Dallesasse named Fellow of The Optical Society

12/18/2012 Jamal Collier, ECE ILLINOIS

ECE Associate Professor [profile:jdallesa] was elected a Fellow to The Optical Society. He is well-known for cutting-edge edge research in the area of photonics.

Written by Jamal Collier, ECE ILLINOIS

John Dallesasse
John Dallesasse

ECE alumnus and Associate Professor John Dallesasse (BSEE ’85, MSEE ’87, PhD ’91) was recently elected a Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA). Since receiving his PhD in 1991 from the University of Illinois, Dallesasse has worked on the cutting edge of the photonics industry, developing new devices and transceivers for optical networking to push the field forward.

He is known for the co-invention of III-V oxidation, an important processing technology for compound semiconductor devices, which was developed with ECE Professor Nick Holonyak Jr. This technology has been of key importance in improving the performance of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers for optical data links in enterprise networks and data centers. It is this work that is being recognized by OSA.

"It is certainly an honor to be elected as a Fellow of the Optical Society, but it's even more satisfying to know that your work has made a difference,” said Dallesasse, a researcher in the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab. “We come in every day not hoping to get an award, but hoping that something that we do or see will spark an insight that leads to something important."

And now, after spending more than 20 years working as an engineer, technical manager, and executive manager in the photonics industry, Dallesasse was excited for the opportunity to return to the ECE Department as a faculty member.

As a relatively new faculty member who started at ECE last spring, Dallesasse continues to build his research group, and is working closely with ECE Professors Holonyak and Milton Feng to apply their research on transistor lasers to photonic integration. “The transistor laser is a device that inherently has both an electrical and optical output,” Dallesasse said. “How those devices might be put together in order to make a more complex electronic, photonic functional unit is a very interesting problem, and an important problem.”

Being relatively fresh from a long career in industry, Dallesasse brings an ability to give students advice about the current state of the industry and its job potential. Dallesasse said there are parallels between what he did to evolve engineers working in his development groups into the next generation of technology leaders, and he’s applying many of the same tactics to students.

“If you look at one of the functions of a university faculty member in their role as a principal investigator, you have to manage a group of graduate students, and you have to mentor those grad students,” Dallesasse said. “And when you’re a technology manager, part of your role is career development of the people working for you, such that they ultimately can become technology managers themselves.”

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This story was published December 18, 2012.