Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has been elected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Capasso was chosen for his “highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development, and welfare of society.”

The NAI was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.

Capasso is known for his pioneering work in nanoscale science and technology ranging from the invention of quantum cascade lasers to flat optics based on metasurfaces, which is revolutionizing the design of lenses. His research has encompassed a broad range of topics including band-structure engineering of semiconductor nanostructures, quantum devices, the discovery of repulsive Casimir forces and plasmonics.

Capasso holds 70 U.S. patents. In 2010, he co-founded EOS Photonics to market Quantum Cascade Laser-based sensors of gases for atmospheric science and security; standoff detection of hazardous vapors and condensed phase materials; and molecular spectroscopy. In 2015, it merged with Pendar Medical to form Pendar Technologies, which is focused on bringing breakthrough portable analysis and monitoring systems to market.

In 2016, he co-founded Metalenz which is focused on bringing to market metalenses for a wide range of applications.

The NAI induction ceremony will be held on April 11, 2019, at the Space Center Houston in Houston, TX.

Capasso is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His awards include the IEEE Sarnoff Award in Electronics (1991), the Materials Research Society Medal (1995), the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute (1997), the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics (1998), the Optical Society Wood Prize (2001), the IEEE Edison Medal (2004), the American Pysical Society Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2004), the King Faisal Prize (2005), the Berthold Leibinger Zukunft Prize (2010), the Julius Springer Prize in Applied Physics (2010), the Jan Czochralski Award for lifetime achievements in Materials Science (2011), the European Physical Society's Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics (2013), the SPIE Gold Medal (2013), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Rumford Prize (2015), the International Balzan Foundation Prize (2016) and the Enrico Fermi Prize of the Italian Physical Society (2018)

Other SEAS NAI fellows include Jennifer Lewis, Donald Ingber and David Mooney.