Dr. Wiriyah Chupaween was born in Thailand. Grown up in Bangkok, and went abroad to pursue secondary education and bachelor degree in China.  He graduated in 1964 from Nankai University, Tianjin, China, majoring physics and concentrated on optics. Upon graduation he joined Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai and worked as research physicist and optical engineer for 12 years. In 1976, he moved to Hong Kong and worked at Hong Kong University as director, medical audio-visual department.

To pursue his study and research he moved to the US in 1978, where he earned his MS and PhD degrees from The Pennsylvania State University, both in Electrical Engineering. His career as a graduate student, chief engineer, and research scientist in the US during 1978 to 1993 was full of pioneering research projects covering a vast area of holography, laser technology and optical information technology.

His profound theoretical background and extensive hands-on experience were valued at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, USA. In 1993 he was invited to join National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) in Thailand. He started photonics programs at NECTEC by establishing the Electro-Optics Lab and taught as a visiting professor in optics and photonics at Chulalongkorn University.

As part of his efforts to promote photonics technology and industries, Dr. Wiriyah introduced hologram manufacturing technology into Thailand by setting up and operating Thailand’s first production line in 1994, as a pilot factory for embossed-hologram manufacturing. The effort was to help establish Thailand’s own hologram industry. Ironically, the promotion of holograms instead contributed to the rapid growth of the domestic hologram market which, unfortunately, totally relied on imports from Taiwan and other countries. Dr. Wiriyah retired in 1999 after six years of working with NSTDA, and decided to further continue his effort in Thailand and founded Thailand’s first hologram manufacturing company named Azure Photonics Co., Ltd.