Professor Sajeev John

Department of Physics

Appointed a University Professor in 2001

Professor John is one of the world's leading condensed-matter theorists. His work on the propagation of light in matter has transformed our understanding of that field. His name is synonymous with the field that has become known as "photonic crystals." The term "photonic crystals" refers to a new class of artificial optical materials that will almost certainly form the basis of revolutionary new technologies in the 2lst century. The basic concept was developed in a series of papers by Professor John in the 1980's.

An entire "industry" has evolved from Professor John's pioneering work on the localization of light and the development of photonic crystals. The breadth and extent of activity in this field are both growing at an unbelievably rapid pace. Large-scale photonic crystals have already found application in microwave transmission systems. Most people believe that the impact will be even greater when smaller-scale crystals that operate in the near infrared and visible part of the spectrum are fully developed. Groups from all over the world are working on this problem. The obvious applications lie in the area of optical communications. It is hoped that the use of electrons to transmit messages within telecommunications devices and computers can be replaced by light, thus leading to faster, cheaper and more versatile tools that would transform the computer and telecommunications industries. Other important uses of this concept will no doubt emerge as more research is done.

Professor John has continued to define the frontier of the field since joining the University of Toronto. As well as being widely recognized as the originator of a tremendously important field of pure and applied research, Professor John continues to identify the most interesting and challenging aspects of the field. Professor John was winner of the Herzberg Medal (1995) awarded by the Canadian Associations of Physics and of a Steacie Prize (1997) by NSERC and has received Killam and Guggenheim Fellowships. His work was internationally recognized when he was named co-winner of one of the science community's most prestigious awards, the 2001 King Faisal International Prize in Science. In the same year, he also received the Humboldt Senior Scientist Award (Germany). In 2002, Dr. John was one of the recipients presented with the first-ever Premier's Platinum Medal for Research Excellence and a $1 million research award for his groundbreaking research on photonic crystals.

Professor John did his undergraduate work at MIT, then completed his Ph.D. at Harvard. He joined the University of Toronto in 1989 from Princeton University. Professor John is among the first cohort of faculty at the University of Toronto to be awarded a senior Canada Research Chair.

Click here for Professor John's website.