Jain awarded prestigious David Richardson Medal by OSA


Lauren Eichmann, ECE Illinois

Kanti Jain
Kanti Jain

The Optical Society of America (OSA) has awarded ECE Professor Kanti Jain the prestigious David Richardson Medal for achievements in the field of optical engineering. Each year OSA presents the award to one individual chosen for his "dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance in attaining the highest level of scientific achievement in their chosen fields."

The award recognizes those who have had significant influence primarily in the commercial and industrial sector of optical engineering. Jain is specifically honored for his "pioneering contributions to the development of high-resolution optical microlithography technologies, particularly for the invention and development of excimer laser lithography technologies and systems for production of microelectronic devices," according to the OSA citation.

"This is very rewarding," said Jain. "Generally such awards are for academic-focused research, so it’s very satisfying in that it shows how OSA also places importance on the commercial applications of optics."

Jain has more than 30 years of experience as a scientist, technologist, and entrepreneur developing fabrication technologies for microelectronics, such as those used for computers and television monitors. While working at IBM in the 1980s, he invented the technology of high-resolution excimer laser lithography, which led to production machines for semiconductor integrated circuit manufacturing. These circuits are used in almost all electronic devices today. IBM awarded Jain two Outstanding Innovation Awards for his work in this field.

In the 1990s Jain also developed large-area lithography, used today in the manufacturing of flat-panel displays and televisions. Serving as president and founder of Anvik Corporation, a microelectronics manufacturing systems company based out of New York, he pioneered high-resolution optical projection lithography systems for imaging on flexible substrates, as well as optical devices and systems for illumination, imaging and alignment. He holds 64 patents - 53 issued, 11 pending - in microlithography systems and optics.

Currently Jain’s research interests include ultra-high-resolution lithography technologies for nanoscale devices; excimer laser processing of polymers, semiconductors, dielectrics, and biological materials; large-area, integrated, distributed, multifunctional sensors on flexible substrates; optoelectronics, micro-optics, and photonic circuits; and maskless lithography for micro and nano fabrication technologies.

The David Richardson Medal, endowed by Howard Cary, was first presented in 1966 to David Richardson for his contributions to applied optics involving the ruling and replicating of gratings. Jain will be recognized at Frontiers in Optics, the OSA annual meeting, in October in Rochester, New York, where he will receive the award to commemorate his achievements.