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Tingye Li Innovation Prize awarded to doctoral student Benjamin Crockett 

February 15, 2023 | Julie Robert

Update : February 16, 2023

Prestigious award for innovative ideas in optics goes to a Canadian scientist for the first time.

Award and distinctions

Benjamin Crockett is the first scientist from a Canadian university to receive the Tingye Li Innovation

Doctoral student Benjamin Crockett, who joined Professor José Azaña’s group in 2014 at the Institut national de la recherche scientifiques (INRS), is the recipient of the Tingye Li Innovation Prize.

He is the first scientist from a Canadian university to receive the Tingye Li Innovation Prize at the OFC conference – the largest global conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals. 

Established in 2013, this prize honors the global impact of physicist Tingye Li in the field of optics and photonics. It is awarded annually by Optica to an early career scientist who demonstrates innovative ideas in their presentation at OFC or CLEO conferences.

It is one of the most important and coveted awards for research work in the field of communications and optics.

“The unveiling of this award was a great surprise. I remember watching this award being presented at conferences, thinking that it was out of reach for me. This is a significant event in my career as a scientist, although being able to present my work at a world-class conference like OFC is an accomplishment in itself.”

— Benjamin Crockett, INRS doctoral student

The student is recognized for his selected publication “Enhancing the Quantum Correlation of Biphotons via Coherent Energy Redistribution” which is a collaborative work with his colleagues Nicola Montaut, James van Howe, Piotr Roztocki, Yang Liu, Robin Helsten, Wei Zhao, Roberto Morandotti, and José Azaña.

He will present his work at the OFC 2023 in March, in San Diego.

Reducing noise in quantum systems

The doctoral student in energy and materials science is studying the problem of noise in quantum technologies.

Quantum technologies are going to have a profound effect on society, especially in modeling complex quantum systems to develop better batteries or to establish ultra-secure communications.

However, the problem of noise in quantum systems is generally considered as one of the key problems (if not, the single most important one) preventing the practical implementation of these technologies. Benjamin Crockett’s work on Professor Azaña’s team aims to solve the problem of noise in quantum systems so these technologies can be deployed in real-life scenarios.

“I hope we will be able to put our proposed technique into practice through international collaborations with different research groups, especially in quantum computing and satellite communications,” says Crockett.   

A promising future 

This award highlights techniques developed by the INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre’s group.

“This award is an honour for Benjamin and for our group, and a great recognition for this strategic research field at the heart of the INRS and the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre’s mission. This speaks very highly of the quality of our student community and research staff, and the scope of the work we are conducting across Quebec and beyond.”

Professor José Azaña, who specializes in optical fiber telecommunications.

“I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor José Azaña, who has always encouraged me to suggest innovative techniques to address real problems in photonics and quantum optics. He is an exceptional mentor who has always given me the support and freedom to develop new ideas,” adds Benjamin Crockett.

About the Tingye Li Innovation Prize

This honour is endowed by Alliance Fiber Optic Products, Inc., AT&T, Optica, the IEEE Photonics Society, the IEEE Communications Society, Thorlabs, Inc., the Li family, and supporters of the Tingye Li Memorial Fund.

For more about the research’s group ⟶