Andrea Armani Receives the 2022 Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award 

USC Viterbi Staff | March 1, 2022

Honor awarded to individuals who served as leaders in their science communities 

Earlier today, USC Viterbi’s Vice Dean for New Initiatives, Andrea Armani, was awarded The Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award from Optica (formerly, OSA).  Named for Robert E. Hopkins, considered “the father of optical engineering,” the award was established in 1997 “to strengthen the link between the optics community and the public.”

Armani was recognized for her recent work in identifying barriers to career advancement, including the role played by in-person or online, scientific STEM field conferences, and studying on how virtual spaces can advance diversity, equity and inclusion. In order to bring the photonics community together, she co-chaired the first virtual photonics conference–which (prior to the pandemic) brought together academics from different continents. Professor Armani was also recognized for her long-term efforts to foster interest in STEM and photonics through mentoring and community outreach activities. Her Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences lab has been home to over 100 undergraduate and graduate students.

“Developing new ways to lower communication and technical dissemination barriers is a foundation to achieving equality,” Armani said, “I’m incredibly honored to have my work in this field and recognized by my peers with the Robert E. Hopkins Leadership Award.”

This is the third major distinction the scholar of chemistry, materials science, physics, and electrical engineering has received this academic year.  At the end of 2021, she was elected as a Fellow to the National Academy of Inventors. In January 2022, Armani was named a AAAS Fellow for ‘original, high-impact contributions to nanomaterial design and integrated photonics, contributions to science outreach, and mentorship to students.’

Armani, the Ray R. Irani Chair in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, aims in her research to invent new nanomaterials and optical devices that are applicable in portable disease diagnostics and telecommunications. To accomplish this goal, she combines multiple disciplines in engineering and sciences and frequently collaborates with industry partners. Recently, by combining organic chemistry with optical engineering, she has demonstrated new strategies for making photon pair generators, frequency combs, and Raman lasers. Specifically, by nanostructuring the surface of a resonator with broadly-applicable surface chemistry, she was able to simultaneously improve the lasing efficiency and to also reduce the lasing threshold of a silica cavity-based laser. In related work, her team demonstrated photon pair production in an integrated photonic device architecture with sub-mW input powers. Both projects synergistically combine physics, engineering, and chemistry to advance the field of optics in new directions that ultimately benefit societal good.

Armani, who also serves as the director of the John O’Brien Nanofabrication Laboratory, has received numerous recognitions throughout her career. They include the ONR Young Investigator Award, the White House Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and the World Economic Forum “Young Global Leader”. She is also a Fellow of Optica, SPIE, AAAS, and NAI.

Published on March 1st, 2022

Last updated on March 1st, 2022

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