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Inventors of Optical Coherence Tomography Win 2017 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize

01 February 2017

Russ Prize Medallion
Russ Prize Medallion

The National Academy of Engineering and Ohio University announced 4 January that the 2017 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize will be given to SPIE Fellow and SPIE Board Member James Fujimoto, SPIE Fellow Christoph Hitzenberger, SPIE Members Adolf Fercher and David Huang, and Eric A. Swanson for the invention of optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Awarded biennially, the recipients receive a $500,000 cash award and a commemorative medallion in recognition of outstanding bioengineering achievement in widespread use that improves the human condition. This achievement should help the public better understand and appreciate the contributions of engineers to our health, well-being and quality of life. The Russ Prize also encourages collaboration between the engineering and medical/biological professions.

In a statement released by the NAE, NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. said, "This year's Russ Prize recipients personify how engineering transforms the health and happiness of people across the globe. The creators of optical coherence tomography have dramatically improved the quality of life for people with diminished eyesight."

OCT is one of the most widely used technologies for imaging in the human eye, using light waves to capture high-speed, micrometer-resolution, three-dimensional images of tissue microstructure. The technology has contributed to advancing the understanding of disease mechanisms and their treatments in multiple fields including ophthalmology, cardiology, and cancer. OCT helps diagnose millions of patients with eye disease at early treatable stages, before irreversible loss of vision occurs.

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