Aydogan Ozcan Receives the 2023 SPIE Dennis Gabor Award in Diffractive Optics

The SPIE Dennis Gabor Award in Diffractive Optics recognizes outstanding accomplishments in diffractive wavefront technologies, especially those that further the development of holography and metrology applications


Ozcan in his laboratory.

Aydogan Ozcan is the Chancellor’s Professor and the Volgenau Chair for Engineering Innovation at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and holds a professorship with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He leads the Bio- and Nano-Photonics Laboratory at UCLA and is also the associate director of the California NanoSystems Institute. During his career, Ozcan has led in the field of diffractive optical processors designed by deep-learning methods, with thousands of citations to various papers from his lab. He is also a pioneer in lens-free, on-chip microscopy and holography systems, and in the use of computational optics for the development of next-generation imaging, sensing, and diagnostics tools, with several of these being integrated into smartphones. Some examples of the smartphone-based optical technologies that Ozcan’s lab pioneered include fluorescence, brightfield and holographic microscopes, imaging flow cytometers, immunochemical diagnostic test readers, bacteria/pathogen sensors, blood analyzers, allergen detectors, and air quality monitors — all integrated with compact and cost-effective interfaces.

The Society has previously recognized Ozcan, an SPIE Fellow, with its 2011 Early Career Achievement Award and with its inaugural Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award in 2013. He’s a regular participant and speaker at BiOS and OPTO during SPIE Photonics West, and acts as a conference chair and on conference program committees for both. In 2022, he was also conference chair for the SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering conference at SPIE Photonics West.

“I have known Dr. Ozcan since he started at UCLA as a faculty member,” says Dean of Engineering at Bar-Ilan University Professor Zeev Zalevsky. “It was remarkable to observe his groundbreaking research contributions to holography and lens-free holographic microscopy and his scientific productivity over the years. In addition to his outstanding research and scholarly output, Dr. Ozcan has been running a large-scale undergraduate research and training program at UCLA, involving 45-plus undergraduate researchers every quarter, whoconduct optics and photonics research in his lab. So far, this program has led to more than 150 journal articles and over 300 conference proceedings, where at least one undergraduate student serves as a co-author. These students come from various departments at UCLA and conduct optics and holography-related research in teams, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary design and hands-on experience. Approximately 40% of these students are female, which represents an outstanding diversity compared to national averages in STEM-related fields. Ozcan’s extraordinary research achievements, together with the outstanding dissemination of his scholarship and his active support and mentorship of others, clearly indicate the massive impact and exceptional creativity of his risk-taking, pioneering, and collaborative work in our field.”