Federico Capasso was born in Rome in 1949 and holds a Doctorate in Physics, summa cum laude, from the University of Rome, and an Honorary Doctorate in Electronic Engineering from the University of Bologna. He worked for 26 years at Bell Laboratories before moving to Harvard University where is currently the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Professor Capasso is an exceptionally creative scientist operating at the interface between applied and basic science and electronic engineering. He made seminal contributions to the physics and technology of semiconductor nanostructures, with profound impact on quantum electronics, photonics, solid-state science and technology. The quantum cascade laser (QCL), which he invented while working at Bell Laboratories, represents the greatest of his many remarkable contributions.
Professor Capasso is internationally known for his pioneering research in band-structure or bandgap engineering, which allows devices to be tailored to specific applications, thus opening up research directions and commercial possibilities in photonics, electronics and nanotechnology. His invention of quantum cascade (QC) laser, a fundamentally new light source, has revolutionized infrared science and technology by giving access to the midinfrared spectrum and has found wide-ranging applications in various scientific and industrial fields including chemical sensing, medical diagnostics, spectroscopy and trace gas analysis. Capasso’s many other contributions include multilayer low-noise avalanche photodiodes, the solid-state photomultiplier and seminal earlier work with quantum electron devices that revived interest in multilevel logic and coding.
Professor Capasso, has been awarded the Prize in recognition of his fundamental contribution to the invention of the Quantum Cascade Laser and its applications in science and industry. This fundamentally new light source is at the forefront of developments in laser physics during the last decade, signifies an imaginative breakthrough in this field enabling a remarkable contribution of excellent solid- state science and laser physics with new solid-state technology. University is one of the most creative and influential physicists in the world having achieved international recognition through his design and demonstration of the Quantum Cascade Laser. This revolutionary approach, perhaps the most important development in laser physics during the last decade, signifies an imaginative breakthrough in this field enabling a remarkable contribution of excellent solid- state science and laser physics with new solid-state technology.