Quantum Electronics Award

The IEEE Photonics Society Quantum Electronics Award is given to honor an individual (or group of individuals) for outstanding technical contributions to quantum electronics, either in fundamentals or applications, or both. The Award may be for a single contribution or for a distinguished series of contributions over a long period of time. The Award consists of an honorarium of $4000 and a medal. The presentation is made at the IEEE Photonics Conference. 

Please note that no candidate shall have previously received a major IEEE award for the same work.  Previous winners of a Photonics Society Career Award (Aron Kressel, Engineering Achievment, Quantum Electronics, William Streifer Scientific Achievement) are not eligible candidates for consideration of the same work. Candidates need not be members of the IEEE or the Photonics Society. 

2019 Honoree


Luigi A. Lugiato

For outstanding contributions to quantum electronics, especially the formulation of the Lugiato-Lefever equation and its impact on microresonator frequency combs.



Luigi A. Lugiato is Professor Emeritus at University of Insubria, Como, Italy. He received his PhD from the University of Milan in 1968. Later he performed his reaserch and teaching activities at University of Milan, Turin Polytechnic and University of Insubria, always in Italy. He is best known for his work on theoretical nonlinear and quantum optics, which has stimulated also important experiments in several laboratories in the world. 

On the classical side, his researches mainly concerned the phenomena of bistability and instability that arise in nonlinear media contained in optical cavities, and the effects of spontaneous formation of spatio-temporal patterns (e.g.cavity solitons) generated by the instability.

Most well known is the equation he introduced in 1987 (usually called Lugiato-Lefever equation, LLE)  as a paradigm for spontaneous optical pattern formation. The interest in the LLE  increased around the end of the first decade of the new century, because it turned out that the  LLE accurately describes the phenomenon of Kerr frequency combs in microresonators, discovered in 2007 by Kippenberg and collaborators exploiting the whispering gallery  modes activated by a cw laser injected into a high-Q microresonator filled with a Kerr medium. This technology, which offers substantial potential for miniaturization and chip-scale photonic integration, has already led to a large number of relevant applications. 

On the quantum side, Lugiato's researches have contributed to the study of non-classical states of the radiation field (squeezing). His  results contributed to the so-called ghost imaging and to the birth of a novel field which has been called Quantum Imaging, and exploits the quantum nature of light to develop new techniques for imaging and for the elaboration of information in parallel configurations.

He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, of the American Physical Society and of the European Physical Society . He has published over 340 scientific papers and co-authored a book on nonlinear optical systems. He has received several international recognitions, including the Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute, The Quantum Electronics and Optics Prize of the European Physical Society, the Max Born Award of the Optical Society of America and the Fermi Prize and Medal of the Italian Physical Society.

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