OSA Fellow Eli Yablonovitch is the Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S), a multi-University Center headquartered at Berkeley. He received his B.Sc. in physics from McGill University in 1967. Yablonovitch went on to receive his A.M. degree in applied physics from Harvard University in 1969, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972. During his post-graduate studies, Yablonovitch worked on nonlinear optics with carbon dioxide lasers.
Yablonovitch’s career has included work at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Harvard, Exxon, before joining the University of California in 2007. He also founded and co-founded several companies including Ethertronics, Inc., Luxtera, Inc., Luminescent, Inc. (now part of Synopys), and Alta Devices, Inc.
He is a pioneer in the field of optoelectronics and photonic bandgap research. The geometrical structure of the first experimentally realized Photonic bandgap, is sometimes called “Yablonovite”. He introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance – a concept that almost all semiconductor lasers now use. In photovoltaics he introduced the 4(n squared) (“Yablonovitch Limit”) light-trapping factor - used worldwide in commercial solar panels.
He has received many awards and honors including OSA’s R.W. Wood Prize and Adolf Lomb Medal, the IEEE William R. Cherry Award, the IEEE Edison Medal and the IEEE Photonics Award. He is a Fellow of OSA, APS, and IEEE, and has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London.
in 2019, he was awarded OSA's 2019 Frederic Ives Medal/Jarus W. Quinn Prize "for diverse and deep contributions to optical science including photonic crystals, strained semiconductor lasers, and new record-breaking solar cell physics.”