IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressell Award

Recognizes contributions to opto-electronic device technology that has had a significant impact on their applications in major practical systems.

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Nomination period: Feb 1 – April 5
  • Statement of a specific technical accomplishment or contribution(s) that qualify Nominee for Award, including the impact of the work, as well as other related accomplishments; publications, patents, etc. that demonstrate the most significant impact. (Maximum of three pages)
  • Proposed Award Citation: (Word Count: 20)
  • Nominee’s curriculum vita (Maximum of three pages)
  • Endorsements: Three letters of endorsement are required.  You may enter the endorsers name and email to send an automatically generated email request, or if you have received the endorsement, you can upload directly to the system. (One page limit) 

APRIL 5, 2023

About the Award

The IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressell Award recognizes contributions to opto-electronic device technology that has had a significant impact on their applications in major practical systems.

Presented to: An individual or team, up to three in number

Scope: To recognize outstanding achievements in Opto-Electronic device technology.

Prize: A Certificate and Honorarium

Honorarium Basis for judging: In the evaluation process, the following criteria are considered: The device technology cited is to have had a significant impact on their applications in major practical systems. The intent is to recognize key contributors to the field for developments of critical components, which lead to the development of systems enabling major new services or capabilities. These achievements should have been accomplished in a prior time frame sufficient to permit evaluation of their lasting impact. The work cited could have appeared in the form of publications, patents, products, or simply general recognition by the professional community that the individual cited is the agreed upon originator of the advance upon which the award decision is based.

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Introducing Our Award Honorees

We are proud to recognize and celebrate honorees of the IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressell Award. 

Our Most Recent Honoree

Nikzad Photo IEEE DL 2019

Shouleh Nikzad, 2022

For groundbreaking contributions to detectors and photonics instruments using nanoscale engineering enabling scientific measurements in space.


Dr. Shouleh Nikzad is a JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, a Principal Engineer, and the Science Division Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. She is PI in the Advanced Detector Arrays, Systems, and Nanoscience and holds visiting and lecturer appointments at Caltech’s Physics Math, and Astronomy Division, Caltech’s Engineering and Applied Sciences Division, and previously at Cedar Sinai Medical Center’s Neurosurgery Department. Her research interests span a wide range including materials, nano-scale surface engineering, detectors, coatings, filters, instruments, and applications in planetary sciences, astrophysics, space weather, and medicine. Her work on single photon counting UV detectors has produced world record sensitivity that is enabling for NASA missions.

She is a fellow of the IEEE, American Physical Society, SPIE and National Academy of Inventors. She is a recipient of many awards and recognitions, including the 2020 NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, 2021 SPIE Meinel Technology Achievement Award, NASA-JPL Lew Allen Award of Excellence and the IEEE Photonics Distinguished Lecturer Award. Shouleh has over 200 publications and over 20 patents. She holds a PhD in Applied Physics and an MSEE both from Caltech and BSEE from USC.

View All Award Winners

YearAward WinnerCitation
2021 Hui Cao For groundbreaking contributions to experimental studies on non-conventional lasers, and for pioneering their applications in biomedical imaging, projection and cryptography.
2020 Sanjay Krishna For the first demonstration of single color and dual color nBn superlattice detectors and focal plane arrays.
2019 Luke J. Mawst For contributions to novel materials growth, fabrication and device design of semiconductor diode lasers.
2018 Rui Q. Yang For invention of the mid-infrared interband cascade laser, and its advancement along with related devices for applications.
2017 Kei-May Lau For exceptional contributions to hetero-epitaxy of highly mismatched III-V photonics devices by MOCVD.
2016 Martin D. Dawson For broad and sustained contributions to semiconductor opto-electronic engineering, including optically-pumped semiconductor lasers, diamond photonic and gallium-nitride microdevices.
2015 Silvano Donati For seminal contributions to self-mixing interferometry.
Mitsuru Sugawara
Keizo Takemasa
Kenichi Nishi
"For pioneering contributions to the development of temperature-insensitive quantum dot lasers, and their commercialization and mass-production for optical communication systems."
2013 Sarath Gunapala For pioneering contributions to the development of quantum structures based infrared detectors and imaging focal plane arrays.
2012 Bahram Jalali "For contributions to the science and technology of silicon photonics.”
2011 Ian White For contributions in the field of III-V photonic devices for data-communication transmission and routing applications.
Steven P. DenBaars
James S. Speck
For pioneering work in the development of high-efficiency nonpolar and semipolar nitride-based materials and devices for solid state lighting.
Larry Coldren
Jack Jewell
For original contributions enabling low threshold, manufacturable VCSELs
2008 Henryk Temkin For outstanding contributions and leadership in advancing opto-electronic materials and devices spanning from the infrared to the ultraviolet.
2007 Rodney S. Tucker For contributions to the modeling and analysis and applications of high-speed semiconductor lasers.
Charles Joyner
Radhakrishnan Nagarajan
Richard Schneider
In recognition of breakthrough work in the development and manufacturing of Large Scale Photonic Integrated Circuit.
2005 J. Gary Eden For sustained contributions to the development of ultraviolet coherent and incoherent sources, and to excimer lasers and microplasma devices.
Eberhard Latta
Christoph Harder
Volker Graf
For pioneering contributions to high-reliability, high-power telecommunications pump lasers.
2003 Takao Kaneda For contributions to the development and commercialization of avalanche photodiodes for optical communication systems.
2002 J. Jim Hsieh For pioneering development of 1300nm GaInAsP diode lasers for fiber optic communications application and entrepreneurial leadership.
2001 Wim Nijman For pioneering work in GaAs crystal growth for compact disc lasers and founding the Philips semiconductor laser industry.
2000 Gregory Olsen For contributions to the development and commercialization of InGaAs detectors for communications and sensing applications.