Michael Stephen Feld

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Michael S. Feld
Born(1940-11-11)November 11, 1940
DiedApril 10, 2010(2010-04-10) (aged 69)
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA
CitizenshipUnited States
Known forQuantum optics, single atom laser, biomedical optics
Scientific career
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA
Doctoral advisorAli Javan

Michael S. Feld (November 11, 1940 – April 10, 2010) was an American physicist, best known for his work on quantum optics as well as medical applications of lasers.


Michael S. Feld received his Ph.D. education at MIT under the guidance of laser pioneer Ali Javan. He remained at MIT throughout his career, becoming faculty member in 1968 and, since 1976, director of the MIT George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory.

He was well known in the field of quantum optics for his first observation of optical superradiance, experimental demonstrations of cavity-enhanced and cavity-suppressed spontaneous emission and the experimental demonstration of the first single atom laser. In the later part of his career he turned his attention to the field of biomedical optics, where he developed methods for in-tissue spectroscopy and imaging. Feld directed the Laser Biomedical Research Center at MIT, where he worked on fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy to measure in-vivo levels of biomarker molecules and image disease via endoscopy and optical tomography.

Prof. Feld strongly valued a scientific environment without ethnic or cultural prejudice, and many of his co-workers and Ph.D. students were from minority groups. Notably, he was the Ph.D. advisor of astronaut Ronald McNair, who died in the Challenger disaster.

Honors and awards[edit]


  • "In Memory, Michael S. Feld". Optics & Photonics News. 21 (7): 66. 2010.
  • MIT News: "Michael S. Feld, physics professor, dies at age 69"
  • K. An.; J. J. Childs; R. R. Dasari & M. S. Feld (1994). "Microlaser - A Laser with One-Atom in an Optical-Resonator". Physical Review Letters. 73 (25): 3375. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.73.3375.
  • N. Skribanowitz; I. P. Herman; J. C. MacGillivray & M. S. Feld (1973). "Observation of Dicke Superradiance in Optically Pumped HF Gas". Physical Review Letters. 30 (8): 309–312. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.30.309.
  • C. H. Holbrow (2011). "Remembering Michael Stephen Feld: Physics and Biomedicine Pioneer (1940–2010)". J. Biomed. Opt. 16: 011002. doi:10.1117/1.3535591.
  • R. R. Dasari; D. Kleppner & C. H. Holbrow (2010). "Obituaries: Michael Stephen Feld". Physics Today. 61 (11): 60. doi:10.1063/1.3518219.


In 2012, The Optical Society established the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award which recognizes individuals for their innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics, regardless of their career stage. The award will be first presented in 2013.


  1. ^ "William F. Meggers Award". Optical Society. Retrieved 8 October 2018.