Pietro Ferraro: The 2020 SPIE Dennis Gabor Award in Diffractive Optics
Pietro Ferraro, an SPIE Fellow and head of research at Italy's Institute of Applied Sciences and Intelligent Systems, has contributed significantly to the development of digital holography. His multi-faceted advances include conceiving a wide extension of the focus range in digital holographic microscopy; developing new approaches and criteria for particle tracking in 3D volumes; creating an original method for improving the imaging quality in turbid liquids; and demonstrating the potential of quantitative phase-contrast tomography for the 3D inspection of single biological cells while they are flowing through a microfluidic channel. In addition, using digital holography, he demonstrated that red blood cells behave as real optical lenses: that discovery opened a completely new research topic in which biological matter can be employed as active optical elements.
In addition to his technical innovations, Ferraro serves the SPIE community in a multitude of ways, including acting as Symposium Co-Chair of SPIE Optical Metrology, where he launched a new conference — Optical Methods for the Inspection, Characterization, and Imaging of Biomaterials — serving on multiple SPIE committees, and co-editing special issues of the SPIE journal Optical Engineering. He is also an active nominator of colleagues when it comes to awards and recognitions.
"Dr. Ferraro has worked in many different areas such as laser interferometry and digital holography for optical characterization of materials, optical fiber sensors, holographic lithography, micro- and nano-structuring of ferroelectric optical crystals for application in photonics, and microfluidic structures," notes SPIE Fellow and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at University of Connecticut Bahram Javidi. "Dr. Ferraro's research has an outstanding quality and is being followed by many universities, research groups and industries in Europe. His work is referenced very often by many scientists in our community."