance broadband lightwave systems. He also demonstrated the distributed Bragg reflector (DBR) laser and the ridge-waveguide structure for semiconductor lasers at telecommunications wavelengths. These devices are found in many of today’s commercial lightwave systems. As a research manager at Bell Labs, Dr. Kaminow led the research in wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) optical communications. Its low cost and huge information capacity has made the commercial Internet a reality.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Kaminow is currently a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he mentors graduate students in the field.
Considered by many of his peers as a “pathfinder” in the fields of nonlinear optics and solid-state lasers, Robert L. Byer’s research and inventions have led to widespread applications of lasers in areas ranging from space science to electronics manufacturing.
Working with lasers at Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA, since 1969, his lab developed the first tunable visible color laser source, ultraviolet solid-state lasers needed for drilling very small holes in circuit boards of electronic components, and laser diode pumped monolithic ring Nd: YAG laser, which is known as the nonplanar ring oscillator (NPRO). The NPRO laser is still being manufactured today, and is used for satellite-to-satellite communications, installed in submarines for sensitive sonar applications, and in space research.
He is currently the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Applied Physics at Stanford University. An IEEE Fellow, he has written more than 500 scientific papers and holds 50 patents in this field. Dr. Byer has previously received the IEEE Quantum Electronics Award and the Optical Society of America R.W. Wood Prize.
During his four-decade career at the U.K.’s University of Southampton, David Payne has designed some of the highest power fiber lasers in the world and generated a host of fiber components in the telecoms and sensor arenas. He pioneered several key related developments, including photonics-based technologies for telecommunications, optical sensors, nanophotonics and optical materials. He also led the teams that invented the silica single-mode fiber laser and amplifier and broke the kilowatt barrier for high power fibre laser output. He was the first to use phosphorous as a core dopant to achieve numerous processing advantages and developed the erbium-doped fiber amplifier, which created a revolution in optical-fiber communications.
A Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the IEE, and the Optical Society of America, he is currently director of the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre.
Dr. Frederick J. Leonberger is acknowledged as a leader in high-performance fiber-optic communications. During his long career, he helped create many photonic component and module technologies that significantly advanced the field
While at the Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Lexington, Massachusetts, and at the United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford, Connecticut, Dr. Leonberger led the development of high-performance external modulation components in lithium niobate (LiNbO3) and semiconductors. He contributed directly to the development of Fiber Bragg Gratings, a component that stabilizes the wavelength of diode lasers, and fiber lasers, and other components in wavelength division multiplexing networks.
As general manager and co-founder of United Technologies Photonics, Bloomfield, Connecticut, he pioneered and helped commercialize the proton ion-exchange process for waveguide devices in LiNbO3. As Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of JDS Uniphase,of San Jose, California, he played a key role in the company’s strategic technology development. He currently heads his own technology advisory firm, EOvation Technologies LLC, in West Hartford, Connecticut.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Leonberger is a past president of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS) and has received the IEEE Third Millennium Medal and the LEOS IEEE Quantum Electronics Award.
Dr. Rod C. Alferness' seminal and sustained work on optical switching technology and architecture has driven the vision of fiber optics communication to reality and has been central to the now well accepted concept of optical layer networking. In his role as senior vice president of Optical Networking Research at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey, he has introduced many new optical transmission technologies now deployed in conventional and next-generation reconfigurable telecommunications networks. Dr. Alferness is world renowned for his pioneering research and early demonstrations of novel lithium niobate and indium-phosphide waveguide electro-optic and opto-electronic devices, now used in thousands of land, sea and cables light wave systems around the world. These form the foundation for most of the wavelength-division multiplexed systems today.
An IEEE Fellow, he has served as president of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society from 1996 to 1997 and as editor of the IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology.
Dr. Tingye Li's seminal contributions to lightwave technologies span more than four decades. After joining AT&T-Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey in 1957, he worked with Gardner Fox on laser resonator modes; their work has been fundamental to the theory and practice of lasers. He is a pioneering leader in lightwave system research and is credited with revolutionizing lightwave communications by advocating and leading the research on amplified wavelength-division-multiplexed transmission systems at AT&T. Dr. Li retired from AT&T in 1998, as a division manager in the Communications Infrastructure Research Laboratory, and is currently an independent consultant in lightwave technologies and systems.
An IEEE Life Fellow, he is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA). Dr. Li has received the IEEE David Sarnoff Award, the IEEE W.R.G. Baker Prize Paper Award and the OSA/IEEE John Tyndall Award.