Pallab Bhattacharya Speaks at UC Davis

Pallab BhattacharyaThe College of Engineering at UC Davis presents a lecture by Pallab Bhattacharya at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 in 1065 Kemper Hall on the university campus. (Note corrected date, originally posted as Monday, Dec. 2, 2013.) Bhattacharya’s presentation is titled “Strong Coupling Phenomena, Polariton Lasers and Room Temperature Bose-Einstein Condensation.”

Video recording of presentation.

Pallab Bhattacharya is the Charles M. Vest Distinguished University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and the James R. Mellor Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

His teaching and research interests are in the areas of compound semiconductors, low-dimensional quantum confined systems, nanophotonics, spintronics and optoelectronic integrated circuits. He currently is working on high-speed quantum dot lasers, nitride-based visible quantum dot lasers and LEDs, nanowire heterostructures, cavity quantum electrodynamics and polariton lasers.

In the spring of 2013, Bhattacharya demonstrated how a simpler, more efficient single-photon emitter could be made using traditional semiconductor processing techniques: a development that could enhance the practicality of the advanced form of secure communications known as quantum cryptography. For this process to work, it’s necessary to encode the message — such as a bank password or a piece of military intelligence — just one photon at a time. In this manner, both sender and recipient can determine whether anyone has tampered with the message.

One month later, Bhattacharya led a group of four students in a project that successfully demonstrated the first polariton laser. Because such a laser is powered by electricity, rather than light, it is far more energy-efficient than conventional lasers. A polariton laser has the potential to be used in place of the existing lasers employed for optical communications in the wired Internet. Because of a polariton laser’s ability to modulate, the project also could make lasers useful in future developments in the consumer electronics field.

Bhattacharya is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the IEEE, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics (UK) and the Optical Society of America. His many honors and awards include the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Heinrich Welker Medal, the IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award, and the Kennedy Family Research Excellence Award. His textbook, Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices — updated in 1996 — remains a seminal reference in its field.

Bhattacharya received the M. Eng. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Sheffield, UK, in 1976 and ’78, respectively. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1983, after a short stint at Oregon State University, Corvallis. From 1981 to ’82, he also was an Invited Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland.