Volker Sorger: The 2023 SPIE Maria Goeppert Mayer Award in Photonics
Dr. Volker Sorger is the Director of the Florida Semiconductor Institute at the University of Florida. In this role he serves as an ambassador for semiconductors and chips for Florida and beyond fostering private-public-academic partnerships, advancing R&D and accelerating jobs in semiconductors. His research in optoelectronics, photonic circuits, and electronic-photonic application-specific-integrated-circuits (ASIC) have applications in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum-information processing, and cryptography. His pioneering device breakthroughs and outstanding innovations have led him to file more than 30 patents and start two deep-tech ventures, Optelligence and OPTIUS. Sorger’s career has involved taking on several roles in both academia and industry; his philosophy of wearing “many hats” in life stems from reading Richard David Precht’s book Wer bin ich — und wenn ja, wie viele? (Who Am I? And If So, How Many?). For his innovative work, Sorger has received multiple awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and an Air Force Young Investigator Research Program award.
An SPIE Fellow, Sorger served on the SPIE Scholarship Committee, as a SPIE Student Chapter faculty advisor, and as editor-in-chief for the SPIE journal Nanophotonics. For both SPIE OPTO and SPIE Optics + Photonics, Sorger has been an active speaker, presenter, and conference program committee member, and has led several symposia on emerging topics such as neuromorphic photonics.
“Professor Sorger has produced pioneering work on plasmonic and optoelectronic devices with breakthrough efficiencies approaching that of modern field-effect-transistors,” says Jacob Khurgin, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University. “Beyond his research, Professor Sorger has established himself as a leader in our photonics community by not only serving on topical committees of major conferences, but also as a visionary and steward for photonic-based intelligent information processing and novel opto-electronic devices. He is an exceptional scientist and inspiring innovator who is making transformational discoveries in the field of photonic analog processors, neural networks, and opto-electronics. He is a brilliant scholar and has shown significant impact through his discoveries and inventions. Moreover, he leads by example contributing to building a community in the field of photonics.”
*This story was updated on 8 September 2023 to reflect an updated affliation for Volker Sorger.