Donald Ray Scifres earned his B.S. from Purdue University in 1968, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1970 and 1972, respectively.
Scifres began his career at Xerox Corporation in 1972. There, he held positions as Manager of Optoelectronics and Xerox Research Fellow. In 1983, he co-founded Spectra Diode Laboratories, Inc. (SDL), one of the fastest growing companies in the fiber optics and optoelectronics industries in the United States and manufacturer of the world’s highest power semiconductor lasers. In 2001, Scifres oversaw the largest technology merger to that time, joining SDL with JDS Uniphase Corporation, where he served as Co-Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer until his retirement in 2003. He has since founded, and is the current Chairman of SDL Ventures, LLC and SDL Capital, LP investment companies in Los Altos, California.
He holds more than 140 patents and has published more than 300 articles and book contributions, including significant papers on molecular beam epitaxy and diode laser arrays. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the IEEE and OSA. He is a past president of the IEEE Lasers Electro-Optics Society (LEOS). He has been on the Board of Directors of OSA and the Lasers and Electro-Optics Manufacturers Association (LEOMA). He has been awarded the Jack Morton Medal, the Robert Noyce Medal and the Third Millennium Medal from IEEE, and the IEEE LEOS Award for Engineering Excellence. He also received OSA’s Edward H. Land Medal, the American Physical Society George E. Pake Prize, The Rank Prize from the Rank Foundation, and the Eminent Member Award from Eta Kappa Nu National Honor Society. From IEEE and OSA, he received the 2006 John Tyndall Award.