KAUST Professor Boon S. Ooi elected Fellow of U.S. National Academy of Inventors

KAUST Professor Boon S. Ooi was recently elected as a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors for his groundbreaking research work. Photo by Asharaf K. AbdulRahman.

By Caitlin Clark, KAUST News

KAUST Professor of Electrical Engineering Boon S. Ooi was recently elected as a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election as a Fellow means a researcher has "demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society," NAI stated.

Outstanding achievements

In 2019, 168 individuals were elected to Fellow status. Six individuals from the 2019 class previously received the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation or the U.S. National Medal of Science, and four are Nobel laureates. 2019's Fellows will be honored for their achievements at a Fellows Induction Ceremony on April 10 at The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.

NAI noted that Ooi "is a leader in the fields of semiconductor photonics and optical sensors. He has done pioneering work on the development of novel optoelectronics and distributed optical fiber sensors...His work on semiconductor photonic integration has made a significant impact to optical fiber communication and optical sensing industries."

Ooi's inventions in the areas of "semiconductor photonic integration and optical sensors are relevant to communications, health, energy and agriculture," the organization continued. "His [research] has helped improve the quality of life for many…His recent invention in [fiber sensors] solves the longstanding challenge of downhole sensing for the oil and gas industry…[and] his invention on distributed...[fiber] sensors has found a unique solution for the early detection of red palm weevil[s], an unresolved issue…that destroyed millions of palm trees, especially high value date trees, since 2011."

Professor Boon S. Ooi (second from right) works with members of his Photonics Laboratory group on the University's campus. Photo by Asharaf K. AbdulRahman.

Research impacting humanity

"I feel truly honored about being elected," Ooi said. "I will continue to work on research that will positively impact public welfare. All the credit for my election goes to my students, postdoctoral fellows, colleagues and collaborators."

"I am so impressed by the caliber of this year's class of NAI Fellows, [who are all] highly regarded in their respective fields," stated Paul R. Sanberg, president of the NAI. "The breadth and scope of their discoveries are truly staggering. I'm excited…to see their knowledge influence a whole new era of science, technology and innovation worldwide."

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