Adrian Korpel
2013 Laurence Court
Iowa City, Iowa 52240


Born: February 18, 1932, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


B.S.E.E. University of Delft, The Netherlands, 1953 M.S.E.E. University of Delft, The Netherlands, 1955 Ph.D. University of Delft, The Netherlands, 1969


1955-1960 Research Engineer, Postmaster General's Department Research Laboratories, Melbourne, Australia
1960-1963 Research Engineer, Zenith Radio Corporation, Chicago, Illinois
1963-1975 Manager, Light Modulation Group, Zenith Radio Corp., Chicago, Illinois
1975-1977 Director of Research in Engineering Physics, Zenith Radio Corporation, Chicago, Illinois
1977-present Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Iowa


Associate Foreign Member, Royal Academy of Belgium (Div. of Sciences)
Fellow, Optical Society of America
Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Member, Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers


Dr. Adrian Korpel

Dr. Korpel received the M.S.E.E. degree from the University of Delft, Holland, in 1955 and his Ph.D. degree (cum laude) from the same university in 1969. His thesis concerns the theoretical and experimental aspects of Bragg Diffraction Imaging, an optical technique of sound field imaging which he invented in 1966.

From 1956 to 1960 Dr. Korpel worked in the research laboratories of the Postmaster General's Department in Melbourne, Australia. His investigations included information theoretical aspects of bandwidth reduction in television, microwave non reciprocal (ferrite) devices and diode parametric amplifiers.

In 1960 he joined Zenith Radio Corporation where he continued his investigations of parametric networks. This eventually led to the independent discovery and demonstration of non reciprocity in such networks.

In 1962 he became head of the newly formed Light Modulation Group whose objective was to investigate the potential applications of lasers to television. The initial research was performed with ruby lasers; one of the scientific results was the demonstration of light induced amplification and generation of sound.

Subsequent work on light deflection and modulation led to his researches in the general field of acousto-optics. With T.M. Smith he introduced the definition and measurement of the, now commonly used, acousto-optic figure of merit for materials. The investigations as a whole resulted in the first all electronic laser T.V. projection system in 1966. This system used a specially developed acousto-optic modulator and phased array beam deflector which have since then become standard acousto-optic devices.

Following the work on T.V. projection, Dr. Korpel continued his investigations into more general applications of acousto-optics. He was instrumental in developing the field of acoustic surface wave measurements by optical heterodyning, an investigation which eventually led him to the invention of the laser scanned acoustic holographic camera. In turn this resulted in the development of the first true acoustic microscope. Other applications developed by him and his collaborators at that time were a fourier transform processor, an optical three dimensional sound probe and a method of television projection using time-frequency interchange.

In 1966 Dr. Korpel invented Bragg Diffraction Imaging, a method of sound field visualization by diffracted light. Subsequent work on this is described in his Ph.D. thesis of 1969. In the theoretical treatment of the subject he developed a simple ray tracing method based on an original eikonal theory of sound-light interaction.

Following his work on acousto-optics he pursued his investigations of acoustic imaging and holograph with particular emphasis on medical applications. In their experiments on the diagnosis of arteriosclerotic diseases and in subsequent work he and his collaborators demonstrated and analyzed the phenomenon of spurious detail. Their work indicated that, contrary to general expectations at the time, acoustic holography might be unsuitable for medical diagnosis.

In 1973 Dr. Korpel and his group started work on the project of optical video disc technology. An important aspect of this work was the international technical discussions with researchers at Thomson-CSF (France), Philips (Holland), Polygram (Germany) and MCA (U.S.), discussions which ultimately led to the formulation of technical recommendations for video disc standards.In 1975 Dr. Korpel was appointed to Director of Research in Engineering Physics. He left Zenith Radio Corporation in 1977 to join the University of Iowa in Iowa City. There he is continuing his research in acousto-optics in a more fundamental direction, and has developed broad general theories for the strong interaction of arbitrary light and sound fields in two dimensions and the weak interaction of such fields in three dimensions. The former theory uses so called Feynman diagrams, and Dr. Korpel has shown that this somewhat esoteric concept is also applicable to other engineering problems such as the transient analysis of networks with time delay.

In addition Dr. Korpel is actively pursuing the subject of nonlinear waves and has developed various engineering oriented formalisms of shock wave and soliton formation. He has investigated experimentally the phenomena of subharmonic generation and self refraction in capillary-gravity waves. Other research into nonlinear phenomena include electronic phase conjugation and electronic holography, polarized optical instability and numerical simulation of multi-dimensional soliton interaction and evolution.

A third aspect of Dr. Korpel's present research is microscopy and metrology. In particular, the area of near field optical microscopy is under active investigation.

While with Zenith Radio Corporation, Dr. Korpel shared two IR-100 awards for helping develop "one of the most significant new technical products of the year": the Acousto-Optic Light Modulator (1971) and the Ultrasonic Microscope (1975). In 1977 the Citizens Council of Metropolitan Chicago named Dr. Korpel an Outstanding New Citizen "for his special scientific researches and discoveries for the practical benefit of mankind".

In 1975 Dr. Korpel was elected to Fellow of the IEEE for "contributions to the understanding and applications of acousto-optic interactions". In 1984 he was awarded a Von Humboldt award by the West German government and spent a year at the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Erlangen, where he did research on optical instability as applied to optical computers. In 1987 he was elected an Associate Foreign Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium (Div. of Sciences). In 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America. Dr. Korpel has published over 120 technical and scientific papers and has been awarded thirty six patents. He has written a book on the fundamentals of acousto-optics, published by Marcel Dekker in 1988, and edited a book on selected reprints in acousto-optics, published by SPIE in 1990.

In addition to his academic activities, Dr. Korpel is president of his own consulting company: Korpel Arts and Sciences, Inc.