Eden recognized by Optical Society of America

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By Rick Kubetz, College of Engineering
July 31, 2007

  • Prof. J. Gary Eden was awarded the C.E.K. Mees Medal by the Optical Society of America for his contributions to ultraviolet lasers and other areas of optics and photonics.
  • Eden joined the Illinois faculty in 1979 where he has been engaged in optical research ever since.
  • Eden is the director of the Laboratory for Optical Physics and Engineering which is devoted to developing new sources and applications of coherent radiation in the spectral region below 500 nm.
J. Gary Eden
J. Gary Eden

ECE Professor J. Gary Eden has been recognized with the C.E.K. Mees Medal by the Optical Society of America (OSA), "for seminal interdisciplinary contributions to ultraviolet lasers, photochemical vapor deposition, ultrafast spectroscopy and microplasma devices, and for strengthening international collaborations in these areas of optics and photonics."

Eden received his BS in electrical engineering (high honors) from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1972, and his MS and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973 and 1976, respectively.

In 1975, he joined the Optical Sciences Division of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as a National Research Council postdoctoral associate, and from 1976 to 1979 he was a research physicist in the Laser Physics Branch. During his tenure at NRL, he made several contributions to the fields of ultraviolet and visible lasers and laser spectroscopy, including co-discovery of the KrCl excimer laser. For the demonstration of the first proton beam pumped lasers, he and several colleagues received the Research Publication Award in 1979.

Since his appointment to the Illinois faculty in 1979, he has been engaged in research in molecular and ultrafast laser spectroscopy, ultraviolet and visible lasers, photochemical vapor deposition, high intensity optical field-matter interactions, and microcavity plasma devices. He and his students have demonstrated several new lasers and optical amplifiers in the gas phase and fibers, including the first ultraviolet and violet fiber lasers.

Eden is director of the Laboratory for Optical Physics and Engineering, which is devoted to developing new sources and applications of coherent radiation in the spectral region below 500 nm. The laboratory has discovered several new lasers and amplifiers in the infrared, visible, and ultraviolet, including the first ultraviolet and violet fiber lasers, ultralow threshold, diode laser-pumped visible fiber lasers, and the diatomic CdI, CdBr, and ZnI molecular lasers in the visible and near-IR.

With his students, Eden has developed laser spectroscopic techniques which have resulted in the discovery of Rydberg series in the rare gas dimers, and the first observation of free-bound (photoassociation) spectra of thermal atomic pairs. Recent accomplishments of his research group include the generation and modulation of coherent UV by atomic wavepackets on the 100 fs time scale, and the development of microdischarge devices and arrays. For the latter, he and several colleagues were recently awarded three patents and others are pending.

At Illinois, he has served as associate vice chancellor for research, associate dean of the graduate college, and assistant dean of engineering. From 1996 to 1999, he was the James F. Towey University Scholar and, in 2000, he received the ECE Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award. He has authored more than 200 journal publications and two books, and holds 24 patents.

Eden is a Fellow of the OSA, IEEE, and the APS. He received the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS) Distinguished Service Award in 1996 and an IEEE Third Millennium medal in 2000. He was appointed a LEOS Distinguished Lecturer for 2003-2005. He is the recipient of the 2005 IEEE LEOS Aron Kressel Award. From 1996 through 2002, he served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics and, in 1998, as president of LEOS.

In 2006, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the international review journal Progress in Quantum Electronics. Recently, he was named the Fulbright-Israel Distinguished Chair in the Natural Sciences and Engineering for 2007-2008.

Founded in 1916, the Optical Society of America was organized to increase and diffuse the knowledge of optics, pure and applied; to promote the common interests of investigators of optical problems, of designers and of users of optical apparatus of all kinds; and to encourage cooperation among them. The OSA brings together optics and photonics scientists, engineers, educators, technicians and business leaders--a total membership of more than 14,000 individuals from over 81 countries.

Through its awards program, the Society honors distinguished individuals because they have shown dedication, ingenuity and perseverance in attaining the highest level of scientific achievement in their chosen fields. Most of these awards will be presented at Frontiers in Optics, OSA’s 91st Annual Meeting, in San Jose, Calif., this September.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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