Holger Schmidt receives IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award

Holger Schmidt
Holger Schmidt (photo by C. Lagattuta)

Holger Schmidt, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Cruz, has been chosen to receive the Engineering Achievement Award of the IEEE Photonics Society.

The award recognizes Schmidt and his long-time collaborator, Aaron Hawkins at Brigham Young University, for "the invention and development of optofluidic waveguides and their applications, in particular commercialization for biomedical diagnostics."

The hollow-core optical waveguides they developed can be integrated into chips using standard silicon fabrication technology, enabling light propagation through tiny volumes of liquids on a chip. Diagnostic instruments based on these "optofluidic chips" offer the potential for a rapid, low-cost, and portable option for identifying molecular biomarkers and other disease-related bioparticles such as whole viruses.

Schmidt holds the Narinder Kapany chair in Optoelectronics and directs the W. M. Keck Nanofabrication Facility at UC Santa Cruz. He also serves as associate dean for research in the Baskin School of Engineering. His research covers a broad range in photonics and integrated optics, including optofluidic devices, atom photonics, nano-magneto-optics, and spintronic devices.

The IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award is given to recognize an exceptional engineering contribution which has had a significant impact on the development of laser or electro-optic technology or the commercial application of technology within the past 10 years. The award, which consists of an honorarium of $2,000 and a medal, will be presented at the IEEE Photonics Conference in October.

Schmidt has authored more than 400 publications, several book chapters, and co-edited the CRC Handbook of Optofluidics with Hawkins. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the Optical Society of America, and received an NSF Career Award and a Keck Futures Nanotechnology Award. He earned his M.S. in physics from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. He joined the UCSC faculty in 2001.