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Innovations in Light

Lipson’s Lab

Technologies from the Lab of Michal Lipson

Michal LipsonIt took more than 30 years for Michal Lipson, Electrical and Computer Engineering, to get from her birthplace in Israel to Ithaca, New York, by way of Brazil. It would take only a fraction of a second for the light that she studies to make the same journey—even if it was traveling through the nanometer-sized photonic structures out of which she and her research group are fashioning the datacom and telecommunications future.

A physicist by training, Lipson arrived in Ithaca in the fall of 2001 to join the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She quickly assembled a research group of postdocs and graduate students from around the world to help her explore silicon-based photonics, and her lab soon began to make important innovations. The first was a novel design for an optical filter known as a distributed Bragg reflector or DBR. Other innovative devices followed: devices for coupling optical fiber to chips, emitting light from a waveguide, switching optical signals on and off, guiding light on chips, and sensing. By the end of her fourth year at Cornell, devices created in Lipson’s lab formed the basis for nine patent applications and two articles in Nature. In February 2004, Lipson received an NSF Career Award, and less than a year later, she was profiled in a front-page story in EE Times.


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