Fiber optics pioneer to present at esteemed international conference

January 27th, 2014
Clemson professor Roger Stolen was selected to present at a special session titled "Pioneers of Fiber Optics" at SPIE Photonics WEST 2014, the world's leading biomedical optics, optical microelectromechanical systems, photonics and industrial laser conference and exhibition.

Stolen is a pioneer in the field of nonlinear fiber optics and a Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) faculty member.

Jointly honored with Stolen through this symposium is Don Keck, Corning scientist, and Sir David Payne, professor at the University of Southampton and director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre.

Keck led the team responsible for obtaining the first high-transparency optical fiber, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1993 and received the National Medal of Technology in 2000 from President Clinton.

Payne is the inventor of the erbium-doped fiber amplifier, which complements the fiber and permits the light to cross oceans uninterrupted. He is a member of the Royal Society and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth earlier this year.

SPIE Photonics WEST 2014 is the largest and most influential event for the laser and photonics community in North America with 20,000 attendees, two exhibitions, 1,300 exhibiting companies and a wide range of papers on biomedical optics, biophotonics, translational research, industrial lasers, optoelectronics, microfabrication, optical MEMS and more.

Selection for this "Pioneers of Fiber Optics" session at Photonics West 2014 came through a committee of 20 global experts in optical fiber.

"Dr. Stolen's invitation to present during this session is a very significant honor," said John Ballato, director and professor at COMSET. "This presentation gives Stolen, and therefore the Clemson optics community, the visibility and an added opportunity to collaborate with some of the world's decision-makers in the field of optics."

Stolen worked for Bell Labs for 30 years and was part of the team that first observed optical solitons, which are ultra-short pulses that travel great distances without dispersion. Soliton properties of optical pulses play an important role in modern high-capacity optical communication systems.

Since 1971, he has been involved in most aspects of fiber optics research, especially fiber nonlinear optics, fiber measurements, novel fibers and fiber components. He is a retired professor of electrical engineering at Virginia Tech and joined COMSET in April 2006.

Stolen received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in solid state physics from the University of California at Berkley, followed by post-doctoral work at the University of Toronto.

In 1990, he was awarded the Optical Society of America's (OSA) R.W. Wood Prize in recognition of pioneering studies in optical fibers, and in 2005 he received the Institute of Electrical Engineers/OSA John Tyndall Award for contributions that include the identification and understanding of the alteration in frequency and in the phase of light passing through a transparent optical fiber.

Stolen was also inducted into the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2009 and the National Academy of Engineering in 2011 for his contributions to fiber nonlinear optics and invention of polarization preserving fiber.

Provided by Clemson University

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