Larry West, PhD, graduated from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with a simultaneous BS/MS in applied physics. During graduate school, he worked in the O-group with Lowell Wood and other Hertz Fellows, as described in the book Star Warriors by Bill Broad. As a Hertz Fellow, his PhD in applied physics from Stanford University was discovery of the intersubband transition in semiconductors, which lead to many subsequent devices such as the quantum cascade laser.
West worked at AT&T Bell Labs for nine years, where he also pioneered high confinement waveguides, smaller than a wavelength, and commonly used in Silicon Photonics. He then founded a company for optics alignment, then another company for high speed data communication. West was director of photonics at Applied Materials for six years, leading an effort for low cost Terabit/s chip to chip optical communication. West then joined Calmar Laser, which helped pioneer ultrafast fiber lasers into applications such as femtosecond Cataract surgery. West now consults on medical laser devices while developing laser robotic devices in his company, Swift Control Systems.
1986, Hertz Thesis Prize, Fannie & John Hertz Foundation