Ashok Krishnamoorthy of San Diego is the first Indian to win the 2004 ICO award for his work in optoelectronics. The prize is awarded by The International Commission for Optics, a United Nations organization.
“I am very honored to be part of the growing number of people of Indian origin around the world who are making an impact on fundamental and applied science and technology,” says Krishnamoorthy.
Optoelectronics is the union of several disciplines, including traditional optics that teaches how to steer and manipulate light, as well as relatively newer fields that involve the creation, guiding, transport, and detection of light.
“The subject our team labored on was to show that optical lasers and detectors, could be intimately integrated onto electronic microchips. This opened up the possibility of combining optical technologies with superior communication capability with very-large-scale integrated electronics with superior processing capability,” explains Krishnamoorthy.
Future applications of this research include communicating large amounts of data rapidly across any system. “It is widely accepted that such research can impact how you build telecommunications and data communications equipment, and faster computers,” says Krishnamoorthy.
This award, and the research that led to it, is only one of a string of technical milestones that Krishnamoorthy and his team have achieved, including 30 U.S. patents in the field.
The next step? “The fact that optics and electronics can be intimately integrated has been proved. What needs to happen next for widespread deployment of the technology is to show that it can be very low-cost.”