Eli Yablonovitch


Eli Yablonovitch
Associated organizations
University of California
Fields of study
IEEE Edison Medal


Considered a “father of photonic bandgaps,” Eli Yablonovitch’s pioneering contributions effectively created the new field of photonic band engineering for a variety of advanced technologies. Dr. Yablonovitch originally proposed the idea of photonic bandgaps in 1987 and was the first to successfully demonstrate a photonic crystal in 1991. Dr. Yablonovitch extended the well-known wave function theory of electronic bandgaps in solid-state physics to electromagnetic waves to create the photonic bandgap concept. He then employed an Edisonian approach to discover the first photonic bandgap, demonstrating the electromagnetic equivalent of a semiconductor. That material structure came to be known as “Yablonovite.” He demonstrated that “donors” and “acceptors” could be created within photonic crystals by intentionally introducing defects, just as in semiconductors. Prior to his photonic crystal discoveries, Dr. Yablonovitch introduced the benefit of strain, used in almost all semiconductor lasers, including telecommunications lasers, DVD players, and red laser pointers.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Yablonovitch is currently a professor with the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, which is based at Berkeley. Yablonovitch was awarded the IEEE Edison Medal in 2018.