Engineer Holger Schmidt elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Holger Schmidt
Holger Schmidt (photo by C. Lagattuta)

Holger Schmidt, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Cruz, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Election to NAI Fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

Schmidt’s inventions include novel optical sensing technologies with applications in biomedical diagnostics. He and his collaborators developed hollow-core optical waveguides that 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.

A fellow of the IEEE and the Optical Society of America, Schmidt received the Engineering Achievement Award from the IEEE Photonics Society earlier this year.

The 2019 class of NAI fellows, representing 136 research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutes worldwide, collectively holds over 3,500 issued U.S. patents. The new fellows will be formally inducted in a ceremony at the annual meeting of the NAI in Phoenix, Arizona, in April 2020. The complete list of NAI Fellows is available on the NAI website.