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IEEE Photonics Award

Presented for outstanding achievements in photonics.

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Nomination period: Jan 15

Recipient selection is administered by the Technical Field Awards Council of the IEEE Awards Board. For more information, please visit:


About the Award

Presented to: An Individual or a team of not more than three

Scope: For outstanding achievements in photonics

Prize: A bronze medal, Certificate and Cash Honorarium

Basis for judging: In the evaluation process, the following criteria are considered: outstanding discovery, significant scientific or technological advancement, important invention, impact on field, and the quality of the nomination.

Introducing Our Award Honorees

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

Our Most Recent Honoree

Kim Roberts 225x300

Kim Roberts, 2024

For leadership in the introduction and development of digital coherent signal processing for optical fiber transmission systems.
Kim Roberts pioneered approaches to high-capacity optical fiber transmission that changed the way the world talks, hears, learns, and sees. His innovations allow information to be efficiently transported, from locally to trans-oceanic, to fulfill society’s need for the connectivity that enables bandwidth-hungry applications across the business, education, healthcare, and entertainment sectors. He is best known for his transformative contributions to electronic dynamically compensated optics (eDCO) and coherent optical fiber transmission systems, both of which required the novel development and implementation of sophisticated digital signal processing (DSP) systems. The fundamental improvements he brought to optical fiber transmission continue to benefit the communications experience for billions of people who use the Internet and other optical fiber networks.

An IEEE Fellow, Roberts is Vice President of WaveLogic Science, Ciena Corporation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

View All Award Winners

Year Award Winner Citation
2023 Roel Baets For pioneering research in integrated photonics, including silicon, silicon-nitride, III-V devices, and their heterogeneous integration.
2022 Rodney S. Tucker For contributions to photonic device modelling and bridging the gap between device and system-level performance, including energy consumption.
2021 Jack Jewell For seminal and sustained contributions to the development and commercialization of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL).
2020 Christopher R. Doerr For sustained pioneering research, development, and commercialization of photonic integrated circuits and devices for telecommunications.
2019 Michal Lipson For pioneering contributions to silicon photonics.
2018 Ursula Keller For seminal contributions to ultrafast laser technology enabling important industrial applications and novel scientific breakthroughs.
2017 John Bowers For pioneering research in silicon photonics, including hybrid silicon lasers, photonic integrated circuits, and ultra-lowloss waveguides.
2016 Mark E. Thompson For scientific and technical leadership in the conception, demonstration, and development of phosphorescent materials in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
2015 Philip St. John Russell For pioneering contributions to the conception and realization of photonic crystal fibers.
2014 James G. Fujimoto For pioneering the development and commercialization of optical coherence tomography for medical diagnostics.
2013 Peter F. Moulton For the discovery of the Ti: Sapphire laser and the development of many novel solidstate laser systems and applications.
2012 Eli Yablonovitch For pioneering contributions to photonic crystals, the photonic bandgap and photonic bandgap engineering.
2011 Amnon Yariv “For fundamental contributions to photonics science, engineering and education that have broadly impacted quantum electronics and lightwave communications.
2010 Ivan P. Kaminow For seminal contributions to electro-optic modulation, integrated optics, and semiconductor lasers, and leadership in optical telecommunications.
2009 Robert L. Byer For seminal contributions to nonlinear optics and solid-state lasers for commercial applications from precision measurement to manufacturing.
2008 Joseph C. Campbell For seminal and sustained contributions to the development of high-speed, low-noise long wavelength avalanche photodiodes.
2007 David Neil Payne For pioneering contributions to the development and commercialization of optical fiber-based technologies for communications, sensors, and high power applications.
2006 Frederick J. Leonberger For technical leadership, commercialization and practical deployment of photonic component technologies for optical communications.
2005 Rod C. Alferness For seminal contributions to enabling photonics technologies and for visionary leadership in their application to networks and systems.
2004 Tingye Li For seminal contributions to enabling photonics technologies and for visionary leadership in their application to networks and systems.