Prof. Pallab Bhattacharya to receive 2015 IEEE David Sarnoff Award

Since coming to the University in 1984, Bhattacharya has pioneered several important technological advances.

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Pallab Bhattacharya, Charles M. Vest Distinguished University Professor and James R. Mellor Professor of Engineering, was selected to receive the 2015 IEEE David Sarnoff Award, “For contributions to near-infrared and visible quantum dot lasers.” The IEEE David Sarnoff award is one of IEEE’s Technical Field Awards, which are among the highest awards given by IEEE.

Prof. Bhattacharya is an internationally renowned researcher for his research in compound semiconductor heterostructures and in quantum dot lasers and detectors, optoelectronic integrated circuits, nanophotonic and spintronic devices, visible LEDs and lasers.

Since coming to the University of Michigan in 1984, Prof. Bhattacharya has pioneered several important technological advances with his colleagues and students. These include: the epitaxy of strained semiconductors and self-organized quantum dots; the demonstration of high performance monolithically integrated multichannel photoreceivers for 1.55µm optical communication in the 1980’s; the demonstration of one of the first room temperature quantum dot lasers and the quantum dot infrared detector in the 1990’s; and key developments in semiconductor spintronics, including the first electrically pumped spin laser in the 2000’s. He also initiated research of III-nitride InGaN quantum dots, which has led to the realization of the first visible lasers with these nanostructures having very low threshold current density.


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In 2013, Prof. Bhattacharya and a small team of researchers created a near-equilibrium room temperature Bose-Einstein condensate, a scientific milestone that opens up entirely new avenues of research and is expected to lead to increasingly sensitive instrumentation and measurements (read more).



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A short time later, his group reported a GaN based dot-in-nanowire single-photon emitter that can be manufactured with traditional semiconductor processing techniques. This development has important ramifications in the area of quantum cryptography and secure communications (read more).



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He demonstrated an electrically injected polariton laser in 2013, which scientists have been trying to accomplish since the device was first proposed in 1996. The device is expected to be used in special applications, while operating with 1,000 less energy (read more).



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And earlier this year, he and his team reported the first room-temperature polariton laser that is fueled by electrical current as opposed to light (read more). The device emits UV light, which is extremely difficult to obtain from traditional semiconductor lasers.

Prof. Bhattacharya is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has received many professional honors and awards, including the Welker Medal, the John Bardeen Award, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the IEEE (EDS) Paul Rappaport Award, the IEEE (LEOS) Engineering Achievement Award, the Optical Society of America Nick Holonyak Award, the SPIE Technical Achievement Award, the Quantum Devices Award of the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors, and the IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award. At the University of Michigan, he was awarded the S. S. Attwood Award, the Ted Kennedy Family Team Excellence Award, and the Research Excellence Award from the College of Engineering, and the University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of IEEE, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics (UK), and the Optical Society of America.

Prof. Bhattacharya will be presented with the award at the 28th IEEE Photonics Conference, Reston, VA, October 4-8, 2015.

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The IEEE David Sarnoff Award, established in 1959, is presented to an individual or team in recognition of their exceptional contributions to electronics.

David Sarnoff, for whom the award was named, was Chairman and long-time employee (1919-1970) of RCA. Under Sarnoff’s leadership. RCA became one of the largest companies in the world. Among his accomplishments were establishing AM broadcasting and bringing television to the general public through the television network NBC, owned by RCA.