Science & Technology

Father of the Photonic Bandgap to Speak at Utah State University

By Sydney Dahle |

Eli Yablonovitch is the father of the phototonic bandgap and a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley. He will be speaking at USU on April 25.

Renowned physicist, engineer and entrepreneur Eli Yablonovitch will visit Utah State University on April 25 for two lectures about his work in the electrical and computer engineering field.

Yablonovitch, who is currently a professor emeritus at the University of California Berkeley, will present lectures on controlling carbon intake as a solution to climate change and on physics and optimization in the engineering world. The lectures will take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, on April 25. An RSVP form can be found on this webpage. The event is open to all.

“Having Dr. Yablonovitch travel to speak to us is a great honor and a great opportunity for us to learn more about the engineering world,” said Jagath Kaluarachchi, the dean of the College of Engineering. “We are grateful to welcome him to Utah State University and look forward to hearing what he has to say.”

Yablonovitch co-founded the field of photonic crystals in 1987 and was the first to create a three-dimensional structure that showed a full photonic bandgap, also known as a Yablonovite. The photonic bandgap is a filter that increases the efficiency of lasers by stopping certain colors from passing through. He was also the first to discover a way to increase the power and efficiency of strained quantum lasers without using more electricity. This scientific breakthrough is now used in a majority of semiconductor lasers fabricated throughout the world.

In 2000, Yablonovitch co-founded Ethertronics Inc., a cell phone antenna manufacturer that has shipped over 2 billion antennas worldwide. His company Luxtera Inc., a semiconductor company that specializes in electro-optical systems, is the first company to mass produce silicon photonics at a fraction of the typical cost.

Yablonovitch also founded Luminescent Inc., which provides mathematical optimization for data used in computer chips, and Alta Devices, which produces thin-film gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells for solar energy. Alta Devices currently holds the world record for the most efficient solar panels, using single junction and dual junction solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity at a quicker pace.

In addition to his companies, Yablonovitch has received several awards, including the Benjamin Franklin award, the IEEE Edison Medal, and the Isaac Newton Medal. He was also nominated for a Nobel Prize in physics.


Sydney Dahle
Public Relations Specialist
College of Engineering


Jacob Gunther
Department Head, Faculty
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


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