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2024 Laser Instrumentation Award Recipients Announced

Alfano Announcement

The IEEE Photonics Society is pleased to announce Robert Alfano as the recipient of the 2024 IEEE Photonics Society Laser Instrumentation Award.

For the discovery of supercontinuum light source as an enabling technology for diverse applications and tunable Cr4 and Cr3 lasers.

Robert R. Alfano is a Distinguished professor at The City College of New York of City University of New York. He earned his Ph.D. from New York University in 1972. He has published over 700 articles, has over 49,545 citations, H index of 106, 133 patents, and raised $63M in photonics research funding over the years. He has mentored 59 Ph.D. students, some of which have become major figures in science and in particular, photonics. He is a fellow of APS, IEEE, OSA and NYAS. After graduating with a BS in1963 and Master’s degree in 1964, he started his career with GT&E (now Verizon) to work in semiconductor and ultrafast optical physics fields. His greatest achievement is the discovery of the Supercontinuum and discovery of several Cr4+ and Cr+3 tunable lasers.

Prof Alfano’s research has been primarily focused on Ultrafast and steady state spectroscopy and Optical properties of materials by direct measurements of optical phonon, vibrations, spin relaxation time, hot carrier effects, inter valley scattering in semiconductors and decay routes of vibrations in organic liquids. In addition, he investigated polaritons in GaAs and polariton role in precursor propagation in random walk antennae.

In Biology, his research involved measuring primary events vision and photosynthesis under light excitation. In Biomedical optics, he contributed to the development of methods to detect cancer using Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy and two photon microscopy and methods to improve optical imaging in scattering media (tissues, fog and clouds). He introduced the concept of Ballistic and Snake-like photons propagating random scattering media with carry information.

Most recently, he explained the mechanism for higher harmonic generation (HHG) and attosecond laser pulses using universal EM Optical Kerr effect using n2 for odd HHG and n1 for even HHG frequencies.

Prof Alfano’s research projects were funded by federal agencies such as NIH, NSF, NASA, ARO, AFOSR, ONR, and major companies like Corning, Hamamatsu, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Northrop Grumman, Phillips, Clairol, Goodyear, Excel and IBM. Over the years, he directed several major research centers funded by NASA, Army Research Office, and New York State. He founded the CUNY research: Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL) in 1984 and has been its director to date.

Prof Alfano has received several awards – Coherent Award for Lifetime Achievement in Biophotonics (2002); Optical Society of America Charles Hard Townes Award (2008); SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award (2012); APS Arthur L Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2013); CCNY President’s Inaugural Award for Excellence (2013); OSA Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award (2016); Inventor of Year award (2018); and SPIE Gold Medal (2019).