Emmanuel Desurvire

  • From:

    Alcatel Alsthom Research Center | Marcoussis, France

  • Year:

    1998

  • Subject:

    Engineering

  • Award:

    Benjamin Franklin Medal

  • Citation:

    With David Payne, for fundamental technical contributions and leadership critical to the successful development of the Erbuim-Doped Fiber Amplifier and for the championship of this project.

Emmanuel Desurvire received his Ph.D. from the University of Nice and subsequently moved to the U.S., where he pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University in the area of active fiber devices. He then worked at AT&T Bell Labs and Columbia University before returning to France. In 1994, Desurvire received the prize of the International Commission for Optics, which is awarded to individuals who make noteworthy contributions to the field of optics before reaching 40 years of age.

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