Harvard MRSEC Federico Capasso named a 2023 Citation Laureate
71 Citation Laureates have gone on to receive a Nobel Prize
By Leah Burrows
September 20, 2023
Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and a Harvard University NSF-MRSEC Seed researcher, has been named a 2023 Citation Laureate by the analytics company Clarivate.
Citation Laureates honor researchers who are considered likely to win the Nobel Prize based on the citation impact of their published research. This year, 23 laureates were chosen in the fields of physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry and economics. Each has at least one paper that has been cited more than 2,000 times since 1970.
Since 2002, 71 Citation Laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their respective fields.
"The achievements of the Citation Laureates 2023 are not just notable, but emblematic of the kind that Clarivate identifies as Nobel-worthy. These research giants publish papers that garner more than 2,000 citations, a truly rare accolade, that should be celebrated. This list recognizes many decades of work, laying ground for countless discoveries and innovations that have transformed our world," said Emmanuel Thiveaud, Senior Vice President for Research & Analytics, Academia & Government at Clarivate.
Capasso is being recognized for his "pioneering research on photonics, plasmonics, and metasurfaces, as well as contributions to the invention of and improvements on the quantum cascade laser."
Capasso has four papers with more than 2,000 citations, including his seminal 1994 paper describing the breakthrough of the quantum cascade laser. His most cited work, with more than 8,000 citations, is his 2011 paper on the discovery of the generalized laws of refraction and reflection, which paved the way for the metasurface revolution.
Since 1986, Capasso's publications have more than 110,000 citations.
Capasso's work has not only led to scientific breakthroughs but also to widely commercialized technological breakthroughs. The quantum cascade laser is one of the most widely used laser in the mid-infrared, a spectral region of paramount importance because most molecules have their telltale absorption fingerprints in this spectral region. Metalenz, a company spun out of Capasso's lab, is in partnership with major semiconductor manufacturers to produce metalenses for consumer electronics, smart home and industrial robotics and automotive applications, using the established technology of semiconductor chip manufacturing.
This most recent recognition joins a long list of Capasso's honors and accolades, which includes membership in the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, a fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Inventors, the IEEE Sarnoff Award in Electronics (1991), the Materials Research Society Medal (1995), the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute (1997), the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics (1998), the Optica Wood Prize (2001), the IEEE Edison Medal (2004), the American Physical Society Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science (2004), the King Faisal Prize (2005), the Berthold Leibinger Zukunft Prize (2010), the Julius Springer Prize in Applied Physics (2010), the Jan Czochralski Award for lifetime achievements in Materials Science (2011), the European Physical Society's Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics (2013), the SPIE Gold Medal (2013), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Rumford Prize (2015), the International Balzan Foundation Prize (2016), the Enrico Fermi Prize of the Italian Physical Society (2018), the Matteucci medal of the Italian National Academy of Sciences (2019), the Ives Medal and Jarus W. Quinn Prize of Optica (2021).
Three other Harvard faculty have been named among this year's Citation Laureates: Clifford B. Saper, James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School; Raj Chetty, William A. Ackman Professor of Economics; and Edward L. Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics.