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USC Professor’s Contributions to Optics and Photonics Industry Wins 2015 John Tyndall Award

The Optical Society (OSA) and the IEEE Photonics Society announced that Paul Daniel Dapkus, W. M. Keck Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Southern California, is the recipient of the 2015 John Tyndall Award, one of the most prestigious recognitions in the field of optics. Dapkus was selected for his “pioneering and sustained contributions to the development of metal organic chemical vapor deposition and high performance quantum well semiconductor lasers,” according to the organizations.

2015 John Tyndall Award Recipient: P. Daniel Dapkus, University of Southern California, USA (Photo: Business Wire)

Dapkus received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently a faculty member of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at USC. He also is the director of a DoE Energy Frontier Research Center. Prior to coming to USC, Dapkus led the group at Rockwell International that demonstrated the device utility of metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, and he served as a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.

“Dan Dapkus developed an efficient deposition process that produced high quality film, which is now widely used,” said OSA CEO Liz Rogan. “We are thrilled to honor Dan with this well-deserved award.”

Dapkus’ current research involves the study of semiconductor nanostructures for application to energy devices, photonic materials and devices, semiconductor microresonators and optoelectronic integration.

He has previously received numerous recognitions for his work. He was named an IEEE LEOS Distinguished Lecturer, awarded an IEEE LEOS Engineering Achievement Award (1995), given the IEEE David Sarnoff Technical Field Award in electronics (2001), named winner of The Optical Society’s Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award (2005), given the Heinrich Welker Award of ISCS (2009) and awarded the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research (2009). He is currently a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2004) and a Fellow of IEEE, OSA, APS and AAAS.

“The Tyndall Award was designed specifically to recognize pioneers in fiber optics technology such as Paul Daniel Dapkus,” said IEEE Photonics Society Executive Director Christopher Jannuzzi. “We are honored to offer recognition for his significant contributions to the development of vapor deposition and semiconductor lasers.”

Co-sponsored by OSA and the IEEE Photonics Society, the John Tyndall Award is named for the 19th century scientist who was the first to demonstrate the phenomenon of internal reflection. First presented in 1987, the Tyndall Award recognizes an individual who has made pioneering, highly significant, or continuing technical or leadership contributions to fiber optics technology. Corning, Inc. endows the award, a glass sculpture that represents the concept of total internal reflection. More information can be found here.

About IEEE Photonics Society (IPS)

The IEEE Photonics Society is one of the world’s leading technical communities in the field of optoelectronics and photonic materials, devices, and systems, with members and activities engaged in research, development, design, manufacture, and applications, as well as with the various other activities necessary for the useful expansion of the field. As part of this dynamic worldwide community, more than 100,000 photonics professionals actively organize, contribute to, and participate in Society technical conferences, journals and other activities covering all aspects of the field. The IEEE Photonics Society has 75+ worldwide chapters and is part of IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association. The IEEE Photonics Society (IPS) is the current name for the former IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS). Learn more at

About OFC

OFC is the largest global conference and exposition for optical communications and networking professionals. For more than 40 years, The Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition (OFC) has drawn attendees from all corners of the globe to meet and greet, teach and learn, make connections and move business forward.

OFC includes dynamic business programming, an exposition of more than 550 companies, and high impact peer-reviewed research that, combined, showcase the trends and pulse of the entire optical networking and communications industry. OFC is managed by The Optical Society (OSA) and co-sponsored by OSA, the IEEE Communications Society (IEEE/ComSoc), and the IEEE Photonics Society. OFC 2015 takes place March 22-26 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California, USA.

About OSA

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. OSA is a founding partner of the National Photonics Initiative and the 2015 International Year of Light. For more information, visit


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