James R. Fienup

James R. Fienup

  • Robert E. Hopkins Professor of Optics
  • Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Professor of Optics
  • Professor in the Center for Visual Science
  • Distinguished Scientist, Laboratory for Laser Energetics

PhD, Stanford University

410 Wilmot Building
(585) 275-8009


Short Biography

James R. Fienup received an AB in physics and mathematics from Holy Cross College (Worcester, MA), and MS and PhD (1975) degrees in applied physics from Stanford University, where he was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow. He performed research for 27 years at the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan and Veridian Systems, where he was a senior scientist. He joined the faculty at the University of Rochester in 2002 as the Robert E. Hopkins Professor of Optics. Professor Fienup is a fellow of Optica and of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), and is a senior member of IEEE. He was awarded the Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize for 1979 by the SPIE, the International Prize in Optics for 1983 by the International Commission for Optics, the Emmett N. Leith Medal by Optica for 2013 and became a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2012. He was a distinguished visiting scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2009. He was editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 1997-2003. He previously served as division editor of Applied Optics - Information Processing, and associate editor of Optics Letters. One of his papers [J.R. Fienup, “Phase Retrieval Algorithms: a Comparison,” Appl. Opt. 21, 2758-2769 (1982)] has received over 5,700 citations (Google Scholar) and is the most highly cited paper (out of over 50,000) in the journal Applied Optics.

Research Overview

Professor Fienup’s research interests center around imaging science. His work includes unconventional imaging, phase retrieval, wavefront sensing, and image reconstruction and restoration. These techniques are applied to passive and active optical imaging systems, synthetic-aperture radar, and biomedical imaging modalities. His past work has also included diffractive optics and image quality assessment. He has over 300 publications and 5 patents.

Research Interests

  • Phase retrieval
  • Wavefront Sensing
  • Image reconstruction and restoration
  • Unconventional imaging
  • Digital holography
  • Imaging with sparse apertures
  • Fourier optics
  • Synthetic-aperture radar