IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award

Established to honor an individual who has made outstanding technical contributions to photonics (broadly defined) prior to his or her 35th birthday.

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Nomination Period: July 1 – September 30

Nominators must complete a nominee submission by September 30th each year with the following:

  • Candidate contact information: Name, Affiliation, Mailing address, Email, Phone Number, Date of Birth (candidate must be under 35 years of age or younger on 30 September of year in which nomination is made)
  • Statement of a specific contribution(s) that qualify Nominee for Award, as well as other related accomplishments. (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)

  • Candidates need not be members of the IEEE or the Photonics Society.


About the Award

The IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award was established to honor an individual who has made outstanding technical contributions to photonics (broadly defined) prior to his or her 35th birthday.

Presented to: An individual

Scope: To recognize outstanding technical contributions to photonics (broadly defined) prior to the candidates 35th birthday.

Prize: A Certificate and Honorarium

Basis for judging: Candidates are rank-ordered by their qualifications and accomplishments, then discussed by recognized experts on the committee in order to arrive at a final decision.

Honoring Professor W. Alec Gambling

W Alec Gambling
Professor W. A. Gambling FRS, FREng (1926 – 2021) was one of the pioneers worldwide in the development and use of optical fiber communications. He began his research in microwave communications in the late 1950s before moving into lasers and optics in the 1960s. In 1966 he founded the renowned Optical Fiber Group at the University of Southampton and led it through to 1989 when it became the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), of which he was the first Director, from 1989 to 1996. During his distinguished career, he received numerous awards and encouraged and mentored dozens of students and young researchers from around the world and it is in his honor that this award is presented.

Introducing Our Award Honorees

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

Our Most Recent Honoree

Deep Jariwala

Lin Chang, 2023

For the development of highly nonlinear ultra-low loss photonic platforms.


Dr. Chang is an assistant professor at Peking University. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focus is on integrated photonics, particularly silicon photonics.


Dr. Chang has developed advanced heterogeneous integration technologies for silicon photonics. He has demonstrated highly nonlinear ultra-low loss photonic platforms, which enables the first fully integrated microcomb on chip, and narrowest-linewidth integrated laser. He has published more than 40 papers in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Photonics. He is the recipient of “2022 rising star of light”. His demonstration of microcombs has been selected as “Top 10 advances of fundamental science in 2020”.

View All Award Winners

Year Award Winner Description
2023 Lin Chang For the development of highly nonlinear ultra-low loss photonic platforms
2022 Deep Jariwala For breakthrough advances in optical characterization and understanding of light-matter coupling in excitonic and strongly-correlated semiconductors.
2021 Xi (Vivian) Chen For outstanding contributions to high-speed and high-capacity fiber-optic communications.
2020 Mikhail Kats For contributions in the fields of nanophotonics and optical materials, especially for metasurfaces, optics with phase-transition materials, and thermal-emission engineering.
2019 Junjie Yao For pioneering novel photo-acoustic imaging that allows probing living tissue functions at unprecedented accuracy, sensitivity, and speed.
2018 Yu Shrike Zhang For pioneering contributions in applying biophotonics to characterization of engineered tissue constructs.
2017 Hannah Joyce For significant contributions to nanowire optoelectronics and terhertz spectroscopy.
2016 Igor Aharonovich For contribution to the development of single photon emitters in wide bandgap materials.
2015 Jeremy N. Munday For pioneering contributions to plasmonic and photonic light-trapping in solar cells.
2014 Ertugrul Cubukcu For contributions to photonics beyond the diffraction limit with nanoantenna-based devices and sensors.
2013 Alexandra Boltasseva For seminal contributions to the development of metal-dielectric waveguides for integrated optics and novel approaches for realization of nanoplasmonic devices.
2012 William Green For contributions in CMOS integrable, highly scaled, Silicon Nano-Photonics, and pioneering Silicon Photonics for mid-infrared applications and non-linear-optics.
2011 Hatice Altug For contributions on nanoplasmonics and integrated nanofluidics for biological sensing and spectroscopy.
2010 Sander Lars Jansen For pioneering contributions in optical OFDM for fiber-optic transmission systems.
2009 Aydogan Ozcan For his pioneering contributions to non-destructive non-linear material characterization techniques, near-field and on-chip imaging and diagnostic systems.
2008 Jose Azana For pioneer contributions on innovative ultra-fast optical pulse processing techniques, particularly temporal self-imaging (Talbot) effects, using all-fiber grating technologies.
2007 Randy Bartels For pioneering contributions to ultrafast molecular photonics and photonic reagent control of quantum systems on an unprecedented time-scale.