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Biographical Sketch

( Full CV available at http://people.bu.edu/teich/cv.html )


Since 2011, Malvin Carl Teich has been pursuing his research interests as Professor Emeritus in Boston University and in Columbia University, and as a Visiting Research Professor in The College of Optics & Photonics (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida (Orlando). He is a consultant to government and private industry and has served as an expert in numerous patent conflict cases. Dr. Teich is most widely known for his work in photonics and for his studies of fractal stochastic processes and information transmission in biological systems. His current efforts in photonics are directed toward the characterization of noise in photon streams, the development of entangled-photon quantum-information systems, and the relative merits of using nonclassical and classical light. His work in fractals is directed toward elucidating the information-carrying properties of sensory-system action-potential patterns and the nature of heart-rate variability in patients with coronary disorders.

From 1995 to 2011, Professor Teich served as a faculty member at Boston University in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (as Director of the Quantum Photonics Laboratory and as a member of the Photonics Center), the Department of Biomedical Engineering (as a member of the Program in Neuroscience and the Hearing Research Center), and the Department of Physics. In 2011 he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Physics in Boston University.

From 1967 to 1996, he was a faculty member at Columbia University, where he served as a member of the Electrical Engineering Department (as Chairman from 1978 to 1980), the Applied Physics Department, the Columbia Radiation Laboratory in the Department of Physics, and the Fowler Memorial Laboratory at the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons. Carrying out work on optical heterodyning, he recognized that the interaction could be understood in terms of the absorption of individual polychromatic photons and demonstrated the possibility of implementing the process in a multiphoton configuration. He developed the concept of nonlinear heterodyne detection - useful for canceling phase or frequency noise in an optical system. In collaboration with his students, and with colleagues at the College of Physicians & Surgeons and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, he conducted optical heterodyne measurements of the vibratory motion of individual sensory cells in the cochlea. He discovered that these cells vibrate spontaneously even when no acoustic signal is present and suggested that these vibrations could be the origin of spontaneous otoacoustic emissions.

During his tenure at Columbia, he also carried out extensive research in the areas of photon statistics and point processes, noise in avalanche photodiodes and fiber-optic amplifiers, the generation of squeezed light, and the ultimate sensitivity of the human visual system. Directing a multidisciplinary team, he experimentally determined that a single photon could be perceived at the human retina, provided that the false-positive rate was permitted to be sufficiently high. Among his achievements is a description of luminescence light in terms of clustered photon emissions. This perspective led him to suggest that detector dead time could be advantageously used to reduce photon clustering and thereby luminescence noise. He incorporated this approach in the design of the star-scanner guidance system for the Galileo spacecraft, which was subjected to strong radio- and beta-luminescence background light as a result of bombardment by copious Jovian gamma- and beta-ray emissions. In a similar vein, he suggested that dead space could be effectively used to minimize carrier clustering in the multiplication region of an avalanche photodiode. This implementation resulted in a new class of ultralow-noise avalanche photodetectors suitable for use in lightwave communication systems. His work on fiber-optic amplifiers led to an understanding of the statistical properties of the photons emerging from the amplification process and thereby to improved measures of performance for these devices. He subsequently showed that the same mathematical approach was applicable to modeling the flow of neural events in human sensory systems and for characterizing their performance. He also discovered the presence of fractal behavior in neural signals such as auditory- and visual-system action-potential sequences and neurotransmitter exocytosis. In the domain of quantum photonics, he developed a new form of shot noise with power-law properties — fractal shot noise — and used it to provide an accurate description of the photon statistics of Čerenkov radiation. He also developed the concept of pump-fluctuation control; using a space-charge-limited version of the classic Franck-Hertz experiment in mercury vapor, he demonstrated the validity of this concept by generating the first source of unconditionally photon-number-squeezed light. In 1996 he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Engineering Science and Applied Physics in Columbia University.

Dr. Teich's first professional association, in 1966, was with MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he used the then-new carbon-dioxide molecular laser to demonstrate that heterodyne detection could be achieved in the middle-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

His academic credentials include an S.B. degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. degree from Cornell University. His bachelor's thesis comprised a measurement of the total neutron cross section of palladium metal at the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory while his doctoral dissertation reported the first observation of the two-photon photoelectric effect in sodium metal. During the course of his career, he spent sabbatical leaves at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California at San Diego.

Dr. Teich is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). He is a member of Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi. In 1969 he received the IEEE Browder J. Thompson Memorial Prize for his paper "Infrared Heterodyne Detection" and in 1973 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1992 he was honored with the Memorial Gold Medal of Palacký University in the Czech Republic and in 1997 he was the recipient of the IEEE Morris E. Leeds Award. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Scholar Award of Boston University. Dr. Teich has authored or coauthored some 350 refereed journal articles/book chapters and some 550 conference presentations/lectures; he holds six patents. He is the coauthor of Fundamentals of Photonics (Wiley, 1991, 2nd Ed. 2007, with B. E. A. Saleh), which has been translated into Czech, Japanese, German, Russian, and (simplified) Chinese, and of Fractal-Based Point Processes (Wiley, 2005, with S. B. Lowen).

Among his professional activities, he served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Panel for the journal Optics Letters from 1977 to 1979, as a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation from 1989 to 1992, and as Deputy Editor of the journal Quantum Optics from 1988 to 1994. Dr. Teich is currently a Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Jemná Mechanika a Optika and a Traveling Lecturer of the Optical Society of America.



Last Updated: 1 September 2013
All Contents Copyright © Malvin Carl Teich 1996-2013