IEEE Awards Booklet - 2009 - 21

I E E E

T E C H N I C A L

F I E L D

AWA R D S

2009 IEEE David Sarnoff Award
Sponsored by Sarnoff Corporation

Yasuhiko Arakawa, Kam Yin Lau, and Kerry John Vahala
For seminal contributions to improved dynamics of quantum well semiconductor lasers
and -experimental breakthroughs have proven to have had a lasting
impact on today's Internet.

The combined work of Yasuhiko Arakawa, Kam Y. Lau, and Kerry J.
Vahala formed the basis for nearly all of today's high-speed semiconductor laser design for lightwave high-speed telecommunications,
particularly in the metropolitan and local-area arena. They not only
established the physical principles required for high-information-rate
transmission by directly modulating the lasers but also demonstrated
the underlying physics and performance benefits of electronic
quantum confinement to achieve the goal. Dr. Lau's groundbreaking
work in the early 1980s introduced the relationship between the relaxation oscillation frequency of the laser and differential optical
gain-a material design property-and verified this relationship by
operating a laser at low temperature, demonstrating that a higher
differential gain would result in an increased modulation bandwidth.
Dr. Arakawa and Dr. Vahala predicted in 1984 that quantum confinement could enhance differential gain and improve modulation speed
per Lau's findings. Subsequent work by these three proved that to be
the first experimental verification that quantum-confined lasers have
high relaxation oscillation frequencies. Their fundamental, theoretical

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Arakawa is currently the director of the Institute for
Nano Quantum Information Electronics and a professor of the Research
Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Lau is Professor Emeritus at the University of
California, Berkeley. Formerly he was founding Chief Scientist at Ortel
Corp., a leading supplier of linear fiber-optic subsystems for Hybrid
Fiber Coax (HFC) infrastructure. Ortel was acquired by Lucent in 2000.
In 1997 Dr. Lau co-found LGC Wireless Inc., an equipment supplier for
in-building wireless coverage and capacity solutions. LGC was acquired
by ADC Telecom (NASDAQ:ADCT) in 2007.
An IEEE Senior Member, Dr. Vahala is currently the Ted and Ginger
Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and professor
of applied physics at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Awards Booklet - 2009

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