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REF NO.: 20

SUBJECT: Semiconductors of Light topic of Laird lecture at Memorial University

DATE: Sept. 26

Photonics today is at the stage that semiconductor electronics was at the time of the invention of the transistor. It is thought that photonics technology will lead to a revolution as profound as that due to microelectronics technology, such as computers and cell phones.
            Dr. Sajeev John, the upcoming Elizabeth R. Laird guest lecturer at Memorial’s St. John’s campus, will discuss the breakthrough in solid-state classical physics which lead to photonic band gap (PBG) materials and the surprising new phenomena that arise when light moves through a matter. 
            “Photonic crystals are artificial and periodic enabling engineering of fundamental physical properties including refraction, diffraction and spontaneous emission of light,” said Dr. John. “Unlike traditional semiconductors that rely on moving electrons, photonic band gap materials operate by selective trapping or “localization of light,” which is a fundamentally new and largely unexplored property of light.”
            During his lecture, he will explore the new physics and review some of the practical applications including all-optical information processing, solar energy harvesting, efficient lighting and intense laser light delivery in clinical medicine.
            Dr. Sajeev John was educated at MIT and Harvard and has taught at Princeton. He is currently a university professor at the University of Toronto and a Canada Research Chair. He originated the theory of classical wave localization and in particular the localization of light in three-dimensional strongly scattering dielectrics. He co-invented the concept of photonic band gap materials, providing a systematic route to his original conception of the localization of light.
            Prof. John has won numerous awards and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Royal Society of Canada and the Optical Society of America. His presentation will take place Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bruneau Centre, room 2001 (Innovation Hall). Admission is free and a reception will follow.
Elizabeth R. Laird
Dr. Elizabeth R. Laird was a prominent Canadian physicist in the first half of the 20th century. Upon her death in London, Ont. in 1969, Memorial University was among a number of high ranking Canadian universities to be named a beneficiary of her will. The bequest was to be held and used as a lecture fund for the purpose of providing occasional public lectures in the field of science or social studies to be given by Canadian lecturers. The first lecture was held in 1980.

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For more information, contact Kelly Foss, communications co-ordinator, Faculty of Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, at (709) 864-2019 or


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