Laser Instrumentation Award

The IEEE Photonics Society Laser Instrumentation Award is given to recognize key contributors to the field for developments of laser-based and electro-optical instruments, which lead to the development of innovative systems enabling major new measurements or process capabilities of relevance to applications in industrial, biomedical avionic and metrology fields.

The field(s) to be considered are: classical and Self-Mixing Laser Interferometry, Optical Coherence Tomography, Digital Holography, Diffraction and Interference-based Measuring Devices like Particle Size Analyzers, Laser Interferometers, Optical Gyroscopes, and Laser Doppler Velocimeters, Measurements of distance and kinematic quantities, realized in either bulk-optics or integrated optics technologies. Measurements for the sole characterization of optical devices or fibers are not eligible.

The award may be given to an individual or group, up to three in number. Previous winners of major IEEE Medals or Field Awards for the same work are not eligible; in the case of a group award, at least one candidate must not have received a major IEEE Award for the same work. Must be an active IEEE / Photonics Society member.

The Award consists of an honorarium of $1000 and a Certificate. The presentation is made at the IEEE Photonics Conference.

2021 Honorees

2021 LIA

 Scott Diddams
University of Colorado
 Andrew 'AJ Metcalf
Air Force Research Laboratory
 Connor Fredrick
University of Colorado

For development, deployment, and operation of an electro-optic laser frequency comb that enables the most precise near-infrared astronomical Doppler spectroscopy.


Scott Diddams is a Fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and an Adjoint Professor at the University of Colorado, where he carries out experimental research in the fields of precision spectroscopy and metrology, nonlinear optics, microwave photonics and ultrafast lasers.  He received the Ph.D. degree from the University of New Mexico in 1996.  From 1996 through 2000, he did postdoctroral work at JILA, NIST and the University of Colorado.  Since 2000, Diddams has been a research physicist at NIST where he has pioneered the development of optical frequency combs and their use in optical clocks, tests of fundamental physics, novel spectroscopy in the visible and mid-infrared, and ultralow noise frequency synthesis.  In recent years, special attention has been given to infrared frequency comb sources as well as high repetition rate laser-based and microresonator frequency combs, which are being explored for applications in microwave photonics and astronomy.  Among many awards, Dr. Diddams received the Department of Commerce Gold and Silver Medals for "revolutionizing the way frequency is measured”, as well as the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), and the IEEE Rabi award. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society and a Senior Member of IEEE.

Andrew ' AJ Metcalf is a civilian research scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory. Dr. Metcalf earned his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University. He worked for two years at Harley Davidsons Product Development Center, five years at Purdue’s Ultrafast Optics and Fiber Communications Laboratory, and three years at NIST’s Time and Frequency Division in Boulder CO. Dr. Metcalf’s research has focused on the generation and manipulation of optical frequency combs to target a diverse set of applications. In 2018 he joined AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate where he led an S&T program developing Quantum technology for space applications. Dr. Metcalf now serves as the Directorates Mission Lead for all Space Communication and Position Navigation and Timing research.  Dr. Metcalf is a senior member of IEEE, a member of OSA, AIAA, and Tau Beta Pi. He has published over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, and strategic S&T documents. His awards include the 2010 UWM CEAS Deans Award, 2018 Eaton Award in Design Excellence, 2019 AFRL Space-Vehicles Civilian of the Year, and the 2020 AFRL Directors Cup Award.

Connor Fredrick is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder and works in Scott Diddams' group at NIST. His research focuses on lasers, nonlinear optics, and optical frequency combs with an emphasis on applications for precision astronomical spectroscopy.

Nomination Deadline: April 30

Nomination Requirements

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