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  • Alferness Receives IEEE Photonics Award
Mar 2005
 Rod C. Alferness, senior vice president at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs Optical Networking and Photonics Research Group, received the 2005 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Photonics Award for his contributions to enabling photonics technologies and for his leadership in their application to networks and systems.
   The award, presented at OFC/NFOEC by the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, honors outstanding achievements in the field of photonics, including lasers, optical switches and other network elements that transmit signals in the form of light over optical fibers.
   Alferness has been a leader in optical switching and modulation technology and architecture throughout his career, championing a vision of optical layer networking that supports higher capacity and lower complexity for communications networks, Lucent said in a statement. "His ongoing leadership and sustained contributions to the opto-electronics field, including many novel optical transmission technologies, have been a key part of defining today's optical networks, as well as helping to define tomorrow's next generation of optical networks," it said.
   Since joining Bell Labs in 1976, after receiving a PhD in physics from the University of Michigan, Alferness has held a variety of positions, including CTO and Advanced Technology and Architecture vice president, Optical Networking Group, and head of the Bell Labs Photonics Networks Research Group.
   Among his notable achievements, Alferness invented and demonstrated a family of integrated optics devices in lithium niobate, including some of the first tunable wavelength filters and optical switch/modulators that form the basis for many of today's wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) optical networking systems. In addition, his work has resulted in the demonstration of novel waveguide electro-optical devices and circuits, widely tunable lasers and photonic switching systems.
   Alferness was a co-originator and Bell Labs' program director of the DARPA (US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)-sponsored MONET program that demonstrated the feasibility of wavelength switched optical networks in the mid-1990s.
   He has written more than 100 papers and five book chapters and was editor of the Journal of Lightwave Technology. A holder of more than 35 patents, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE and the Optical Society of America and a past president of LEOS and has served on the OSA board. He also serves on the European Conference on Optical Communication executive management committee.

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