Carl J. Johnson

Carl J. Johnson is a long-time participant in the laser industry and its many segments that have evolved since the mid-1960’s.  In 1964, as a Senior in Electrical Engineering, he took the first course in laser technology ever taught at Purdue University.  He was captivated by the idea that one could amplify light and potentially use the resulting laser beams in a multitude of applications, all of which have by now come true.

He likes to say that he chose Electrical Engineering as a freshman at Purdue, loved it, and has never looked back.  He completed the BSEE degree at Purdue in 1964, the MSEE degree at MIT in 1965 and a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois in 1969.  Along with his continuing education, he was a full time employee at Bell Telephone Laboratories (working on Submarine Cable Amplifiers) from 1964 until 1966 and with Essex International (working on Advanced Automotive Electronics and Power Distribution) from 1966 through 1971.

In 1971, Carl founded II-VI Incorporated to produce high-performance, laser-optics quality Cadmium Telluride and other II-VI Compound Semiconductor Materials including Zinc Sulfide, Zinc Selenide and eventually Silicon Carbide and Diamond, that offered potential to support the evolution of middle-infrared lasers, mainly CO2 lasers, from power levels of a few hundred watts to levels of 7 to 10 kilowatts by the 1980’s.  II-VI became a public company in 1987 and has grown substantially by emphasizing its expertise in optics, optical materials, lasers, laser materials and compound semiconductors. II-VI currently manufactures optical, laser, electro-optical, optoelectronic and related devices, components and subsystems for industrial, material processing, medical, life science, tele-com/data-com, 3D-sensing and defense applications.  Carl served II-VI as its President, General Manager and a Board Member from 1971 until 1985, as its Chairman, CEO and a Director from 1985 until 2007, and as its Chairman and a Member of the Board from 2007 until 2014, when he retired from the company.

Since 2007, he has founded and/or become an investor in three start-up companies in technology areas of interest, namely:

  • SemiQ Incorporated, which specializes in the design, manufacture and application of Silicon Carbide (SiC) Power Electronic devices and components.
  • Clas-SiC Wafer Fab Limited, which has designed, built and now operates a SiC Wafer Fabrication plant dedicated to the rapid prototyping and low-rate manufacturing of SiC High-Power Schottky Barrier Diodes and High-Power MOSFET’s.
  • µ-Plasma O3 Technologies, which has introduced a new, Micro-Plasma Ozone generation technology into the design and manufacture of ozone generators and ozone-based components for water-purification, dental, food-preservation, commercial-laundry, surface-sterilization and potentially many other applications.