Chuang receives Humboldt Research Award

ECE News

Bridget Maiellaro, ECE Illinois
6/17/2008

Story Highlights

  • Prof. Shun Lien Chuang received the 2008 Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists.
  • The Humboldt annually honors up to 100 scientists and scholars worldwide who are expected to continue making advancements.
  • Those who receive the award have the opportunity to contribute to a long-term research project at a research institution in Germany for up to a year. Chuang will study with Professor Dieter Bimberg, the pioneer contributor of quantum dot lasers, at Technical University in Berlin during his sabbatical in spring semester 2009.
Shun Lien Chuang
Shun Lien Chuang

Shun Lien Chuang, the Robert C. MacClinchie Distinguished Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, received a 2008 Humboldt Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists.

"The award is given to scientists for the achievements in research and teaching overall, so it?s a nice recognition," Chuang said. "The award is not just for your past accomplishments. It gives you support so you can travel to do research; it?s more about a future. I?m very happy. I feel fortunate."

The Humboldt Research Award, granted through the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, annually honors up to 100 scientists and scholars from all fields across the world who are expected to continue making advancements, according to the foundation?s Web site. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, named after the famous German naturalist and explorer, aims to promote international research cooperation. Originally created in 1860, it is a non-profit foundation that was re-established by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1953.

Those who receive the award have the opportunity to contribute to a long-term research project at a research institution in Germany for up to a year. Chuang will study with Professor Dieter Bimberg, the pioneer contributor of quantum dot lasers, at Technical University in Berlin during his sabbatical in spring semester 2009.

Chuang?s research interests include semiconductor optoelectronic devices and physics, strained quantum-well and quantum-dot lasers, and optical semiconductor amplifiers, among others. Through his research, he developed theoretical models for strained quantum-well lasers, slow light and optical wavelength conversion based on nonlinear quantum optical effects. While in Berlin, Chuang and Bimberg will work on novel nanophotonic quantum-dot devices.

"The idea is to make the smallest laser in the world. We want to be able to integrate many ultra-small lasers into one chip," Chuang said. "It?s a very challenging research topic, and there are a lot of problems to solve."

Chuang earned his bachelor?s degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1976. In 1978, he attended the Massachusetts Institution of Technology, obtaining his MS degree in 1980, Electrical Engineer degree in 1981, and Ph D in electrical engineering and computer science in 1983.

From 1978 to 1983, Chuang served as a research/teaching assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the University of Illinois in 1983. Even though he has remained at the University of Illinois for more than 25 years, Chuang has held various positions at other universities and research laboratories throughout the world. Locations include AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey; the University of Tokyo; and Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

"The good thing about being a university professor is that we have sabbatical," Chuang said. "So we get a chance to visit some of the best institutions in the world...All were very good experiences. It?s good for professors to broaden their views."

Chuang, who currently heads the Optoelectronics Research Group, is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Optical Society of America. He is the author of Physics of Optoelectronic Devices, (Wiley 1995), which is used at many universities in many countries. He has also contributed to a number of events and professional committees, including Slow and Fast Light Meetings of the Optical Society of America in 2007 and 2008, serving as an associate editor for the IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics (1997-2002) and IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology (2007- present). He has published more than 300 journal and conference papers.

Over the years, Chuang?s research and teaching skills have been recognized through a variety of awards. For instance, he received the Distinguished Lecturer Award in 2004 to 2006 and the William Sterifer Scientific Achievement Award in 2007, both from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers? Lasers and Electro-Optics Society. He also received the Engineering Excellence Award from the Optical Society of America. Chuang has also been cited in the "Incomplete List for Excellence in Teaching" more than 20 times.

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