Brian Corbett, world-leading researcher from IPIC and Tyndall National Institute, has been awarded the 2021 Institute of Physics Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize.

The gold medal has been awarded for his identification and creation of breakthrough innovative photonic device technology solutions that have driven the development and growth of several startups, and major innovations by multinational companies.

On awarding the prize, the Institute of Physics (IOP) said: “Brian Corbett has raised visibility of Ireland’s high impact technology ability significantly on the world stage. He is an outstanding recipient for the Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize.

Brian Corbett has always demonstrated leadership in innovation and technology. He invented the technology that enabled the establishment of Eblana Photonics (2001) to commercialise a scalable laser manufacturing technology which drives down the cost of high-performance, single-wavelength lasers for diverse mass market applications. His work helped launch Firecomms, the first ever Irish startup to be acquired by a Chinese Corporation (ZJF). The acquisition included a €5 million investment in Firecomms’ engineering team in Cork, resulting in the growth of the team to ~30 today. He was also key to attracting X-Celeprint to establish their global headquarters in Tyndall in 2013, with X-Celeprint’s CEO accrediting the decision to the capabilities and vision of Corbett and his team. The company is developing and licensing patented Micro-Transfer-Print technology – a cost-effective and scalable manufacturing process for integrating microscale photonic devices onto silicon-based structures.

Not only is his work with startups and SMEs critical to the development of the Irish entrepreneurial and enterprise ecosystem, his partnerships with multinational companies have ensured enduring and fruitful relationships with companies such as Intel (as recognised by their 2013 Outstanding Researcher Award) and Seagate. Through his leadership and vision, more companies will spin out and grow – one is currently targeted on superluminescent LEDs.

On receiving his 2021 IOP award, Brian Corbett said: “I am truly honoured to receive this recognition and humbled to join all the previous prestigious winners of the IOP Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize, which recognises contribution to the application of physics in an industrial and commercial context.”

The team here at IPIC are really proud and send many congratulations to Brian on his great work!