Kerry Vahala receives „MPQ Distinguished Scholar“ award
„With his pioneering work on ultra-high-Q optical resonators and their nonlinear optical and optomechanical properties, Kerry Vahala has initiated a very active new field of research.“
Kerry Vahala, Professor of Applied Physics at the renowned Caltech Institute in Pasadena, California, today receives the latest edition of the „MPQ Distinguished Scholar“ certificate. He receives the award in recognition of his "pioneering scientific work in the field of nonlinear optics and photonics with microresonators". He was nominated by Professor Theodor Hänsch, Emeritus Director of the Department of Laser Spectroscopy, who presented him with the certificate for the award at the MPQ Colloquium today.
„With his pioneering work on ultra-high-Q optical resonators and their nonlinear optical and optomechanical properties, Kerry Vahala has initiated a very active new field of research.“ The long energy-storage time and small form factor of these resonators enable access to an amazingly wide range of nonlinear phenomena and the creation of laser devices with remarkable properties“, says Ted Hänsch in his laudatory speech.
During the past ten years, his laboratory has achieved phenomenal advances in the storage time of light: chip-based devices have reached quality factors near 1 billion, micro-machined crystalline devices near 100 billion. His unique microresonators are opening a multitude of opportunities for innovative research and novel applications.
The "MPQ Distinguished Scholar" award is presented to particularly outstanding scientists on the recommendation of the MPQ Board of Directors. Under the „MPQ Distinguished Scholar“ program, the laureates can spend up to six months at the institute as visiting scholar with a special honorary salary to cover travel and accomodation costs, and research, exchange, inspire and collaborate with the various scientific departments. The decision for a scholarship is based on scientific excellence.
Recently, Jelena Vučković, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Stanford University, received the award in 2019 and dedicated five months of intensive time to research and exchange with the various groups at MPQ. She has also been a member of MPQ's Scientific Advisory Board for six years. Kerry Vahala's connection to MPQ started over 20 years ago. He and Professor Hänsch first met at Caltech in 2001, and a few years later Kerry Vahala spent two summers at MPQ for research. This year he has been a guest since June and will stay until mid-December. Kerry Vahala is Ted and Ginger Jenkins Chairholder in Information Science and Technology and Head of the Applied Physics and Materials Science Department at Caltech.
“I am honored to be named an MPQ Distinguished Scholar. This opportunity has made possible a collaboration with Professor Hänsch’s research program in the group of Nathalie Picqué on frequency microcombs. It has also allowed me to continue work with Thomas Udem on a question relating to ion trap oscillators”, says Kerry Vahala about the program.