UI professor named to national engineering academy

URBANA — A University of Illinois graduate and engineering professor was recently elected into the National Academy of Engineering.

J. Gary Eden, the Gilmore Family Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UI, is among 67 new members and 11 foreign associates announced by the academy this week.

Election to the academy is considered one of the highest professional honors for an engineer. Members — there are 2,250 members and 214 foreign associates — are distinguished by their contributions to the fields of technology and engineering.

Eden earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the UI in 1976. He worked at the Naval Research Laboratory before returning to Illinois as a faculty member in 1979.

Eden uses lasers to study how visible and ultraviolet light interact with matter. He was honored "for development and commercialization of micro-plasma technologies and excimer lasers," according to a news release.

His work has led to advances in multiple areas of application. For example, excimer lasers, a class of ultraviolet lasers Eden developed, are used in semiconductor manufacturing and clinically for eye surgeries. His work also has advanced such areas as ultrafast spectroscopy, which uses laser pulses to study the interactions between atoms and molecules, and photochemical vapor deposition, which uses lasers to deposit thin films of semiconductors and other materials on a surface.

"It is wonderful to see such significant recognition of the advancements in micro-plasma and laser engineering that have come from Gary Eden's work," said Ilesanmi Adesida, the UI's provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. "The strides that he has made in both furthering basic science and developing practical applications exemplify the research mission" of the university.

Eden is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Optical Society of America, and the SPIE (the international society for Optical Engineering). He also is affiliated with the Coordinated Science Laboratory and the Micro and Nano Technology Laboratory at the UI.

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