Digital Pioneer Wins National Physics Prize
Larry J. Hornbeck, PhD, who invented a key technology behind high-definition television (HDTV), has been awarded the 2007-08 Prize for Industrial Applications of Physics by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) and General Motors for "his invention and pioneering innovations in both the design and manufacturing of digital micromirror devices (DMDs) integrated into metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS) technology." Hornbeck previously won an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the same invention. While working for the central research laboratories of Texas Instruments (TI) in 1987, he invented digital micromirror devices, the chip technology behind DLP, a division of TI. DMDs, which manipulate light digitally, are basically silicon chips that hold arrays of tiny mirrors on an integrated circuit. Each mirror is much smaller than a human hair and is hinge-mounted so it can tilt independently. The tilting of the mirrors allows a digital image to be processed from a digital signal because each pixel-like mirror can be switched on and off thousands of times a second to reflect light onto a screen. The first chips had thousands of tiny mirrors; now they have millions. The technology is useful for telecommunications and display, medical, printing, measurement and other applications. During his career at TI, he has also developed CCD image sensors, uncooled infrared detectors and reflective spatial light modulators including various microelectromechanical systems. He holds 33 US patents, has received numerous national and international awards and honors, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and SPIE and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. Hornbeck will receive the prize, which consists of $10,000, a travel allowance to accept the award in person and a citation, at an awards ceremony Wednesday night as part of the AVS 54th International Symposium & Exhibition, being held Oct. 14-19 in Seattle.
- A smooth, highly polished surface, for reflecting light, that may be plane or curved if wanting to focus and or magnify the image formed by the mirror. The actual reflecting surface is usually a thin coating of silver or aluminum on glass.
- The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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