MIT affiliates honored with 2023 Optica awards and medals

MIT Professor Marin Soljačić and 4 further MIT alumni — Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato PhD ’87, Turan Erdogan ’87, Harold Metcalf ’62, and Andrew Weiner ’79, SM ’81, ScD ’84 —areamong 17 recipients of the 2023 Optica Awards.

Optica, previously referred to as OSA, introduced the awards, which rejoice these within the optics and photonics discipline who’re making vital technical, analysis, training, enterprise, management, and repair accomplishments.

Soljačić ’96 acquired the Max Born Award, which acknowledges excellent contributions to bodily optics, theoretical or experimental, “for seminal contributions to the fields of plasmonics, electromagnetism, and topological photonics.”

Soljačić’s analysis focuses on optics and photonics, particularly nanophotonics and nonlinear optics, in addition to on intersections between AI and physics. His analysis on electromagnetic waves is unveiling basic rules of optical physics, akin to switches for optical computer systems and wi-fi energy transmitters. Through the use of strongly coupled magnetic resonances to wirelessly switch energy, his work could assist allow wi-fi recharging for laptop computer computer systems, cell telephones, and electrical automobiles.

His nanophotonics analysis additionally investigates tips on how to management gentle interactions with supplies which are structured on the nanometer scale. His progress on photonic crystals, which may alter the conduct of sunshine, is promising to assist enhance the effectivity of photo voltaic and thermal vitality conversion, pace up optical communications, and enhance purposes that use lasers, LEDs, and optical fibers.

Such purposes use “metamaterials” that includes nanoscale buildings product of a lattice of 1 sort of materials alternating with both a distinct materials or open house; metamaterials can for instance be designed to let sure wavelengths move via whereas reflecting or absorbing others. Such supplies can, amongst different purposes, be designed to soak up considerably extra photo voltaic vitality.

He’s additionally including arrays of wave-like ridges and different nanoscale-level configurations onto the floor of scintillating supplies, which emit gentle when bombarded with high-energy particles or X-rays, to radically increase the precision and attain of medical X-ray programs, night-vision instruments, particle detectors, and electron microscopes.

“Few scientists accomplish a lot, in so many alternative features of science, with as a lot influence as Marin has had,” says Professor Erich P. Ippen ’62, a principal investigator within the Analysis Laboratory of Electronics (RLE). “An award named after Max Born who additionally had such a broad influence is particularly becoming.”

A local of Zagreb, Croatia, Soljačić majored in physics and electrical engineering at MIT, with an undergraduate thesis on inflationary cosmology, co-written with physics professors Alan Guth and Lisa Randall. He pursued his grasp’s diploma at Princeton College, working with now-MIT Professor Frank Wilczek on gentle condensed matter idea, which research the bodily conduct of supplies akin to liquids, glasses, polymers, foams, and gels. His PhD thesis at Princeton, carried out beneath the supervision of Professor Mordechai Segev, centered on nonlinear optics.

Soljačić returned to MIT as a Pappalardo Fellow in 2000, and was a principal analysis scientist within the RLE earlier than becoming a member of the physics school in 2005. Amongst different awards, he’s a recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, the Blavatnik Nationwide Award, and the Adolph Lomb Medal. He’s a global member of the Croatian Academy of Engineering, and he acquired the Croatian President’s prime medal for Science, The Order of the Croatian Daystar, and was additionally awarded the Order of the Croatian Interlace medal. He’s additionally a founding father of WiTricity Corp., Lux Labs, and Lightelligence.

Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato PhD ’87 of the College of São Paulo – Instituto de Fisica de Sao Carlos in Brazil and a professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A&M College, acquired the Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award “for excellent contributions to the worldwide influence of optics and photonics and for selling the sector to most people worldwide.” Bagnato acquired his grasp’s diploma in physics from the College of São Paulo and his PhD in physics from MIT. He works within the fields of optics, atomic, and molecular physics with chilly atoms and biophotonics. In atomic physics, he’s a pioneer within the manufacturing of chilly atoms, and his important contributions rely on experiments with Bose-Einstein condensation, quantum turbulence, and the manufacturing of the primary atomic clock in Latin America. In biophotonics, he has made influential contributions to the usage of photodynamic motion for the therapy of most cancers and microbiological management, together with antibiotic-resistant infections. The Hopkins Management Award acknowledges a person or group who has had a major influence on the worldwide optics and photonics group, or on society as an entire stemming from non-research-oriented actions.   

Turan Erdogan ’87, the president ofPlymouth Grating Laboratory, acquired the David Richardson Medal for his contributions to the business improvement of optical elements and applied sciences “via outstanding entrepreneurship and enterprise acumen resulting in merchandise and purposes in quite a few areas together with optical fiber programs, medical optics, and femtosecond laser know-how.” Erdogan acquired his BS in physics and EECS from MIT and his PhD from the College of Rochester, and was an AT&T Bell Labs postdoc. He beforehand was website chief for Melles Griot, USA; CTO and VP of enterprise improvement for IDEX Optics and Photonics and IDEX Well being and Science; co-founded Semrock, Inc., which was acquired by IDEX; and a tenured professor at The Institute of Optics on the College of Rochester. Established in 1966, the Richardson Medal acknowledges vital contributions to optical engineering, primarily within the business and industrial sector.  

Physics alumnus Harold Metcalf ’62, a professor at Stony Brook College, acquired the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal for excellent mentorship of undergraduate college students in hands-on optics analysis, and for organizing an annual symposium for college kids to current their work in the course of the FiO/LS convention. His analysis is targeted on optical management of atomic movement, and he was one of many leaders within the earliest experiments of laser cooling and trapping. Metcalf has revealed three textbooks, together with “Laser Cooling and Trapping.”
The Beller Medal is offered for excellent contributions to training in optical science and engineering.

Purdue College Professor Andrew Weiner ’79, SM ’81, ScD ’84 acquired the Charles Hard Townes Medal for “ground-breaking work bringing optical frequency combs to the quantum world and creating progressive purposes spanning a number of fields, together with coherent management, era and line-by-line manipulation of frequency combs, and ultra-broadband radio-frequency photonics.” Weiner earned a number of EECS levels from MIT, and is the Scifres Household Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Pc Engineering at Purdue. He labored at Bellcore as a technical workers member and as supervisor of Ultrafast Optics and Optical Sign Processing Analysis. He has additionally spent sabbaticals on the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Ultrashort Pulse Spectroscopy, Germany; JILA, College of Colorado; and the Nationwide Institute of Requirements and Expertise. The Townes Medal, which acknowledges a person or group for excellent experimental or theoretical work, discovery, or invention within the discipline of quantum electronics, honors Charles Onerous Townes, whose pioneering contributions to masers and lasers led to the event of the sector of quantum electronics.


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