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12 May 2020

The OSA Foundation, Coherent Inc., Announce the 2020 Recipient of The Bernard J. Couillaud Prize

Postdoctoral Researcher Bo Li Seeks to Improve Multiphoton Imaging to Advance the Study and Treatment of Neurological Diseases

WASHINGTON – The OSA Foundation (OSAF) and Coherent, Inc., are pleased to announce Bo Li, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University, USA, as the 2020 Bernard J. Couillaud Prize winner. 

The prize will be presented to Li during the all-virtual CLEO Technical Conference plenary session on Wednesday, 13 May 2020. The Couillaud Prize is a merit-based award of $25,500 USD, to support early-career OSA members with an area of focus on ultrafast photonics research and application development.

“Bo Li’s research focuses on Multiphoton Imaging, a key application of ultrafast laser technology. Multiphoton Imaging was at the very heart of products developed when Bernard was responsible for R&D at Coherent,” says Dr. Christopher Dorman OBE, Vice President and General Manager, Coherent, Inc. “Bo’s work has the potential to improve depths and speed of imaging, both critical to advances in neuroscience and disease studies.”

Li’s winning proposal addresses the development of an adaptive excitation laser source for multi-photon laser scanning microscopy. “This technology could reduce the requirement of the optical power,” Li says, “leading to a new generation of multi-photon microscopy tolls that allow deep, fast, and large-scale imaging of structure and function with cellular and subcellular resolution, and ultimately to a  better understanding of the brain.”

Established methods with high spatiotemporal resolution are limited by the potential for laser damage to living tissues, Li adds. The adaptive excitation source improves the circumstance by only illuminating the region-of-interests (e.g., neurons). The imaging speed, or field of view, is improved by the inverse of the volume fraction of the region-of-interests. In fact, the adaptive excitation source can be integrated with any existing multi-photon laser-scanning microscopy, which will enable straightforward translation of the technique to the wider imaging community.

The prize honors the memory and extraordinary contributions of Bernard J. Couillaud, a former President and CEO of Coherent, Inc. (1996-2002) who later served as chair of the board of directors (2002-2007). As a well-known mentor, friend, colleague and pillar of the photonics community, Couillaud is perhaps best-known for his contributions to laser frequency stabilization, known as the Hänsch-Couillaud method.

The 2020 Couillaud Prize will be presented, virtually, by Dr. Christoph Dorman OBE on Wednesday, 13 May 2020 at 08:30 PDT and will be available through recorded archive for on-demand viewing. Visit for registration and access instructions.

About The OSA Foundation

The OSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by the Optical Society (OSA) in 2002 to carry out charitable activities that support the society’s mission of promoting the generation, application, archiving and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics. The Foundation helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the optics and photonics community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering and business communities around the globe. The Foundation also works to secure OSA Awards and Honors program endowments. For more information, visit

About Coherent, Inc.

Founded in 1966, Coherent Inc. is one of the world’s leading providers of lasers and laser-based technology for scientific, commercial, and industrial customers. Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and is part of the Russell 1000 and Standard & Poor’s MidCap 400 Index. For more information about Coherent, visit the company's website at for product and financial updates.

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