James R. Leger is professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he holds the Cymer Professorship for Advanced Optical Systems, Metrology, and Lasers. He is also director of Lower Division Programs in the Institute of Technology.
Leger received his BS degree in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1974 and PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 1980. After graduation, he served as assistant professor at UCSD for one year, teaching and performing research on computer-generated holography and optical pattern recognition. He then joined the 3M company, where he investigated novel optical systems for robotic vision and industrial inspection. In 1984, Leger joined the binary optics group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he pioneered applications of diffractive optics and microoptics to electrooptic devices. Among his significant achievements are some of the first applications of multi-level diffractive optics to diode laser arrays, and the development of the Talbot cavity and Dammann grating techniques for phase-locking diode laser arrays. While at Lincoln Laboratory, he was appointed adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1991, Leger moved to his current position at the University of Minnesota, where he runs a research group studying applications of physical optics and microoptics to semiconductor and solid-state laser systems, metrology, and imaging devices. One of his principal achievements has been the development of diffractive laser mirrors and intracavity elements for improved laser performance.
Leger has published over 100 journal articles and conference papers, authored six book chapters, and holds 16 patents. He has served on numerous program committees, has served as general chair and program chair of topical meetings on diffractive optics and holography, and has served as editor of two special editions of Applied Optics on diffractive optics design, fabrication, and applications. He is a former topical editor of Applied Optics (1997-2003) and has served on the board of governors of OSA. He is an active participant in the short course education series of both OSA (CLEO) and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE).
Leger has been awarded the Eta Kappa Nu outstanding teaching professor award and the George Taylor Award for Outstanding Research at the University of Minnesota. He is a Fellow of the Society, IEEE, SPIE, and an Associate Fellow of the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute. In 1998, he received the Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize.