Li Innovation Prize (OFC)

Recognizing the top early career innovative ideas at OFC

Application Dates
29 Jul 2021 - 19 Oct 2021
Program Prize

USD 3,000

The prize is presented to an early career professional who has demonstrated innovative ideas in their accepted paper to OFC, the premier conference for lasers and electo-optics.

Application Information

How to Apply

Submit a paper to OFC and opt into the competition. Learn more on the conference website.

Important Dates

Opens: 29 July 2021
Closes 19 October 2021

Applicant Requirements
  • Have an accepted paper to OFC or a Post Deadline Paper (PDP) and must have "opted in" during the submission process
  • Be no older than the age of 39 during the calendar year the prize is given
  • Be responsible for and exhibit innovative ideas in their research
  • Agree to let the Optica Foundation use their picture, name and story in program marketing opportunities.


Application Requirements

The submitting author must opt-in to the competition during the regular paper submission process.

2021 Selection Committee

The recipient is selected by the OFC conference chairs.

2021 Recipient

Nicolas Fontaine
Nokia Bell Labs

Fontaine received the prize for demonstrating advances that can boost communication capacity and improve imaging quality in his paper “Hermite-Gaussian mode multiplexer supporting 1035 modes.”

Past Recipients

  • Julia Gessner, National Institute of Standards & Technology, USA (CLEO - 2020)
  • Di Che, Nokia Bell Labs, USA (OFC - 2020)
  • Shai Tsesses, Technion- Israel Institute of Technology, Isreal (2019)
  • Eric Numkam Fokoua, University of Southampton, UK (2019)
  • Benjamin Lee, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, USA (2018)
  • Logan G. Wright, Cornell University, USA (2018)
  • Tetsuya Hayashi, Sumitomo Electric, Japan (2017)
  • Yoshitomo Okawachi, Columbia Univ., USA (2017)
  • Marcus Seidel, Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics, Germany (2016)
  • Kohki Shibahara, NTT, Japan (2016)
  • Tae Joon Seok, University of California, Berkeley, USA (2015)
  • Antonietta De Sio, Universitat Oldenburg, Germany (2015)


This honor is endowed by Alliance Fiber Optic Products, Inc., AT&T, Optica, the IEEE Photonics Society, the IEEE Communications Society, Thorlabs, Inc., the Li family and supporters of the Tingye Li Memorial Fund.

About the Endowment

Established in 2013, the Li Innovation Prize honors the global impact Tingye Li made to laser science and optical fiber communications.