Erich P. Ippen

Erich P. Ippen
Erich P. Ippen
Fountain Hill, PA, USA
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
Quantum electronics
IEEE Morris E. Leeds Award


Erich Peter Ippen was born in Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania on March 29, 1940. He obtained his undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a S.B . in Electrical Engineering in 1962. With a graduate exchange fellowship in 1962-63 he studied for one year at the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland. He then continued his graduate education at the University of California, Berkeley from which he received his M.S . and Ph.D. degrees in 1965 and 1968 respectively. His thesis work, under the direction of Prof. John R. Whinnery, demonstrated optical probing of surface acoustic waves.

From 1968 to 1980 Dr. Ippen was with Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey. During 1977-78 he was a Visiting Professor at M.I.T. In 1980 he joined the faculty there as Professor of Electrical Engineering. At M.I.T. he teaches courses in electro-magnetism and quantum electronics and has established a laboratory for picosecond and sub-picosetond optical studies.

Dr. Ippen has been active in several areas of quantum electronics research. He has published over 70 papers and has received seven patents. His early research at Bell Laboratories focused on the possibility of low power, nonlinear optical interactions and resulted in the first observations of stimulated Raman and Brillouin scattering, Raman oscillation, and self-phase modulation in optical fibers. During this same period he developed the interest in ultrashort pulse generation that led to his involvement in the first modelocking of a continuous dye laser and in the first generation of optical pulses shorter than one picosecond. Dr. Ippen has continued to be active in the development of sub-picosecond techniques and in their application to studies of ultrafast processes in a variety of materials. He has recently also been involved in the development of compact, picosecond optical devices for signal processing and is associated with the first generation of picosecond pulses with semiconductor diode lasers.

Dr. Ippen has served on numerous conference organizing and program committees. He is a member of the IEEE Quantum Electronics and Applications Society Administrative Committee and an Associate Editor of Optics Letters. With C. V. Shank he received in 1981 the R. W. Wood Prize of the Optical Society of America and in 1982 the Edward Longstreth Medal of the Franklin Institute for demonstration and utilization of sub-picosecond optical pulses. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a member of the American Physical Society, Sigma Xi, and Eta Kappa Nu.