OSA, Coherent Create Couillaud Ultrafast Photonics Award

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The Optical Society Foundation (OSAF) and laser developer Coherent Inc. recently created the Bernard J. Couillaud Prize, a merit-based award to support early-career OSA members who are engaged in ultrafast photonics research and application development.

Each award totals $20,500 with up to an additional $5,000 in travel expenses to attend an OSA scientific conference. Couillaud Prize recipients will be granted total research freedom with consideration being given to work focused on advancing basic research or efforts focused on transitioning an idea into a commercial innovation. The prize money is expected to help the recipient in her or his pursuit of the most compelling and interesting research issues in ultrafast optics.

The prize honors the contributions of laser physics pioneer Bernard J. Couillaud, who was a president and CEO of Coherent from 1996 to 2002 and later served as chairman of the company’s board of directors from 2002 to 2007. He had joined the firm in 1983 after a three-year visiting fellowship at Stanford University where he contributed to the development of the Hänsch-Couillaud technique of laser frequency stabilization. At Coherent, he was instrumental in the development of numerous dye, DPSS, and Ti:S lasers.

A native of France, Couillaud received his Ph.D. in laser physics in 1978 at the University of Bordeaux, where he helped pioneer continuous wave and pulsed dye lasers. He passed away in 2017.

Published: February 2019
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