Lehigh’s optical research portfolio has enjoyed a banner year.

• In October 2005, LEHIGH’S CENTER FOR OPTICAL TECHNOLOGIES (COT) opened a $10-million laboratory where researchers will make advanced devices with biomedical, military, pharmaceutical, sensor and other applications. The new Smith Family Lab enables researchers to make and analyze new classes of optical materials and devices. Its 3,000-square-foot clean room and epitaxial growth facilities make it possible to develop new compound semiconductors that emit light ranging from infrared wavelengths to the ultraviolet. The COT has received more than $63 million in funding since 2001.

• Also in October 2005, FILBERT BARTOLI was appointed chair of electrical and computer engineering after completing five years as program director for electronics, photonics and device technologies with NSF’s Electrical and Communications Systems Division. Bartoli has conducted groundbreaking research in photonics, optoelectronics, quantum well devices and nanotechnology in his 35-year professional career. At NSF, he oversaw research programs in optoelectronics and photonics, MEMS, sensors, integrated microsystems and biomedical applications.

• In February 2006, COT director THOMAS KOCH was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which cited his “contributions to optoelectronic technologies and their implementation in optical communications systems.” Koch, former vice president for technology platforms at Agere Systems, explores the fundamental performance limits of lasers used for telecommunications and for the design and demonstration of semiconductor photonic integrated circuits.

He is part of an international research team that in 2006 began investigating nanophotonics and developing a silicon-based laser, in an MIT-based project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. The initiative also involves researchers from Boston University, Caltech, Cornell, Stanford, Delaware, Rochester and MIT, as well as from Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.