The Optical Society Names Martin D. Dawson the 2021 Nick Holonyak Jr Award Recipient


The Optical Society is pleased to announce that Martin D. Dawson, University of Strathclyde and Fraunhofer, UK, has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Nick Holonyak Jr Award. Dawson is honored for wide-ranging contributions to the development and application of III-V semiconductor devices especially including gallium nitride micro-LEDs and optically-pumped semiconductor lasers.

Martin D. Dawson earned his B.Sc. in physics and Ph.D. in laser physics from Imperial College London, UK. He is Director of Research in the University of Strathclyde’s Institute of Photonics, which he helped establish 20 years ago. He was appointed inaugural Head of the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (F-CAP) in October 2012.

Dawson is a pioneer and visionary in both the development and application of GaN-based micro-LED technology. He introduced and has pursued the novel vision of GaN micro-LEDs for micro-display, communications and instrumentation applications, recognizing quickly the benefits of interfacing this technology to custom designed CMOS electronics and its compatibility with APDs and single-photon detectors. In 2009, he founded the micro-LED company m-LED Ltd., and sold it in 2016 to Facebook/Oculus. He is also known for his work with VECSELS and has transferred many of his VECSEL technology to industry.

He has been widely honored for his contributions, including receiving the Dennis Gabor Medal of Institute of Physics and the Aron Kressel Award of the IEEE Photonics Society, among others. He is a Fellow of OSA, IEEE, Institute of Physics, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 

Established in 1997, the Holonyak Jr. Award recognizes significant contributions to optics based on semiconductor-based optical devices and materials, including basic science and technological applications. It honors Nick Holonyak Jr.’s distinguished contributions to the field of optics through the development of semiconductor-based light-emitting diodes and semiconductor lasers. The award is endowed by SDL Ventures, LLC, and Donald and Carol Scifres.

Photo Credit: Fraunhofer UK