Ones to Watch
IEEE Photonics Society Awards
The Young Investigator Award honors an individual who has made
outstanding technical contributions to photonics prior to his or her
35th birthday. The 2011 Young Investigator is Hatice Altug, an
assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering
department at Boston University. She is recognized “for contributions on
nanoplasmonics and integrated nanofluidics for biological sensing and
spectroscopy.” According to the IEEE, Altug also is the recipient of an
Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, a National Science
Foundation CAREER Award and the Massachusetts Life Science Center New
The IEEE Graduate Student Fellowship Program presents 10 awards
annually to honor outstanding Photonics Society student members pursuing
graduate education within the Photonics Society field of interest. The
2010 Fellows and their areas of research are:
Mohammad S. Alfiad, Eindhoven University of Technology, digital
signal processing and 100-Gb/s Ethernet for long-haul fiber optic
Yanbo Bai, Northwestern University, high-performance quantum cascade lasers.
Koen Huybrechts, Ghent University, the realization of all-optical
flip-flop devices and all-optical signal processing using single laser
Caroline P. Lai, Columbia University, cross-layer communication,
impairment-aware architectures, and real-time performance monitoring for
next-generation optical networks.
Dimitrios Mandridis, University of Central Florida, microwave
photonics, metrology and laser development with a focus on
ultralow-noise semiconductor-based lasers at low repetition rates for
high-speed photonic analog-to-digital conversion.
Binh-Minh Nguyen, Northwestern University, theoretical properties of the novel quantum system.
Joris Roels, Ghent University, the mechanical actuation of
nanophotonic wires (and slotted waveguides) on a silicon-on-insulator
chip through attractive and repulsive optical gradient forces.
Ibrahim Murat Soganci, University of Tokyo, integrated scalable
semiconductor photonic switches and their applications in large-capacity
optical packet switching networks.
V.R. Supradeepa, Purdue University, methods to generate,
manipulate and characterize high-repetition-rate optical frequency combs
and new applications enabled by their unique properties.
Shaoliang Zhang, National University of Singapore, digital signal
processing algorithms and performance analysis for coherent optical
Carolyn Schutt, a bioengineering graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, along with labmates Michael Benchimol and Mark Hsu,
is working on a method to use highly sensitive light imaging and
focused light therapies deep inside the body to more effectively detect
and treat breast cancer. The goal is to create a smart particle contrast
agent that can bridge optical and ultrasound imaging, combining the
best features of both and rendering biological tissue effectively
transparent to light. Optical fluorescence imaging offers an alternative
to the ionizing radiation exposure resulting from traditional
– Source: IEEE
We applaud all of you who were recognized
with awards, fellowships or other prizes for your work performed between
May 2010 and June 2011. Many prizes are awarded around the world, and
although space will not allow us to list them all, here are a few
scientists who caught our eye. We think these young people are among the
ones whose work over the next decade may very well change the face of
photonics – and, because photonics is everywhere, have some impact on
the way we live and work.
Very Early Career Award
Cherry Canovan was awarded the 2011 Very Early Career Woman
Physicist of the Year prize at the Institute of Physics in London. She
is in the Mathematical Physics Group at Lancaster University in the UK
and is affiliated with the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science,
where she is working toward her doctorate creating mathematical models
for optically dispersive materials. A former journalist, she covered
science for the Times Educational Supplement and, spurred on by
stories of too few women in physics, left her job to pursue a career in
that field after the birth of her first child, according to a post on
the Institute of Physics blog.
Tom Vandervelde, assistant professor of electrical and computer
engineering at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., has been given an
early-career award from the National Science Foundation for promising
research in thermophotovoltaics. Vandervelde, the John A. and Dorothy
Adams Faculty Development Professor, will use the five-year, $400,000
prize to continue his studies on cells that convert thermal energy into
electricity. His research has implications for a new class of green
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Award
Alberto Bilenca, a researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the
Negev in Israel, was awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation to develop a fast, low-cost device to accurately diagnose
malaria without the need for blood collection in field settings.
Bilenca’s project is based on a standard cell phone camera and a red
laser pointer that can noninvasively obtain finger blood perfusion
images with excellent resolution and contrast in less than 1 s. It uses
the principles of optical polarization/speckle and cell phone technology
built into a portable probe to create images that detect malaria
pigment (hemozoin crystals) in blood as well as micro-obstructions in
the circulatory system that result from the infection.
SPIE 2011 Young Investigator
David Wegner was presented the SPIE 2011 Young Investigator
Award, sponsored by Ocean Optics Inc. of Dunedin, Fla. The award was
presented to the researcher – no more than five years out of school –
who wrote the best juried paper submitted to the “Colloidal Quantum Dots
for Biomedical Applications VI” session of the 2011 BiOS/SPIE Photonics
West conference, which was held in January. Wegner, part of a research
team at the University of Potsdam in Germany that included Daniel
Geissler and Hans-Gerd Löhmannsröben, was honored for his work as lead
author of “Time-resolved and steady-state FRET spectroscopy on
commercial biocompatible quantum dots.” Förster resonance energy
transfer (FRET) is a mechanism describing energy transfer between
chromophores. Wegner’s adviser is professor Niko Hildebrandt of
Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research in Potsdam.
Lemelson-MIT Student Prizes
Benjamin Clough, a doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute in Troy, N.Y., received the Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student
Prize for developing a method for extending the distance from which
terahertz sensors can remotely detect hidden explosives, chemicals and
other dangerous materials. Working at the Rensselaer Center for
Terahertz Research, Clough demonstrated the use of sound waves to
remotely “listen” to terahertz signals from a distance.
Zheng Guoan, a graduate student at California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, received the Lemelson-MIT Caltech Student Prize
for the development of a simple, cost-effective, high-resolution on-chip
instrument, the subpixel-resolving optofluidic microscope. Suitable for
use in biological research, the technology enables more affordable
clinical and field diagnostics, which may lead to improved diagnostics
for malaria and other blood-borne diseases in the developing world.
Hugo Geiger Prize
Georg Hackenberg of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information
Technology received a first-place Hugo Geiger Prize from Fraunhofer
Gesellschaft for developing a multitouch interface that uses a 3-D
camera system to recognize gestures down to the movements of each finger
and then processes them in real time. This represents a significant
advance in gesture recognition technology because precise hand movements
and signals play such an integral part in human gestural communication.
Hackenberg’s invention reportedly has stirred great interest in the
media and among industry partners.
Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, PhD, a professor of biomedical engineering
at Tufts University School of Engineering in Medford, Mass., and adjunct
professor of physics in the School of Arts and Sciences, has received a
fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His
laboratory has pioneered the use of silk as a material platform for
photonics, optoelectronics and high-technology applications and is
actively investigating novel applications that rely on this new
technology base. The award will support Omenetto’s efforts to
demonstrate the first implantable and fully bioresorbable optical and
electronic components that seamlessly integrate into living tissue.
- quantum dots
- Also known as QDs. Nanocrystals of semiconductor materials that fluoresce when excited by external light sources, primarily in narrow visible and near-infrared regions; they are commonly used as alternatives to organic dyes.
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