Professor John Bowers receives the IPRM Award 2021

Prof. John E. Bowers receives the IPRM Award 2021, May 10, 2021

For contribution to the development of III-V/Si photonics and heterogeneous integration techniques with the pioneering demonstration of hybrid indium phosphide/Si laser.

Two UC Santa Barbara professors — Steven DenBaars(link is external) and John Bowers(link is external)  — were recognized with Compound Semiconductor Week 2021's top two awards, the ISCS Quantum Devices Award (DenBaars) and the IPRM Award (Bowers).

Integrating Photonics and Electronics
The ever growing tide of data we generate — due in large part to the proliferation of smart, internet-enabled devices and online apps and streaming services — means that the infrastructure needed to hold and move all that information has to double in speed and capacity roughly every two years to sustain high levels of performance.

Fortunately, researchers like John Bowers, a professor of electrical and cimputer engineering and of materials, have risen to the challenge of bringing light — unrivaled in speed, data capacity and energy efficiency — to our electronics and telecommunications systems. For “contributions to the development of III-V/Si photonics and heterogenous integration techniques with the pioneering demonstration of hybrid indium phosphide/Si laser,” Bowers was honored with the 2021 IPRM award by the International Conference on Indium Phosphide and Related Materials.

“We’ve been working on integration of photonics and electronics for the past 15 years, and it is very gratifying to be recognized by IPRM with this award,” said Bowers, who holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology and is director of the Institute of Energy Efficiency(link is external) at UCSB. “I’m grateful for the hard work of so many students and postdocs to make heterogenous integration of lasers and photonic integrated circuits on silicon a reality, and to Intel, Juniper and others for commercializing this research. This work is the culmination of the research efforts of Alex Fang, Herb Kroemer, Art Gossard, Pierre Petroff, Evelyn Hu and many others, and I’m very grateful to them for their ideas and collaboration ”

To take better advantage of light in our telecommunications, photonics — elements that produce, detect and modulate light — could be located on the same chip with electronic elements, allowing for a more efficient conversion between optic and electronic signals. Bowers’ work has been focused on how to merge the two technologies, in ways that are both cost-effective and manufacturing-friendly. In 2006 he demonstrated the first hybrid indium phosphide/silicon laser, bringing together the light production of indium phosphide and the waveguiding capabilities and cost-effective manufacture of silicon. IPRM called it a “groundbreaking technology” in the effort to “support the increase of transmission capacity and the reduction of cost and energy.” Bowers also developed indium arsenide quantum dot lasers grown directly on silicon, inexpensive devices that can emit a broad range of coherent wavelengths from single source.

Bowers is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society.

The IPRM Award was initiated by the IPRM conference in 1993 and initially called the Michael Lunn Award. It was renamed the IPRM Award in 2007 and has since been sponsored by the IPRM international steering committee to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Indium phosphide community.

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