Prem Kumar is Professor of Information Technology in the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. His primary research focus is on photonic devices and their applications utilizing the principles of nonlinear and quantum optics. In particular: generation, distribution, and ultrafast processing of photonic entanglement for applications in quantum information networks; novel quantum light states for precision measurements, imaging, and sensing; and novel optical amplifiers and devices for networked classical optical communications.
Ph.D. graduates from his research group (32 completed & 4 in progress) have gone on to build careers in academia, industry, and US national labs. His group has cumulatively published >500 research papers (h-index: 52), including 1 edited book, 2 book chapters, 6 patents, >200 journal papers, 45 articles in hard-bound volumes, and 300 conference papers with >90 invited.
Earlier this year, Dr. Kumar returned to Northwestern after spending 4 years at DARPA, where he served as a Program Manager in the Defense Sciences Office. At DARPA, Dr. Kumar created and managed a ~$20M/year portfolio of programs in basic and applied sciences, targeting a diverse range of topics that included neuro science and engineering, ultrafast laser science and technology, precision navigation and timing, stand-off chem-bio defense, quantum effects in biological environments, and quantum information science and technology. He was also program manager for the Defense Science Study Group, which allowed him to interact with young academic faculty from universities all across the US in various national defense settings.
Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Kumar served on the National Academies Committee that issued the 2012 landmark study: “Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation,” which spawned the National Photonics Initiative. Dr. Kumar is a Fellow of the OSA, APS, IEEE, IoP (U.K.), AAAS, and SPIE. He has been a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Photonics Society, Hermann A. Haus Lecturer at MIT, recipient of the Quantum Communication Award from Tamagawa University in Tokyo, Japan, and the Walder Research Excellence Award from the Provost’s office at Northwestern University.