November 05, 2007 11:27 ET

NEC C&C Foundation Awards 2007 C&C Prize to Dr. Robert D. Maurer, Dr. John B. MacChesney, Dr. Tatsuo Izawa, and Dr. Kenichi Iga

TOKYO--(Marketwire - November 5, 2007) - NEC C&C Foundation today announced that the 2007 C&C Prize will be awarded to Dr. Robert D. Maurer, Dr. John B. MacChesney, Dr. Tatsuo Izawa, and Dr. Kenichi Iga. Each recipient will receive a certificate of merit and a plaque, and each group a total of 10 million yen.

The C&C Prize was established in 1985 and is awarded to distinguished persons in recognition of outstanding contributions to R&D activities and pioneering works related to the integration of computers and communications technologies and the social impact of developments in these fields. The award is divided into two groups, as outlined below.

The prize ceremony will be held on Wednesday, November 28 at 15:30 at ANA Intercontinental Hotel Tokyo and will be followed by acceptance speeches.

Group A
Dr. Robert D. Maurer:      Research Fellow, Corning Incorporated (Retired)
Dr. John B. MacChesney:    Fellow, Bell Laboratories (Retired)
Dr. Tatsuo Izawa:          Executive Vice President for Research,
                           Tokyo Institute of Technology
                           (Former President and CEO, NTT Electronics


For pioneering contributions to research and development resulting in low-loss optical fiber.


Dr. Robert D. Maurer, Dr. John B. MacChesney, and Dr. Tatsuo Izawa, along with their respective research teams, made pioneering contributions to research and development that resulted in low-loss optical fiber.

Dr. Maurer and his team at Corning successfully prepared optical fiber in 1970 by depositing titania-doped silica inside a quartz tube using a flame-hydrolysis process and sintering, and fused it to draw thread into fiber. They demonstrated that the light loss of the fiber had been reduced to as low as 20 dB/km for the first time. This was a landmark achievement suggesting that optical fiber had great potential as a practical transmission medium.

Dr. MacChesney and his colleagues at Bell Laboratories developed a fiber preparation method called modified chemical-vapor deposition (MCVD) in 1974. This provided an easily-implemented means of producing germanium-doped silica glass fiber and resulted in a practical deposition rate. Deposition was done in a glass tube to form a porous coating, which was sintered into transparent glass by being heated successively along the tube with a moving burner. After repeating this deposition, the tube and the coating were drawn to make fiber.

Encouraged by the results, experiments and commercial tests on optical transmission became active with the aim of attaining an optical-fiber system for practical use. In 1977, Dr. Izawa et al. at NTT greatly improved the productivity and reduced the light loss with the vapor-phase axial-deposition (VAD) method. Here, they grew a porous glass cylinder downward in the axial direction from the end of a starting glass using multiple torches.

Now, optical-fiber loss has been lowered to less than 0.2 dB/km. As a result, optical communications networks are widely used as a valuable part of social infrastructure. The pioneering research and development by Dr. Maurer, Dr. MacChesney, and Dr. Izawa and their respective teams had an enormous impact on this widespread use.

Group B
Dr. Kenichi Iga:  President, Tokyo Institute of Technology
                  (Former Executive Director, Japan Society for the
                  Promotion of Science)


For the invention of the vertical cavity surface emitting laser and the resultant contributions to the progress of optoelectronics.


Dr. Kenichi Iga invented the vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1977. The VCSEL is based on an entirely new device structure enabling laser emission vertically from the surface of a substrate. In 1979, he demonstrated the surface emission under a pulsed condition. However, he had to persevere for over a decade before showing continuous surface emission at room temperature. This was a requirement for practical applications. The difficulties arose from the fundamentally short active region length in the laser resonator structure for a different order of magnitude.

Under such circumstances, Dr. Iga and his laboratory team overcame the difficulties by improving various aspects, such as the reflection layer structure and active layer configuration. That is, he introduced a short-distance optical resonator structure, a reflector formed from dielectric multi-layer reflection layers, a circular buried-hetero-structure (CBH), and the confinement of current in an active region for both GaAs and InP base configurations. After those extensive works, he and his team finally succeeded in achieving continuous surface emission at room temperature in 1988. Subsequently, several research organizations, starting with Bell Laboratories, reported continuous surface emission. Then, developments such as lowering the threshold of emission led to the practical use of VCSELs around the world, resulting in commercialization of the products.

VCSELs have many advantages. The densely packed laser devices are fabricated using a fully monolithic process from a single wafer. In addition, probe tests can be done before dicing into chips, leading to low-cost production. Other advantages such as low power consumption, single-frequency operation, and high-speed direct modulation operation paved the way for various applications: light sources for short-distance high-speed data communications such as gigabit Ethernet, laser printers, and optical mouse devices. Moreover, optical interconnects for a wide range of uses from supercomputers to cellular phones have recently gained a lot of attention as potential applications. The invention of the VCSEL by Dr. Iga and his pioneering research activities, which took the lead in creating new optoelectronics applications, have been highly praised.

Profiles of the recipients are available upon request.

About NEC C&C Foundation

The NEC C&C Foundation is a non-profit organization established in March 1985 to foster further growth in the electronics industry by encouraging and supporting research and development activities and pioneering work related to the integration of computers and communications technologies, that is, C&C, and ultimately to contribute to the world economy and the enrichment of human life. The Foundation is funded by NEC Corporation.

The Foundation currently has three main activities. It presents the annual C&C Prizes to recognize outstanding contributions to R&D activities and pioneering work in the area of C&C. Candidates are recommended from all over the world. Each prize winner receives a certificate, a plaque, and a cash award (ten million yen per group). Up to 2007, 74 prominent persons received the prize. In addition, an Outstanding Paper Award for Young C&C Researchers is awarded annually to one outstanding paper presented at an international conference overseas with the support of a grant from the Foundation. The recipient is given a cash award of 200,000 yen.

The Foundation also gives the following four grants: (1) grant to enable researchers in Japan to attend international conferences overseas to make presentations in the field of C&C, (2) grant to non-Japanese researchers in Japan, (3) grant to young researchers who have recently moved to a university in Japan, having received a doctorate from a different university, and (4) grant to students proceeding to doctoral courses (established in 2007).

The Foundation also studies the influences on the world economy and human life resulting from C&C developments.

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its diverse and global base of customers. NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. For additional information, please visit the NEC home page at:

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