Regarded as the "father of surface emitting semiconductor lasers" (VCSELs), Kenichi Iga's work has significantly impacted high-speed communications. Since his first demonstration of a VCSEL in 1979 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he has established the fundamental technical and theoretical bases for the lasers and inspired much research in the field. Today, approximately 75% of all telecommunications lasers sold are VCSELs, mostly for Gigabit Ethernet and fiber channels. Professor Iga is the author of several books, including Fundamentals of Microoptics and Surface Emitting Lasers, and numerous papers.
A Fellow of the IEEE; the Optical Society of America; and the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers of Japan, he has received many honors including the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society William Streifer Award for Scientific Achievement, the Asahi Prize and Japan's Purple Ribbon Medal. He is Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, executive director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and a guest professor of Kogakuin University.