Paul Daniel Dapkus honored with SPIE Technology Achievement Award

In a ceremony during the Opto Plenary session at SPIE Photonics West, Dr. Paul Daniel Dapkus was awarded the SPIE 2018 Technology Achievement Award

29 January 2018

Paul Daniel Dapkus receives 2018 SPIE Technology Achievement Award

Dr. Paul Daniel Dapkus receives the Technology Achievement Award from Opto Symposium Chair Connie J. Chang-Hasnain (far left), 2018 SPIE President Maryellen Giger (near left), and Opto Symposium Chair Graham T. Reed (far right), at the SPIE Photonics West Opto Plenary session

Dr. Paul Daniel Dapkus, the William M. Keck Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California, is the recipient of the 2018 Technology Achievement Award from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. The award recognizes his pioneering and sustained contributions to the development of metal organic chemical vapor deposition and high performance optoelectronic device technology.

As a technical contributor, educator and research leader, Dr. Dapkus has participated in and led seminal work in photonics that has established two of the main technology directions underlying fiber optics technology, cellular phone telephony, solar cell technology for satellite applications and many high volume commercial technologies that rely on optical components for their primary function. In industry and at USC, Dr. Dapkus led research groups that first demonstrated devices using the materials technology that is used in the manufacture of virtually all commercial semiconductor light emitting devices. Metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) was demonstrated to be a key technology for building photonic and electronic devices in this work.

"Professor Dapkus is one of the superstars in the field of optoelectronics," says Joe C. Campbell, Lucien Carr, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia. "The fields of optoelectronic devices, optical fiber technology, and fiber optic systems have experienced phenomenal growth in the past two decades. However, none of these "higher levels" on the technology tree would have been possible without the development of the material science that not only made complex multiheterojunction device structures possible but also made them manufacturable, i.e., MOCVD."  

In the late 1970's, at Rockwell International, Dr. Dapkus was the technical leader of a small group responsible for first demonstrating that high performance optical and electronic devices could be fabricated by MOCVD. Dr. Dapkus chose the directions and participated in the research that resulted in the demonstration of record performance solar cells, semiconductor lasers, high efficiency transistors and high purity materials. As part of this work and because of the unique capabilities of the MOCVD technology, he was able to collaborate with Dr. Russell Dupuis and Professor Nick Holonyak, Jr. in the demonstration of the first practical quantum well lasers and in exploring the principles of operation of these devices. This laser concept was the first application of nanotechnology in optical devices and has become the standard design for all semiconductor lasers.

"I am truly honored to receive the Technology Achievement award of SPIE," says Dr. Dapkus. "I am aware of some previous awardees and it is humbling to be in their company. Most of my career has been involved in the exploration of new photonics technology. Thus being recognized by one of the premier organizations servicing this community is very gratifying."

The award was presented to Dr. Dapkus during the Opto Plenary Session, part of SPIE Photonics West, on Monday, 29 January.

The SPIE Technology Achievement Award is presented annually for outstanding technical accomplishment in optics, electro-optics, photonic engineering, or imaging.  

About SPIE SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2017, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs.  

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