Professor Alwyn Seeds recieves the 2012 Gabor Medal and Prize for his research on and practical realisation of microwave photonic devices leading to their commercial exploitation in wireless and optical communication systems. The award is made biannually for distinguished work in the application of physics in an industrial, commercial or business context. Professor Seeds is Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL and Principal Investigator in the London Centre for Nanotechnology. His work is at the interface of physics and engineering. He has produced a string of inventions with considerable implications for the electronics and growing photonics industries. Among his innovations have been highly tuneable semiconductor lasers and the use of quantum dot technology to enable the direct growth of telecommunications wavelength lasers on silicon substrates. This opens up the path for developments in silicon photonics with drive circuitry in the underlying silicon in close contact with light emitters.
He has acquired a world-wide reputation through his creation of the field of Microwave Photonics. He realised that future systems would integrate microwave and optical communications; optical fibres for long range communications and microwave for short range (inter-office, Wi-Fi and mobile phone) communication. His realisation and early development of devices, in which microwaves controlled optical emission and optical absorption determined microwave emission, has aroused enormous interest in industry and academia with many companies and university groups following on from his work. He co-founded the company Zinwave, now a flourishing business, to exploit his ideas.
Professor Seeds said: “Advances in information processing and communication systems depend ever more critically on the Physics underlying new device technologies. It is a great honour for me to be awarded the Gabor Medal and Prize, commemorating, as it does, someone who applied Physics with such success to the creation of new technology.”