IIT Delhi Alumni Endows “Prof Ajoy K. Ghatak Chair” for Photonics

New Delhi: IIT Delhi has established “Prof Ajoy K. Ghatak Chair” for Photonics. A 1985 batch alumni of the Institute, Dr Ramadas Pillai (M.Tech in Applied Optics), President, Nuphoton Technologies has endowed the Chair.
The Chair will focus on “Photonics”, the physical science of light (photon) generation, detection, and manipulation through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification, and sensing.
The Department of Physics, IIT Delhi has a rich history in optics and photonics research that goes way back to the late 1960s. Initially what started as a very small group of about ten people, has over the years, and has flourished in terms of both research activity and manpower. Today there are more than one hundred people in the department including faculty members, researchers and graduate students, working actively in numerous branches of optics and across disciplines.
Prof Ajoy Ghatak did his MSc from the University of Delhi, PhD from Cornell University and was a Research Associate at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He joined IIT Delhi in 1966 and retired as an Emeritus Professor of Physics in 2007.
He received the 2008 SPIE Educator Award in recognition of “his unparalleled global contributions to the field of fiber optics research, and his tireless dedication to optics education worldwide” and the 2003 Optical Society of America Esther Hoffman Beller Award in recognition of his “outstanding contributions to optical science and engineering education”. He is also a recipient of the SS Bhatnagar Award, 16th Khwarizmi International award, the International Commission for Optics Galileo Galilei Award, IETE Wadhwa Gold Medal and the UGC Meghnad Saha Award for his research in fiber optics and related areas.
Prof Ghatak has authored over 170 research papers and several books including the undergraduate text OPTICS, which has been translated to Chinese and Persian.
While accepting the honor, Prof Ghatak said, “This extraordinary news is truly overwhelming, and I am filled with extreme gratitude towards Dr Pillai for his amazing generosity and to IIT Delhi for honoring me with this wonderful gift. I accept this honor with great appreciation.”
Dr Anurag Sharma, Professor of Physics at IIT Delhi said, “An outstanding teacher and researcher, Professor Ghatak has inspired generations of students and scientists. I have been fortunate to have him as my mentor for over four and a half decades and continue to learn from him. The Chair in Photonics in his name endowed by Dr Ramadas Pillai is a great gesture and will go a long way in perpetuating the inspiration for many more generations to come. It is a wonderful way to honour one’s teacher.”
Dr Ramadas Pillai said, “I am fortunate to represent all those students over generations who got inspired and influenced by Prof. Ghatak as a teacher and mentor. This is a humble guru dakshina from all of us.”
Dr. Pillai, is the President/ CTO of Nuphoton Technologies, Inc., in California and VinVish Technologies in Technopark, Trivandrum. Hailing from Muhamma, in Alappuzha, Ramadas did his M. Tech. in Applied Optics from IIT Delhi in 1985 and MS and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1990 and 1994.
Between 1985-88, he worked with Prof Ajoy Ghatak in the Optical Wave Guide group. After a Postdoc at Northwestern University, Ramadas started Nuphoton technologies in 1996.
Nuphoton Technologies as well as VinVish are hardware companies, making Optical Fiber Amplifiers and Transmitters for Communications and sensing for terrestrial, undersea and space applications. Nuphoton Technologies Inc. is a pioneer in fiber lasers and fiber amplifiers with applications covering industrial, defense, aerospace, biomedical, telecommunications and research areas. Dr. Pillai’s immediate family includes wife Sunitha Reddy and four children. VinVish is named after Vinayak and Vishakh Pillai, his two sons.

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