Eli Yablonovitch

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Eli Yablonovitch
Born (1946-12-15) 15 December 1946 (age 70)
Puch bei Hallein, Austria
Fields Physics, Electrical Engineering
Alma mater
Doctoral advisor Nicolaas Bloembergen
Known for

Eli Yablonovitch (born 15 December 1946) is an American physicist and engineer who, along with Sajeev John founded the field of photonic crystals in 1987.[1] He and his team were the first to create a 3-dimensional structure that exhibited a full photonic bandgap, which has been named Yablonovite. In addition to pioneering photonic crystals, he was the first to recognize that a strained quantum-well laser has a significantly reduced threshold current compared to its unstrained counterpart. This technique is now applied to the majority of semiconductor lasers fabricated throughout the world.


Yablonovitch received his B.Sc. in physics from McGill University in 1967. He went on to receive his A.M. degree in applied physics from Harvard University in 1969, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972.[2] During his post-graduate studies, Yablonovitch worked on nonlinear optics with carbon dioxide lasers.[3]


After receiving his Ph.D., Yablonovitch worked as a technical staff member at Bell Laboratories. He then became a professor of applied physics at Harvard in 1974. In 1979, he joined Exxon research center to work on photovoltaic research for solar energy.[3] While working at Exxon, Yablonovitch derived the 4n2 factor as the theoretical limit for light trapping in photovoltaics. This is now used worldwide in commercial solar cells.[2]

Yablonovitch joined Bell Laboratories in 1984, and became its director of solid-state physics research in 1991. During his time at Bell Laboratories, Yablonovitch did his pioneering work on photonic crystals.[1][3]

Yablonovitch became a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA and continued to study and develop photonic crystals and photonic bandgap materials. As of July 2007, he has joined the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences department at UC Berkeley. His other research topics include silicon photonics, quantum computing, telecommunications, and surface plasmon optics.

Yablonovitch has co-founded multiple companies related to his research interests. In 2000, he co-founded Ethertronics. Ethertronics is a cell phone antenna manufacturer that has, to date, shipped over 1 billion antennas.[3]

In 2001, Yablonovitch co-founded Luxtera, a semiconductor company that makes electro‑optical systems using silicon photonics, manufactured with CMOS processes. Luxtera is the first company with a product on the market that monolithically integrates active optics for communication with silicon-based processing.[3][4]

Yablonovitch co-founded Luminescent in 2002. Luminescent provided sophisticated mathematical optimization for use in masks for photolithography. Luminescent was acquired by Synopsys in 2012.[3]

In 2008, Yablonovitch founded Alta Devices with Harry Atwater. Alta Devices produces gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells for solar energy. In 2011, Alta broke the efficiency world record for single junction and dual junction solar cells at 1 sun illumination.[5]

He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the OSA, and the APS.

He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013 he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society.[6]

He is a recipient of Adolph Lomb Medal, the Julius Springer Prize, the R. W. Wood Prize, the W. Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, the Mountbatten Medal of the British IET, IEEE Photonics Award, the Harvey Prize, the Rank Prize, the Isaac Newton Medal,[3][7] and the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize.

See also[edit]

  • Alf Adams. Inventor of the 'Strained Quantum Laser Well'.


  1. ^ a b M.Kapoor (2013) Electromagnetic Band Gap Structures, page 58
  2. ^ a b "Eli Yablonovitch | EECS at UC Berkeley". www.eecs.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Yablonovitch, Eli. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "FIBER OPTICS: Optical transceiver goes where copper cannot". www.laserfocusworld.com. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 
  5. ^ "The Alta Story". 
  6. ^ "New Fellows 2013". Royal Society. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "2015 Isaac Newton medal of the Institute of Physics". www.iop.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08. 

External links[edit]