David N. Payne

David N.
Benjamin Franklin Medal
University of Southampton | Southampton, UK
With Emmanuel Desurvire, for fundamental technical contributions and leadership critical to the successful development of the Erbuim-Doped Fiber Amplifier and for the championship of this project.

Professor David Payne earned his Ph.D. at the University of Southampton, where he has worked ever since. He is on the advisory board of the Soviet Journal of Light Wave Communications, is an advisory editor of the Journal of Materials Science, and was program co-chair of the OSA Optical Amplifiers. In 1991, he was awarded the John Tyndall award for "distinguished contributions to fiber optics technology."

The joint invention of Payne and Desurvire is called the erbium-doped fiber amplifier, a small device that is at the heart of transmission of voice, video, and data over long distances at rates previously unimaginable. Their work enabled fiber optic communications to travel across the Pacific at a rate of 5 gigabits/second a capacity equal to 320,000 simultaneous phone calls. This technology has replaced the old optical signals that become increasingly distorted the farther they travel. The two men worked simultaneously and yet independent of each other to develop this next-generation amplifier, from its fundamental properties to its most applied aspects in system applications. Professor Payne, the academician, laid the groundwork, and Dr. Desurvire, the corporate researcher, built strongly upon that foundation to produce a viable product.

Information as of 1998