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Mihaela Dinu

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Mihaela Dinu is a Principal Photonics Solutions Architect in the Optical and Photonics Systems department, Technology Innovation and Labs-NSIS, CACI International, Inc. Since 2014, while at CACI (formerly LGS Innovations), she has performed development and research in a variety of areas in photonics, from high-power fiber optical amplifiers, silicon photonics for sensing, to laser transmitters and optical systems for free-space communications. She has served in lead systems engineering and optical architect roles for programs delivering space optical communications hardware for NASA, as well as for other missions. A notable example is laser transmitter hardware delivered to NASA/JPL for integration into the Deep Space Optical Communications demonstration on the Psyche mission.

Prior to 2014, Dinu was a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent (previously Lucent Technologies) in Holmdel, NJ, where she conducted innovative research in diverse areas of photonics such as nonlinear optical effects, two-dimensional photonic crystals, ultrafast spectroscopy of quantum dots, signal processing in semiconductor devices, all-optical performance monitoring, high-speed all-optical logic in hybrid photonic integrated circuits, and parametric signal processing in fibers. Prior to joining Bell Labs, she received a PhD in Physics from Purdue University in the field of semiconductor nonlinear optics.

Dinu has long been involved with Optica as a volunteer, starting as a student member of the OSA (now Optica). She has been an author and reviewer for Optica journals, as well as for IEEE and APS journals. She has been an Associate Editor for the IEEE Photonics Journal.  She has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee (EAC) of Optics and Photonics News, currently serving as EAC Chair. Dinu has been a technical committee member for Frontiers in Optics and CLEO/QELS, most recently in 2023 as subcommittee chair of CLEO S&I12 Lightwave Communications and Optical Networks.  Dinu has authored or co-authored more than 60 publications. She holds nine patents related to photonic devices and systems.

Election Statement

I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for the position of Director-at-Large of Optica. As the premier global organization devoted to optics and photonics, Optica is at the center of a rich and expansive scientific and technological field that uniquely touches so many aspects of the world. I have considered Optica my professional home since graduate school. In thinking about the impact I could make as Director-at-Large, three topics come to my mind.

Industry engagement. Having worked in industry my entire career—first in applied research at Bell Labs and more recently in the field of space optical communications—I am familiar with the photonics industry ecosystem. I will strive to expand Optica’s already excellent efforts directed at engagement with industry. I will support Optica’s activities to promote industry networking and to foster industrial partnerships via its industry events, and I aim to identify avenues for augmenting those efforts.

Optica’s mission of keeping members informed on current science and technology developments relies on its stellar lineup of technical journals, membership newsletters, online resources and webinars. I am currently serving on the Editorial Advisory Committee of Optica’s membership magazine Optics & Photonics News, which has provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the needs of the Optica membership. I will work to explore new ways of engaging industry members in areas that benefit their careers and technical development.

Member engagement via local sections. Optica has a large and diverse global membership, yet the number of local sections in North America as well as worldwide is limited. I will advocate for amplifying the role of local sections, and for increasing their visibility as a framework for member participation. Local sections can be valuable resources for members who are not affiliated to centers of higher education or photonics hubs, for in-person networking and technical engagement. Local sections also offer opportunities for educational outreach, can benefit student members that graduate into industry jobs, and can reach members who may not participate in Optica’s scientific and technical conferences and meetings.

Climate action. Climate change is the fundamental and defining challenge of human civilization in our time. With photonics at the core of such technologies as renewable energy generation and greenhouse emission monitoring, Optica has an excellent track record of addressing this challenge. Subjects related to renewable energy and climate action are already being given close coverage by Optica conference organizers, such as within topical meetings at the Advanced Photonics Congress, and within Optica journals.

Still, I believe that Optica can do more to lead in addressing the challenge of climate change. If elected, I will work toward expanding Optica’s role in the fight against global warming. In addition to events and conferences centered around the role of optics and photonics in energy and climate, I will advocate for promoting initiatives to kickstart new approaches and partnerships for novel solutions and for fostering multi-disciplinary collaborations related to climate mitigation.

Document Created: 1 Jan 0001
Last Updated: 1 Jan 0001

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