The Optical Society Names Tobias Kippenberg the 2021 R.W. Wood Prize Recipient


The Optical Society is pleased to announce that Tobias Kippenberg, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the R.W. Wood Prize. Kippenberg is honored for pioneering contributions to the realization of chip-scale optical frequency combs.

Tobias Kippenberg earned his B.A. from the Technical University of Aachen, Germany, M.S. and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, USA, and Habilitation from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany. He is currently Full Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at EPFL.

In 2007, Kippenberg and his team discovered the ability of optical microresonators to generate optical frequency combs via parametric interactions. This discovery showed that as an alternative to the use of mode-locked lasers, a CW laser can be converted into a broadband frequency comb via nonlinear wave mixing, overcoming passive cavity dispersion. Kippenberg has led the field in novel microfabrication techniques, both in crystalline microresonators and through his introduction and perfection of the Photonic Damascene Process in the silicon nitride platform.

He has received the Helmholtz Prize for Metrology, Fresnel Prize of the European Physical Society, European Frequency and Time Forum (EFTF) Young Scientist Award, Swiss National Latsis Award, Klung Wilhelmy Wissenshcafts Preis and the ZEISS Research Award. He is a Fellow of OSA and the American Physical Society.

Established in 1975, the Wood Prize recognizes an outstanding discovery, scientific or technical achievement or invention in the field of optics. The accomplishment is measured chiefly by its impact on the field of optics and is one that opens a new era of research or significantly expands an established one. It honors the many contributions that R.W. Wood made to optics, and is endowed by Xerox Corp.