Two Princeton engineering researchers have been elected fellows of the Optical Society, the highest honor afforded researchers in the field that studies light and its myriad technologies. Claire Gmachl, a professor of electrical engineering, and Arthur Dogariu, a research scholar and lecturer in mechanical and aerospace engineering, join the 2021 cohort of fellows, including 118 Optical Society members from 24 countries.

Gmachl, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and head of Princeton’s Whitman College, was recognized by the Optical Society for “pioneering work in infrared materials, optics, lasers and sensing systems.” She is best known for her work pioneering quantum cascade lasers, a class of lasers that have enabled many of today’s most advanced sensing technologies. A recipient of the engineering school’s excellence in teaching award, the University’s graduate mentoring award and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, Gmachl also has been recognized as an exceptional mentor in developing the talents of her undergraduate and graduate students. 

image of optical society fellows

Claire Gmachl, left, and Arthur Dogariu have been named 2021 fellows of the Optical Society

Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2003, Gmachl spent eight years at Bell Laboratories as a distinguished member of the technical staff. Scientists at Bell invented the basic systems underlying quantum cascade lasers, a laser type made from semiconductors that emit finely tuned light in the mid- to far-infrared part of the spectrum. Gmachl joined Bell Labs soon after, and has since developed a raft of noninvasive biomedical devices, including recent inventions that can identify key markers for diseases such as diabetes.

Gmachl received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Vienna. She was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005, and is a senior member of the IEEE, a member of the American Physical Society, and a corresponding member abroad of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

Dogariu, an expert in experimental optical physics in a wide range of subspecialties, was recognized “for discovering and developing novel nonlinear spectroscopic techniques for remote sensing with applications from medicine to national security.” In recent years, his work has concentrated on remote sensing and optical diagnostics. Among other research topics, Dogariu’s group has pursued light-matter interaction, the use of lasers for detection of bacterial spores and explosives and the measurement of flows, velocity and temperature.

After working as a research staff member at NEC Labs North America, Dogariu joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as a research scholar in 2005 and was named a lecturer in 2016. He collaborates with researchers at Princeton and at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, at which he is working on experiments dealing with low-temperature plasma.

Dogariu received his doctorate in physics from the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers at the University of Central Florida. A recipient of the Romanian Presidential National Order for Merit, he is a member of the Optical Society of America, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an honorary member of the Academy of Romanian Scientists. 




  • Claire Gmachl

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