SPIE Member C. Kumar Patel will be inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame in May. Patel is being recognized for his invention in the 1960s of the CO2 laser, now widely used in medical, industrial, and military applications.
Patel discovered laser action in CO2 in 1963 while he was at Bell Labs, which led to the invention of CO2, CO, and spin-flip Raman lasers. He subsequently founded Pranalytica, a manufacturer of midinfrared quantum cascade laser (QCL) systems and gas sensing instruments, and is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Patel has served as a program committee member for SPIE conferences on optically based biological and chemical detection, and has published numerous papers in SPIE conference proceedings and journals. He is the author of a paper on "QCL as a game changer in mid-IR standoff military applications" to be presented at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing 2012.
Dennis Gabor, David Thompson, and Lubomyr Romankiw also will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame this year.
The posthumous recognition for Gabor notes his research in electron optics that led to the invention of holography, which has numerous applications today in scanners, imaging, data storage, art, and many other areas.
In his honor, SPIE annually awards the Dennis Gabor Award to recognize outstanding accomplishments in diffractive wavefront technologies that further the development of holography and metrology applications.
Romankiw and Thompson, recognized for their collaborative work on the invention of magnetic thin-film storage heads, have published papers on that topic in the SPIE Digital Library.
See the full list of 2012 Inventors Hall of Fame inductees.
View a SPIE.tv video interview with Kumar Patel on the development of the CO2 laser.
View the UCLA press release on Dr. Patel's induction.