Luke Lester
Luke Lester

Luke F. Lester was recently elected to Fellow by the IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and SPIE, the Society for Optics and Photonics. The grade of Fellow is the highest grade of membership in both organizations and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.

Lester, Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Microelectronics Endowed Chair Professor, was cited for contributions to quantum dot lasers for both organizations.

"Luke's work in quantum dot lasers is outstanding and elevation to the grade of Fellow by both IEEE and SPIE demonstrates the significance of his achievements," said Catalin Roman, dean of the UNM School of Engineering. "It is particularly impressive that he has received the status of Fellow in both organizations at the same time."

Lester's signature achievement since joining UNM has been his ground-breaking investigation of semiconductor quantum dot lasers, specifically using the "dots-in-a-well" (DWELL) technique. The DWELL approach embeds a quantum dot nanostructure within a thin-film quantum well region to improve electron capture into the dot material. Lester was the first person to describe the device physics that improves the efficiency and reduces the threshold current of the DWELL laser.

This influential work, first published in 1999 in IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, led to numerous invited lectures on quantum dot technology at international conferences throughout the world. In recognition of this important research, he and his co-authors received the Best Paper Award at Photonics West 2000 in San Jose, CA. His other awards for quantum dot research include the 2012 Harold E. Edgerton Award from the SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to the development, characterization and integration of quantum dot mode-locked lasers as high-speed optical sources, Dr. Lester received the 2012 Harold Edgerton Award from the SPIE.

"I feel very honored to receive these distinctions from the IEEE and SPIE and want to thank all my student advisees and collaborators who over the past twenty-five years have contributed to our exciting technological discoveries in semiconductor nanotechnology. I couldn't have done this without your help and camaraderie," said Lester.

Media contact: Tamara Williams (505) 277-5859; email: