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LIGHT2015 EOS photonics awards winners revealed

09 Jun 2015

Prizes for Young Women and Young Entrepreneur in Photonics will be presented at Laser WOP 2015.

The European Optical Society, together with the LIGHT2015 project, has this week announced the LIGHT2015 Award winners, the competition for which opened in March. The Young Women in Photonics Awards to honor young female scientists who have made outstanding contributions to photonics goes to Na Liu (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems) in the Fundamental category and Nathalie Vermeulen (Photonics Team, BPHOT), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)) in the Applied/Engineering category.

The winner of the Young Photonics Entrepreneur Award is Garret D. Cole (Crystalline Mirror Solutions). The awards will be presented during the World of Photonics Congress in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday 24 June.

Seppo Honkanen, President of the EOS commented, “We were delighted to receive so many outstanding applications for the Young Women in Photonics Award. With such a broad range of research areas, we decided in the end to give two awards in different categories: Fundamental and Applied/ Engineering. The large number of excellent candidates suggests that measures to attract women into photonics are having a positive effect, but we believe there is still much more to do. As a legacy of the LIGHT2015 project, the EOS will therefore plan to continue giving these awards in the future, in connection with its bi-annual EOSAM Symposium."

Young Women in Photonics Award: Fundamental Category

In the Fundamental category, the prize is awarded to Dr. Na Liu for “her seminal contribution to nanophotonics and nanoplasmonics. She established 3D stacking of plasmonic structures, enabling the manufacturing of complex plasmonic functional devices. Using this method, she realized the first 3D stereometamaterials, the first 3D analog of EIT in plasmonics, exhibiting well-modulated Fano resonances, the first single plasmonic antenna-enhanced gas sensor, the first near-IR plasmonic perfect absorber, the first plasmonic glucose sensor based on Fano resonances, the first plasmonic 3D ruler, the first 3D chiral plasmonic structure, the first 3D reconfigurable plasmonic system based on DNA assembly, and the first DNA-based plasmonic gas sensor. Her work has transformed plasmonics from a fundamental field in science into the applications realm.“

Na Liu (age 36) completed her doctorate at the University of Stuttgart. Dr Na worked as a postdoc at the University of California at Berkeley and later as a visiting professor at Rice University. She is a group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and also a full professor at University of Heidelberg.

Young Women in Photonics Award: Applied/Engineering category

In the Applied/Engineering category, Dr. Nathalie Vermeulen has been awarded for “introducing a disruptive model for the nonlinear process of Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering and employed it to conceptualize a novel cooling technique for Raman lasers. She also came up with a groundbreaking phase matching approach for on-chip nonlinear wavelength converters, enabling device manufacturing in photonic foundries with standard fabrication rules.

Today, Dr. Vermeulen impacts mid-infrared solid-state laser development, and targets next‐generation nonlinear photonic devices based on graphene.” Nathalie Vermeulen (age 33) is professor in the Brussels Photonics Team at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Her research is focused on generating light with multiple wavelengths in optical chips. In 2013 she obtained a prestigious European ERC Starting Grant, and she also became coordinator of a European FET project.

Young Entrepreneur in Photonics Award

Dr. Garret D. Cole, the Young Entrepreneur in Photonics laureate, won for “the development of a game-changing low-noise optical coating process that enables the integration of single-crystal semiconductor films onto arbitrary optical substrates, and for successful entrepreneurship through subsequently founding the high-tech start-up company Crystalline Mirror Solutions.

"High-reflectivity mirrors fabricated with his technique yield an order of magnitude reduction in thermal coating noise compared to state-of-the-art optical coatings. His technology solves a decade old roadblock in laser-based precision measurement and instrumentation.”

Garrett Cole (age 36), Co-Founder of Crystalline Mirror Solutions, obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UC Santa Barbara in 2005. Leveraging his wideranging expertise in micromechanically-tunable surface-emitting lasers, cavity optomechanical systems, and advanced microfabrication techniques, Dr. Cole co-founded CMS along with Prof. Markus Aspelmeyer in February 2012.

The LIGHT2015 awards consist of a diploma and an honorarium of €2500. In addition, special recognition to young women in Photonics will also go to Francesca Calegari (National Research Council of Italy – Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies (CNR – IFN) and Camille-Sophie Bres (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)) for their contributions to Photonics. The Award ceremony will be held in Munich during the World of Photonic Congress on Wednesday 24 June at 16:00-16:20. The winners will be announced on Tuesday 23 June within the CLEO EUROPE- EQEC 2015 Plenary Session and Awards Ceremonies.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

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