News

UCSB honors ECE emeritus professor Larry Coldren, a giant in EE and materials science, for his work on PICs and tunable lasers

March 22nd, 2018

photo of coldren and kroemer
Some sixty people, including UC Santa Barbara faculty colleagues, alumni, and industry partners, convened at UCSB’s Loma Pelona Center on March 16 to honor Coldren

College of Engineering Dean Rod Alferness opened the event, titled “A History of PICs (Photonic Integrated Circuits) and VCSELs (Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers),” before introducing Chancellor Henry Yang, who mentioned the following as just some of Coldren’s accomplishments.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors, and a fellow of the Optical Society of America and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was named to the latter before he even began the photonics work that would bring him worldwide renown. He spent thirteen years at Bell Labs, and came to UCSB in 1984, a move that one speaker described as “a risk he took that paid off; he saw UCSB as an up-and-coming university and wanted to help it grow.”

He spent two years as acting dean of the College of Engineering, was a co-founder of the Materials Department, and was named Fred Kavli Professor of Optoelectronics, making UCSB the first of now eighteen universities to host a Kavli Institute and named professor. He is part of the Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) at UCSB and has directed the Optoelectronics Technology Center, which he co-founded, since 1990.

Coldren has advised more than 70 PhD students, been issued more than 63 patents, and published more than a thousand papers, plus multiple book chapters and, in 1995, the seminal book Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, which has become a standard graduate-level text on the topic. His inventions have served as enabling technologies for some of the most widespread devices in the world, from iPhones to laser mice, to face recognition and fiber-optic networks. He cofounded two companies, Optical Concepts and Gore Photonics.

At the end of Chancellor Yang’s lengthy, but only partial, list of Coldren’s accomplishments, he said with a laugh, “I received one patent and it took ten years. I have no idea how Larry found the time to earn sixty-three and to do all the other things he did.”

Some 24 speakers including ECE professors Herb Kroemer, Art Gossard and John Bowers took the podium over several hours to honor Coldren’s legendary contributions.

COE News – "Honoring a Photonics Giant" (full article)

Coldren's COE Profile

Coldren's Optoelectronics Technology Center (OTC)