The Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics arose from the merger of two previous longstanding Lehigh research centers: the Center for Optical Technologies and the Sherman Fairchild Center for Solid-State Studies, both significantly funded by external resources.
Sherman Fairchild Foundation
The Sherman Fairchild Foundation was established in honor of the late inventor, investor, and pioneer in photography, aviation, and sound engineering. The foundation endowed a major grant to establish the Sherman Fairchild Center at Lehigh in the fall of 1976. The purpose of the center was to strengthen and further develop a program of excellence in nanoscience and engineering through the integration of research and education for both undergraduate and graduate students, forging a collaborative program between engineering, physical sciences, and life science.
Smith Family Laboratory for Optical Technologies
In 2010, Daniel E. Smith ’71, Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Riley, established the Smith Funds for Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering at Lehigh to expand the institutions research capabilities and position the university to compete on a new level. The philosophy behind Smith’s gift was to reward innovative thinking and create incentives for collaboration. In addition to supporting students and post-doctoral researchers, the funds served as catalytic investments that have ignited successful new research programs.
The Smith family gift has helped advance Lehigh’s research enterprise in fundamental ways, which included stimulating and sustaining increased research activity, positioning faculty within and beyond the Center for Photonics and Nanoelectronics (CPN) as international leaders in their respective fields, and securing the institution’s place among premier residential research universities.
Smith also established the Daniel E. ’39 and Patricia M. Smith Endowed Chair of the Center of Optical Technologies at Lehigh, in honor of his parents, and he provided for the creation of the Smith Family Laboratory for Optical Technologies, a three-story addition to Sinclair Laboratory housing an optoelectronics cleanroom and an epitaxial growth facility.