University of South Florida

College of Arts & Sciences


Dr. Sarath Witanachchi elected Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors

Sarath Witanachichi, PhD.

Sarath Witanachichi, PhD.

Dr. Sarath Witanachchi, USF College of Arts and Sciences Department of Physics chair and professor, is one of five USF faculty members who have been named by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) to its new class of 2023 Senior Members.  

NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI member institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies having real impact on the welfare of society. They also have growing success in patents, licensing and commercialization, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors. 

“I served as an Executive Committee member of the Academy of Inventors since Dr. Paul Sanberg founded this organization over a decade ago,” Witanachchi said. “It became a national organization very rapidly. It is a great honor to be recognized as a Senior Member of NAI after all these years.” 

With training in both physics and electrical engineering, Witanachchi has focused on developing new materials and nanostructures toward novel devices. His work encompasses technologies and methods to improve fabrication of coatings, spectroscopic imaging, and conversion of heat to electricity.    

He’s also focusing on developing innovative technologies for renewable energy harvesting. His research has pioneered the advanced materials and processes to increase the efficiencies of solar energy power production, and hybrid technologies to make photovoltaics a global and accessible source of energy.  

He has served as a faculty member at USF for 33 years, with more than 30 years of research and mentorship to his name.  

“I received my first NSF grant at USF 30 years ago and have been able to maintain continuous federal funding as a principal investigator (PI) or Co-PI since then,” he said. “All the students graduating with a PhD from my research program are employed at reputable institutions.” 

He has also been involved in several international programs, such as study abroad or international research experience, that help to connect USF students to the global community.   

“It is very rewarding to observe how these experiences change their view of the world and more understanding of other cultures,” he said.  

As chair, Witanachchi takes great pride in the Applied Physics program.  

“The PhD program in Applied Physics at USF is the only such program in the State of Florida,” he said. “Application oriented research conducted by faculty train our graduates to excel in industries and institutions that are developing cutting-edge technologies.” 

Learn more about the USF NAI Senior Members from USF News.  

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About CAS

The College of Arts and Sciences is the intellectual heart of the University of South Florida. We are a community of teachers and scholars united in the belief that broadly educated people are the basis of a just, free, and prosperous society. By focusing on the big questions facing all of humanity, we prepare students for successful, socially responsible personal and professional lives. By conducting innovative, interdisciplinary research and scholarship, we advance knowledge in ways that prepare us to address complex social and scientific problems and enhance the quality of life for people and communities.