February 20, 2017
The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Peter Delfyett.
Dr. Peter J. Delfyett was born on March 8, 1959, in Queens, New York. He is an African American electrical engineer, professor, and an optics and photonics research scientist.
Delfyett received his B.E. (E.E.) degree from the City College of New York in 1981 and his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983. Delfyett then returned to the City University of New York and went on to graduate from there with a Master’s in Philosophy and Ph.D. degrees in 1987 and 1988, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis was focused on developing a real time ultrafast spectroscopic probe to study molecular and phonon dynamics in condensed matter using optical phase conjugation techniques.
In 1988, Dr. Delfyett joined Bell Communication Research (Bellcore) as a member of the technical staff where he focused on generating ultrafast high power optical pulses from semiconductor diode lasers. His research finding resulted in several important accomplishments for Dr. Delfyett, including; the most powerful modelocked semiconductor laser diode, the demonstration of an optically distributed clocking network for high speed digital switches and supercomputer applications, and the first observation of the optical nonlinearity induced by the cooling of highly excited electron-hole pairs in semiconductor optical amplifiers.
Dr. Peter Delfyett joined the faculty at the College of Optics and Photonics and the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida in 1993. Today, he holds the titles of University Trustee Chair and Pegasus Professor of Optics and Photonics, ECE & Physics, and Director of the Townes Laser Institute. He leads an Ultrafast Photonics Group, that conducts cutting-edge experimental research in seven state-of-the-art laboratories and the group focusses on ultrafast high power optical pulses from semiconductor diode lasers, for applications in applied photonic networks and laser induced materials modification.
In addition to his work as a professor and scientists, from 1995 to 2006, he served as the Associate Editor of IEEE Photonics Technology Letters; was the Executive Editor of IEEE LEOS Newsletter; and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, Fellow of IEEE/LEOS, and was a member of the Board of Governors of IEEE-LEOS from 2000 to 2002. He is a Founding Member in NSF’s Scientists and Engineers in the School Program, which is a program to teach 8th graders about the benefits of science, engineering, and technology in society. He also helped found “Raydiance, Inc.” a company developing high power, ultrafast laser systems, based on his research, for applications in medicine, defense, material processing, biotech and other key technological markets. In 2008, Dr. Delfyett was elected as the President of the National Society of Black Physicists. He served two terms.
Among his numerous awards and accolades, Dr. Delfyett has been awarded the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Faculty Fellow Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, which is awarded to the nation’s top twenty young scientists. U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology magazine recognized him in 1993 as “Most Promising Engineer,” and, in 2000 with the “Outstanding Alumnus Achievement.” In 2011, he was the recipient of the Edward Bouchet Award from the American Physical Society for his significant scientific contributions in ultrafast optical device physics and semiconductor diode based ultrafast lasers, and for his exemplary and continuing efforts in the career development of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering.