OSA | Living History

Eli Yablonovitch

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 Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University. Yablonovitch’s career has included work at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Harvard, Exxon, and the University of California. He also founded and co-founded several companies.

Regarded as a Father of the Photonic BandGap concept, Yablonovitch has received many awards and honors including OSA’s R.W. Wood Prize and Adolf Lomb Medal, OSA Fellow, American Physical Society Fellow, 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.”

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.

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Document Created: 12 Feb 2019
Last Updated: 5 Jun 2020