NEWS | July 5, 2012

Dr. Phillip Sprangle Receives Fred E. Saalfeld Award

By Daniel Parry

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory physicist, Dr. Phillip Sprangle, is awarded the 2012 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science.

Sprangle's research has had a major impact on the Navy's directed energy efforts, including the high-power fiber laser and free electron laser programs. His lifetime contributions to the field of free electron lasers has provided the impetus that has led to the formation of an ONR Innovative Navy Prototype (INP), to which he continues to make crucial contributions.

Named in honor of Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld, executive director and technical director for ONR from 1993 to 2002, the award recognizes a naval research scientist for extraordinary lifetime achievements in science that contributed substantially to the knowledge and capabilities of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, and the nation. It is the highest scientific award that ONR confers on a naval research scientist or engineer.

Joining the NRL Plasma Physics Division in 1974, Sprangle's primary research areas include: atmospheric propagation of high-energy laser beams, free electron lasers, high-power fiber lasers for directed energy applications, ultra-short pulse laser matter interaction, and stand-off detection of chemicals and special nuclear materials using ultra-short pulse lasers.

In 1979, Sprangle became head of the Plasma Theory Branch and in 1988 he was appointed to a Scientific and Technical (ST) position as Senior Scientist for Directed Energy Physics.

Sprangle received his doctorate in applied physics from Cornell University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America (OSA). He is winner of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award (2011), International Free Electron Laser Prize (1991), the E.O. Hulburt Science and Engineering Award (1986), the Sigma Xi Pure Science Award (1994), the IEEE Plasma Science Award and Top Navy Scientist and Engineer of the Year Award (2008).

Sprangle has published over 250 scientific papers and holds 15 U.S. patents. He is also an adjunct professor of Engineering and Physics at the University of Maryland.