Thomas Krauss
University of York, United Kingdom

Awards & Distinctions


Thomas Krauss is Professor of Photonics at the University of York, UK. He received his first degree in optical engineering (Cologne, Germany) in 1989 and his Ph.D. in electrical engineering (Glasgow, UK) in 1992 for a thesis on semiconductor ring lasers. Krauss started his pioneering work in photonic crystals in 1993 and was awarded an 8-year fellowship by the Royal Society (London, UK) in 1995. He spent a year with Professors Scherer and Yablonovitch working on photonic crystal-based light emitters (Caltech, US) in 1997 and became Chair of Optoelectronics (St Andrews, UK) in 2000. Krauss was Head of School of Physics and Astronomy 2009-2012 and interim Head of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) in 2011-12. In 2012, Krauss joined the University of York to take up his current post, where he was also Research Strategy Champion “Technologies for the Future” 2015-2019.

Krauss has made major contributions to the understanding of the fundamental properties of photonic crystals and has demonstrated their main application areas. His work has enabled many others to make advances in the field; as a result, photonic crystal concepts have now become ubiquitous in the photonics toolkit and they underpin major recent developments in light-matter interaction, metasurfaces, biosensors and integrated quantum photonics. Krauss has published 340 papers in peer-reviewed journals that have been cited almost 30,000 times. He has delivered hundreds of invited, keynote and plenary lectures at major international workshops and conferences.

In recognition of his work on photonic nanostructures, he was elected to the fellowship of the Institute of Physics (2001), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2002) and the Optical Society (2009). He received a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award in 2015. He has been committee member and chairman of a number of conferences and symposia organised by IEEE, SPIE, EMRS and OSA, and has been particularly active in the community-run conference series “Photonic and Electromagnetic Crystal Structures” (PECS) since 1999, which he organised and chaired in St Andrews (2001) and York (2016). Krauss has led major EU and UK projects and is an adviser to a number of UK-based and international research consortia. He collaborates widely with industry, holds 8 patents and is on the advisory board of Optalysys Ltd., supporting them to commercialise their Fourier-optics based neuromorphic computing technology. 

Personal Statement

Optics and photonics enable a wide range of applications and underpin numerous industries. As a pioneer in photonic nanostructures, I have witnessed key developments in light emitters, data communications, quantum technologies, photovoltaics, imaging and biosensors, so I have a broad range of experience that allows me to represent the full breadth of the OSA community. In my current role as deputy editor of OSA’s flagship journal Optica, I also feel the pulse of this community on a daily basis, and am excited about supporting it even more strongly if elected as a Director-at-Large. I also have a particular passion for nurturing talent and would love to support many more junior scientists in this role.

In my 25 years of active engagement with the society, I have been fortunate to have served as reviewer and editor, as chair of numerous subcommittees and as organizer of many conferences. I have been proud to support these network-building activities that have been essential to building the vibrant OSA community we know today. We now face the challenge of nurturing this community in a post-pandemic world; junior researchers feel this challenge much more acutely than us “old folks.”

I am very keen to work with the Society to embrace new technologies that will allow us to network as effectively as before, yet with a minimal carbon footprint. For example, I have already noticed an increase in international speakers at our local seminars, demonstrating that engagement can become more international even at a time when air travel is severely restricted. We are also exploring novel tools that make virtual networking appear almost natural.

I have witnessed OSA’s exciting transformation from a U.S.-focused organization to a global society, a development I am very keen to support further. I currently have a number of active international research activities around the globe, including in Egypt, Brazil, China and Nepal, so I have a clear sense of research reality both in advanced and emerging economies. I believe that such a global and inclusive exchange of knowledge is essential for breaking down silos, bringing people together and for solving the existential challenges we are facing today.

These challenges range from climate change and water scarcity to food security and global health; we are just coming out of a pandemic that has brought the importance of accurate diagnostics to everybody’s mind. Optics and photonics can make a significant contribution to all of these issues, but only if we work as a global community and only if we fully endorse interdisciplinary thinking. Having initially trained as an optical engineer, I have spent a considerable part of my recent career learning from biologists and talking to clinicians; I therefore have firsthand experience of the importance of interdisciplinary thinking. If elected, I will enthusiastically support interdisciplinarity and ensure that it receives the recognition it deserves.