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ECE Professor Dan Blumenthal receives The Optical Society of America (OSA) C.E.K. Mees Medal

February 20th, 2020

photo of dan blumenthal
Blumenthal honored with the 2020 medal for his “innovations in ultra-low-loss photonic integrated circuits and their applications”

ECE Prof. Daniel Blumenthal, who leads the Optical Communications and Photonic Integration (OCPI) Group and UCSB’s Terabit Optical Ethernet Center, was described by The Optical Society (OSA) President Stephen D. Fantone, founder and president of the Optikos Corporation, as “an excellent choice for the C.E.K. Mees Medal. He is an innovator who continues to push boundaries in the use of electronic and photonic materials.”

“This is a huge honor, not just for me but for my lab group, UCSB and the CoE, and our collaborators and colleagues,” said Blumenthal, who received the news on his birthday. “Charles Townes, who invented the laser, was a recipient.”

“We at the College of Engineering offer sincere congratulations to Dan Blumenthal upon receiving this extremely prestigious award,” said Rod Alferness, dean of the UCSB College of Engineering. “The C.E.K. Mees Medal recognizes a record of optics research that is marked not only pioneering innovation, but also by having widespread impact in diverse areas. We are deeply proud of Professor Blumenthal for his continuing contributions, and are delighted for him to receive this most-deserved recognition.”

Blumenthal’s research is focused in the areas of optical communications and optical packet switching, integrated ultra-narrow-linewidth (sub-Hz) Brillouin lasers, optical gyroscopes, highly integrated, ultra-low-loss indium photonic integrated circuits, integrated atom cooling, atomic clock photonics, nano-photonics, and microwave photonics. His UCSB lab develops new devices and system hardware to solve complex communications, transmission, switching, and signal-processing problems that are beyond the reach of current technologies. He and his colleagues have a particular focus on integrating new bench-scale functions on small chips, called photonic circuits, which are then used to build networks in ways that save energy and increase the scale of connectivity and bandwidth of data centers and the internet.

The group’s work in developing lasers characterized by having spectrally pure, ultra-stable light sources and ultra-low wave-guide losses is finding increasingly widespread application.

“The technology is becoming pervasive, which is validation of what we’ve thought for a long time and what has been one of my passions,” Blumenthal says, “that being able to put ultra-low-loss and ultra-narrow-linewidth lasers in photonic circuits on chips was the future for a wide variety of applications across a broad range of disciplines.”

The UCSB Current – “Laser Focus on the Prize” (full article)

OSA C.E.K. Mees Medal

Blumenthal's COE Profile

Blumenthal's Optical Communications and Photonic Integration (OCPI) Group