The IEEE Photonics Society (IPS) has named Professor Siddharth Ramachandran (ECE) as one of six Distinguished Lecturers for the 2013-2014 term. The award honors individuals across the globe who have made outstanding technical, industrial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field of lasers and electro-optics. Each honoree delivers at least six lectures at Society chapters and receives a plaque at the annual IEEE Photonics Conference.
Ramachandran, who recently published a paper in the journal Science on a new fiber optic technology that offers hope of significantly increasing Internet bandwidth, is the second College of Engineering faculty member – after Professor M. Selim Ünlü (ECE, MSE) (2005) to receive the award, which has been issued since 1984.
“The list of past recipients of this award includes stalwarts in the field of optics and photonics, and so I feel fortunate, deeply honored and excited to join this list,” said Ramachandran. “I am eagerly looking forward to utilizing the resources provided by this award to visit IEEE Photonics Society chapters around the world and describe our work in optical fibers.”
Ramachandran’s research focuses on the optical physics of nonlinear guided waves, with applications to quantum and atomic optics, biomedical imaging, lasers, sensors and telecommunications. His group studies phenomena that arise when light with unconventional spatial patterns propagates in fibers. Recent achievements include the development of a new class of fiber lasers that emit light in highly complex spatial patterns called Bessel beams, which could be used to improve maritime sensing capabilities; and novel optical fibers that can stably propagate optical vortices—donut-shaped laser light beams in which the light twists like a tornado as it moves along the beam path, rather than in a straight line – potentially boosting Internet connectivity considerably.
Students in Ramachandran’s group have received noteworthy recognition for their work in related areas, including a Maiman Award Finalist at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) 2013 (Jeffrey Demas), an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (Patrick Gregg), and the President’s Award at the 2011 BU Science & Engineering Day (Nenad Bozinovic).
Ramachandran obtained his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1998. He spent the next decade in industry, working for Bell Laboratories and its spinoff, OFS Laboratories, before joining the College of Engineering faculty in 2010. Ramachandran has authored more than 200 refereed journal and conference publications; presented more than 40 invited talks, plenary lectures and tutorials; wrote three book-chapters and edited one book; and has been granted over 30 patents. For contributions to the field of fiber optics, he was named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at OFS Labs in 2003, and a fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2010. He was topical editor for Optics Letters from 2008-2011, and is now an associate editor for the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics. He also serves on several conference and grant-review committees in the field of optics and applied physics.