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Donald R. Scifres

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Biography

A laser physics business and technology visionary, Donald R. Scifres helped launch a revolution in the optical communications industry. His founding contributions to distributed feedback lasers, high power diode arrays, vertical cavity surface emitting lasers and more have consistently delivered sophisticated devices into the market.

At Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, where he worked from 1972-1983, he and his coworkers patented the pioneering distributed feedback semiconductor injection laser. It became the preferred light source for high-speed, long distance optical fiber communications.

In 1983, Dr. Scifres founded Spectra Diode Laboratories, Inc. (SDL), in San Jose, Calif., which became a leading supplier of fiber optic communications components and modules. The company's products included high-power semiconductor lasers, erbium doped fiber amplifiers, light modulators, optical performance monitors, planar lightwave circuits and high-speed electronics for powering fiber optic communications. SDL merged with JDS Uniphase Corporation in 2001, and Scifres served as co-chairman and chief strategy officer until his retirement in January 2003. He is now chairman of SDL Ventures, an investment company.

Dr. Scifres holds more than 130 patents and has published more than 300 articles and book contributions. A Fellow of the IEEE, he has been president, board member and technical committee chair of the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS). He has also been a director of the Optical Society of America (OSA), and president and director of the Lasers and Electro-Optics Manufacturers Association.

Dr. Scifres' honors include the IEEE Jack A. Morton Award, an IEEE Third Millennium Medal and the IEEE LEOS Award for Engineering Achievement. A member of the International Society for Photonics and Optical Engineering, the American Physical Society and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and Fellow of the OSA, he has also earned the Rank Prize from the Rank Foundation, the OSA's Edwin H. Land Medal and the American Physical Society's George E. Pake Prize.