Distinguished Alumni Awards

Donald R. Scifres

Donald R. Scifres
To Donald R. Scifres for his seminal contributions to the development of the semiconductor laser and for founding and leading Spectra Diode Laboratories.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Spectra Diode Laboratories, Inc., San Jose, California

  • MS, Electrical Engineering, 1970
  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, 1972

Donald R. Scifres is universally known for his achievements in semiconductor laser research and development. He began his career at Xerox Corporation in 1972. While there, he and R. D. Burnham became famous in the semiconductor laser and quantum electronic industry for their pioneering work on various forms of semiconductor lasers, notably distributed feedback lasers, laser arrays, phase-locked lasers, and ultrahigh-power lasers. In 1983, he founded and was the first employee of Spectra Diode Laboratories, Inc., a semiconductor laser and electro-optics system manufacturer. Today, Spectra Diode Laboratories employs more than 170 people and is the leading semiconductor laser company in the United States. The firm is famous for its high-performance quantum well lasers and for manufacturing the world’s highest power semiconductor lasers.

Spectra Diode and Scifres are in the forefront of laser research and development. Scifres regularly publishes in leading journals, and he holds more than 90 U.S. patents. He was a Xerox Research Fellow in 1981, a co-recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Jack Morton Award in 1985, and received the University of Illinois E2CA2 Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991. He has served as editor of professional journals and served on technical program committees. He was elected member of the Board of Governors for the Lasers and Electro-Optics Society of IEEE and, in 1992, served as president of the society. He is a fellow of IEEE and of the Optical Society of America and a member of the American Physical Society.

Current as of 1993.