Friday, October 10, 2008

Know our people - Rangaswamy Srinivasan

Rangaswamy Srinivasan

Rangaswamy Srinivasan is inventor at IBM Research. One of the famous inventions he has contributed to is LASIK.
Born Feb 28 1929

Far Ultraviolet Surgical and Dental Procedures
Patent Number(s) 4,784,135

Inducted 2002

In 1981, Rangaswamy Srinivasan discovered that an ultraviolet excimer laser could etch living tissue in a precise manner with no thermal damage to the surrounding area. He named the phenomenon Ablative Photodecomposition (APD)

Invention Impact

Srinivasan and his co-inventors ran tests using the excimer laser and a conventional, green laser to etch organic matter. They discovered that while the green laser produced rough incisions, damaged by charring from the heat, the excimer laser produced clean, neat incisions. In 1983, Srinivasan collaborated with an ophthalmic surgeon to develop APD to etch the cornea. It resulted in a procedure to correct vision known today as LASIK surgery. Since the introduction of LASIK, millions of people have taken advantage of this procedure that reduces dependency on corrective lenses.


Dr. Srinivasan obtained his B.Sc in Chemistry and his M.S. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Madras, India. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Southern California in 1956. After post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology and at the University of Rochester, he joined the IBM, T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY as a research staff member. He devoted the entire span of thirty years at the IBM Research Center to fundamental investigations on the action of ultraviolet photons from mercury lamps as well as excimer lasers on organic materials including small molecules, polymers and tissue. Since 1990 he has continued this work at his own company, UVTech Associates.

In addition to numerous awards received during his career at IBM, Dr. Srinivasan received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965, the 1997 National Award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society, the G.H. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest in 1997 and the 1997 Indian Scientist of the Year Award from the Association of Indians in the U.S.

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