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Federico Capasso

Federico Capasso

Federico Capasso, Ph.D., is an IEEE Fellow and was one of the inventors of the quantum cascade laser. He is currently on the faculty of Harvard University.

He is internationally known for his pioneering research on band structure engineering of artificially structured semiconductors and devices, which has opened up new directions in materials research, mesoscopic physics, photonics, electronics and nanotechnology.

His current research in quantum electronics deals with the design of new light sources based on giant optical nonlinearities in quantum wells such as Raman injection lasers, inversionless injection lasers and widely tunable sources of TeraHertz radiation based on difference frequency generation and Raman lasers.

In 1994, he and his collaborators (Jerome Faist, Deborah Sivco, Carlo Sirtori, Albert Hutchinson and Alfred Cho) invented and developed the quantum cascade laser, a fundamentally new light source, which is now commercial and has potentially wide ranging applications to trace gas analysis and chemical sensing (atmospheric chemistry, combustion diagnostics, pollution monitoring, industrial process control, medical diagnostics, homeland security) and telecommunications.

Prior to his current role at Harvard University, Dr. Capasso held numerous management positions at Bell Labs, including vice president of Physical Research and head of the Quantum Phenomena and Device Research Department, and the Semiconductor Physics Research Department. He was made a Bell Labs Fellow in 1997 and was made a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in 1984. Dr. Capasso joined Bell Labs following tenure at Fondazione Ugo Bordoni Foundation in Rome, which supports scientific research and applications of telecommunications and information technology. During is tenure he conducted research in fiber optics.

Dr. Capasso was awarded the 2004 Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science by the American Physical Society, endowed by the NEC Corporation. He was the recipient of the IEEE Edison Medal that same year.

Other honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The European Academy of Sciences and honorary membership in the Franklin Institute.

He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics (UK), the Optical Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and SPIE.

He is a also recipient of the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute, the R. W. Wood prize of the Optical Society of America, the IEEE Laser and Electro-Optics Society W. Streifer Award for Scientific Achievement, the Materials Research Society Medal, the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics (UK), the Duddell Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics (UK), The Willis Lamb Medal for Laser Science and Quantum Optics, the Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Moet Hennessy and Lois Vuitton “Leonardo da Vinci” Prize (France), the Welker Memorial Medal (Germany), the New York Academy of Sciences Award, the IEEE David Sarnoff Award in Electronics and the Goff Smith prize of the University of Michigan.

Dr. Capasso has coauthored more than 300 papers, edited four volumes and holds more than 50 US patents.

Dr. Capasso received the doctor of Physics degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Rome, Italy.