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Optoelectronics & Communications

Tingye Li, laser pioneer and optical fibers expert, dies at 81

SPIE Newsroom
28 December 2012

Tingye Li, a retired AT&T Bell Labs researcher and widely regarded expert in optical fiber communications, died 27 December. He passed away after enjoying a day of skiing, one of his favorite pastimes, near his home in Colorado. He was 81.

photo from SPIE APC11

Active in SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and other professional societies, Dr. Li was one of the principal visionaries who launched and chaired the SPIE Asia-Pacific Optical Communications (APOC) symposium from its start in 2001. He is shown above (left) receiving an award at the 2011 symposium, now called the Asia Communications and Photonics (ACP) conference.

During his more-than-40-year career at Bell Laboratories, Li collaborated in developing crucial early understanding of laser cavities and subsequently made pioneering contributions to laser-based communication through optical fibers. For his work, he was among Nobel Laureates and other researchers highlighted during the 50th anniversary celebration in 2010 of the first successful demonstration of a laser.

Li was a past president of OSA as well as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica (Taiwan), and a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Tingye Li obituary from SPIE