Lehigh University’s Dr. Nelson Tansu named IEEE Fellow


Engineering professor and researcher lauded for contributions to semiconductor photonics technologies


Credit: Lehigh University

Lehigh University’s Nelson Tansu has been named as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for contributions to semiconductor photonics technologies.

Tansu, Lehigh’s Daniel E. ’39 and Patricia M. Smith Endowed Chair Professor, is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers and inventors in the field of semiconductor optoelectronic materials and devices. He conducts research on the materials, devices, computational sciences, machine learning, and integrated technologies based on semiconductors for sustainability, biomedical sciences, power electronics, and quantum materials.

“I am humbled to be named as an IEEE Fellow,” says Tansu. “These are individuals who have contributed significantly to advances in the education and practice of electrical and electronic engineering across a wide range of technical areas and applications. I am incredibly honored to be considered among this distinguished group.”

IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Through its 419,000 members in 160 countries, IEEE is a leading authority on a wide range of areas, including aerospace systems, computers, telecommunications, biomedical engineering, electric power, and consumer electronics.  Each year, the IEEE board of directors confers the grade of Fellow on up to 0.1 percent of the voting members in any of the IEEE fields.

Tansu arrived at Lehigh in 2003 as an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and the Center for Optical Technologies (COT), which would later merge with the Sherman Fairchild Center for Solid-State Studies to form the Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics (CPN). Since 2014, Tansu has served as the CPN director.

Tansu has authored more than 157 journals and 310 conference publications, and he has more than 18 U.S. patents. Tansu was elected as a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors in 2016 and a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in 2018. He is also the editor-in-chief of the open-access journal Photonics.

In January 2021, Tansu assumes a new role as the Head of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) and Professor of Quantum Electronics at The University of Adelaide in Australia.

“As I look forward to this new challenge, I sincerely appreciate the many opportunities provided to me at Lehigh,” he says. “The integration of nanoscale materials and devices into both electronics and optoelectronics has opened up new integrated systems that impact sustainability, biomedical sciences, and quantum technologies.

“The exciting works from our group, which includes many students who have gone on to achieve great things in our field, are the result of a dynamic and healthy research environment. I have benefited from having excellent mentors, great colleagues, and brilliant students. The generosity of Daniel E. Smith ’71 and his family to the Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics has enabled us to build first-rate scientific programs, innovative educational activities, and state-of-the-art research facilities in the areas of materials, devices, and integrated technologies,” Tansu emphasizes. “I cannot thank them enough for their generosity and support over the years, along with the rest of the Lehigh family.”

In 2004, together with Professors Thomas L. Koch and Boon S. Ooi, Tansu led the effort to create and build Lehigh’s vertically integrated material epitaxy and nanofabrication facility, the Smith Family Laboratory, as part of the COT/CPN facility. Koch is currently the Dean of the Wyant College of Optical Sciences at The University of Arizona, and Ooi is presently Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The CPN has also pushed and executed the shared facility concept, advocating for new investment and advancing novel ideas for spurring research and innovation among the Lehigh faculty. Since its completion in 2005, this facility has served more than two dozen faculty groups across the university, enabling the graduate training of more than 250 students during the past 15 years. The success of COT/CPN is evidenced by the high productivity of its students and faculty during this period (2003-2020) and the lasting impact of their scholarly work. Research activities in the center have received significant national and global recognition and have led to high-level, successful placements of graduate alumni in academia, leading industries, and national laboratories.

Tansu was also the recipient of the university-wide Libsch Early Career Research Award (2008) and Libsch Research Award (2019). Recently, he was also included in a list of the world’s top 2 percent of scientists, according to a study by researchers from Stanford University.

His life story as a professor was published in the form of a best-selling children’s book Nelson: the Boy who Loved to Read in his native country of Indonesia in 2015. He is also a co-author of another children’s book, Zoza from Kasmania – His Quest to Happiness, which was published in 2020.

“I am very proud of the high level of focus, persistence, and dedication that we have committed to advancing multidisciplinary research in photonics and nanoelectronics at Lehigh over the past 18 years. Our COT/CPN team members have accomplished a lot during this period,” says Tansu.

“Looking forward to my new role in Australia, I am very excited to further advance excellence in teaching and ensure a high-quality learning experience for students at The University of Adelaide. My goals also include further expanding both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary scholarly activities, creating a healthy and collaborative ecosystem that fosters innovation and research excellence, and advancing and strengthening the university and its School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering on the global stage.”



Related Links:

  • Rossin College Faculty Profile: Nelson Tansu
  • IEEE: Newly Elevated Fellow Class 2021
  • Website: Tansu Group
  • Press Release: “Uni Adelaide Appoints Leading Engineering Scientist as Head of School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering”

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