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Dapkus Recognized for Pioneering Work in Nanotech

Viterbi Specialist's Quantum Well Lasers Were the First Nanoscale Designs to Have Been Used in Commercial Devices

August 01, 2005 —
The Optical Society of America (OSA) has honored the Viterbi School’s Paul Daniel Dapkus with the Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award.
  “This award is special to me because it is named after my thesis advisor,” said Dapkus, a National Academy of Engineering member who holds the W. M. Keck Chair in the Viterbi School.
USC Viterbi Dean Yannis Yortsos offered Dapkus “warm congratulations on yet one more award. This makes us all proud.”

The award honors Dapkus’ contributions to the development of quantum well laser devices.  Such devices, first demonstrated by Dapkus at Rockwell International’s Microelectronics Research and Development Center, and subsequently developed in his USC Compound Semiconductor Laboratory, have become the standard design for all semiconductor lasers including those used in fiber optic communications, CD and DVD players, laser printers, industrial high power lasers, medical treatment lasers and most recently in computer. 

P. Daniel  Dapkus
They were the first nanoscale designs to have been used in commercial optical devices, and the process Dapkus pioneered in creating them, metal organic chemical vapor deposition, is now a standard industrial technique.

Dapkus came to USC from Rockwell in 1982.  In addition to NAE membership (he was elected in 2004) he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the OSA. In 2003 he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He received the 2001 IEEE David Sarnoff Technical Field Award in Electronics for his work in photonic materials and devices. In 1992 he received the Lockheed Senior Research Award at USC School of Engineering, and in 1993 became the holder of the Keck chair. He was an IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society Distinguished Lecturer in 1993-94 and was awarded the IEEE LEOS Engineering Achievement Award in 1995.

He is the author of more than 350 papers and earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1966, 1967 and 1970.

Dapkus’ mentor, Professor Nick Holonyak, Jr., the inventor of the light-emitting diode (LED), holds the John Bardeen Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at UIUC

"OSA's awards recognize extraordinary achievements in the field of optics and photonics. Their dedication and creativity is essential to the future of our field," said OSA Executive Director Elizabeth Rogan.  OSA will bestow the awards on Dapkus and fourteen other prizewinners at presentation ceremony October 19, 2005 as part of the 15,000-member society's annual meeting in Tucson, AZ.