Larry R. Dalton

Professor Emeritus
Larry Dalton


Ph.D. Harvard University, 1971

Over the last two decades, advances in electronics have revolutionized the speed with which we perform computing and communications of all kinds. Three key technologies combined to create a platform that enabled the electronic revolution: semiconductor materials, automated microfabrication of integrated electronic circuits, and integrated electronic circuit design. As a result, the mass manufacturing of low-cost integrated circuits has become possible. But now we are outgrowing the performance of electronics in many applications. Signal propagation and switching speeds in the electronic domain are inherently limited. One area where these limitations are seen clearly is in telecommunications, where bandwidth expansion is desperately needed. To overcome these barriers, we must enter a new computing and communications revolution-this time based on photonics. Photonics plays some crucial and complementing roles to electronics in many application domains. Examples of successful use of photonics can be found in broadband communications, high-capacity information storage, and large screen and portable information display. As demands for information bandwidth increase, information photonics is becoming more and more important in every aspect of today’s technology-driven society. The success of a new technology, however, largely depends on the progress achieved in finding and fabricating new high- performance and cost-effective materials. Recently, as the knowledge base of polymeric materials widened, new functions for polymers have been actively investigated. New and improved polymeric materials were found to show promises in generating, processing, transmitting, detecting, and storing light signals.