Jerry R. Meyer

Naval Research Laboratory

Photo of Jerry R. Meyer

Frontiers of Infrared Semiconductor Lasers

In the last 15 years, the spectral range for high-performance III-V semiconductor lasers and detectors has expanded into the midwave and longwave infrared. Building on this foundation, we expect that with focused support from NSF and other government agencies, the next 15 years will witness a dramatic transformation of these macroscopic devices, which require bulky external optics, into building-block components for portable optoelectronic systems residing on a single chip. Photonic integrated circuits (PICs), processed on silicon or the native InP and GaSb substrates, will combine multiple lasers and detectors with other active and passive elements, and possibly incorporating metamaterial enhancements, to provide functionalities that currently require a benchtop. Inexpensive and ultra-compact chemical sensing PICs, operating with battery or solar power, will be deployed on smartphones and other portable platforms to provide biosensing, breath analysis, greenhouse gas monitoring, and industrial process control, as well as detection of leaks, hazardous gases and explosives. Dual-frequency-comb spectroscopy will provide simultaneous broadband detection of multiple chemical species, rapidly enough to probe molecular dynamics in real time. Wavelength-tunable, narrow-band detectors incorporating vertical and in-plane resonant cavities will provide hyperspectral detection and imaging with enhanced sensitivity. Metamorphic growth on silicon and other non-lattice-matched substrates will maximize wavelength flexibility and thermal control. Ion bombardment will supplement etching to provide electrical and optical isolation, while obviating sidewall conduction and scattering that degrade many current-generation devices.


Jerry R. Meyer received a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University in 1977. Since then he has carried out basic and applied research at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, where he is the Navy Senior Scientist for Quantum Electronics (ST). His research has focused on semiconductor optoelectronic materials and devices, especially new classes of lasers and detectors for the infrared. Dr. Meyer is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and SPIE. He is a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award (2016), ONR’s Captain Robert Dexter Conrad Award for Scientific Achievement (2015), NRL’s E. O. Hulbert Annual Science Award (2012), the IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award (2012), the Dr. Dolores M. Etter Top Navy Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award (2008), and the NRL Edison Chapter Sigma Xi Award for Pure Science (2003). He has co-authored more than 400 refereed journal articles that have been cited more than 27,000 times (H-Index = 65), one book (Bands and Photons in III-V Semiconductor Quantum Structures, Oxford University Press, 2021), 39 patents granted, and more than 190 Invited, Plenary, Keynote, and Tutorial conference presentations.