In Memoriam: Mansoor Sheik-Bahae, 1956-2023
Jul 10, 2023
Mansoor Sheik-Bahae, Optica Fellow and 2012 recipient of the R. W. Wood Prize, passed away on 10 July 2023. He was known for his work in laser cooling in solids, ultrafast nonlinear optics, and nonlinear optics. Sheik-Bahae's work in the Z-scan technique was seminal and led to a standard tool in most nonlinear optics laboratories around the world. Mansoor Sheik-Bahae was a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of New Mexico at the time of his passing.
Sheik-Bahae earned his BS and MS degrees from the Catholic University of America and his PhD from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. He served at CREOL at the University of Central Florida until 1994. In 1994, he moved to the University of New Mexico, where he successfully secured research grants and led his research group focused on laser cooling in solids, ultrafast phenomena, and nonlinear optics.
Sheik-Bahae was recognized for his significant contributions with numerous awards over the course of his career. He received the R.W. Wood Prize from Optica (formerly OSA) in 2012 for the "invention, implementation and development of "Z-scan" a simple and effective method to measure cubic and higher order optical nonlinearities." He shared the 2012 Prize with 2006 Optica President Eric Van Stryland, who was a colleague and dear friend of Mansoor. He was recognized for "Most cited paper in the history of IEEE-JQE," LEOS 2007, received the 1996 NSF-CAREER award, and the 1990 Engineer of the Year Award, IEEE/LEOS (Orlando, Florida). In 2000, Optica recognized Sheik-Bahae as a Fellow for "the invention of the Z-scan technique, the development of a comprehensive theory for predicting the ultrafast electronic optical nonlinear coefficients of semiconductors, and pioneering work on applications of cascaded second-order nonlinearities."
Sheik-Bahae was generous with his time and expertise and contributed both to the UNM community and to scientific organizations. He served as the General Chair of the Optical Science and Engineering Program (OSE), University of New Mexico from 2003-2009, Director of Consortium for Laser Cooling in Solids (CLCS) from 2004-2022, and as a Member of the Board of Directors of UNM's Science and Technology Transfer Corporation STC. Sheik-Bahae was a Topical Editor for the Journal of Optical Society of America (B) from 2010-2013 and a member of several Optica committees, such as the New Focus Student Award (1998, 1999), Book Publishing and Web Committees (2003), Holonyak Award Committee (2004-2006). He was also active with CLEO (1999-2004) and SPIE Photonics West (2007-2012).
Optica and his many colleagues mourn the loss of Mansoor Sheik-Bahae.