NEWS | June 27, 2012

Drs. Ishwar Aggarwal and Jas Sanghera Receive Arthur E. Bisson Prize for Naval Technology Achievement Award

By Daniel Parry

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research scientists, Dr. Ishwar Aggarwal and Dr. Jas Sanghera, are awarded the 2012 Office of Naval Research, Dr. Arthur E. Bisson Prize for Naval Technology Achievement, recognizing individuals who have successfully translated research findings into substantive fleet programs that meet critical Navy requirements.

The award is named in honor of the late Dr. Arthur E. Bisson, nuclear physicist and former director of science and technology for the Office of Naval Research (ONR), who provided a model of principled, effective leadership in transitioning science and technology to naval capabilities.

As the world leaders in the area of optical materials, Aggarwal and Sanghera are recognized for outstanding contributions in the area of infrared fiber optics and transparent ceramics. Key members of the NRL research team for over 20 years, they have advanced infrared fiber optics and transparent ceramic materials from a new research area through applied research phase and have guided this technology into the production phase for implementation into numerous programs.

Prior to their contributions, transparent ceramics such as spinel were known to possess excellent mechanical properties but suffered from poor optical transmission. They identified key problems that prevented transparency in these materials and subsequently developed and patented unique technological solutions to enable the high yield fabrication of transparent ceramics. They have developed specialty purification and fiberization technology to make low loss and high strength infrared fiber, and have transitioned this technology to industry.

They accomplished these significant transitions, not only by being acknowledged scientific leaders in this field, but more importantly addressing concerns and fulfilling the needs of the fleet. They constructed and executed programs that delivered advanced optics to enable superior infrared countermeasures capabilities as well as enhanced personnel and platform/sensor protection while reducing size, weight, cost and maintenance requirements.

Aggarwal received his doctorate from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He was previously employed at Corning Inc. and Lasertron Corporation and came to NRL's Optical Sciences Division as a research physicist in 1986. Aggarwal recently retired as head of the Optical Materials and Devices Branch at NRL after 25 years of service. He is currently a research professor at the Optoelectronics Center at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), where his efforts are focused on the development of novel optical wave-guide devices for passive and active mid-IR applications.

Sanghera received his doctorate in materials science from Imperial College, London, before serving as a post-doctoral candidate at UCLA. He joined NRL in 1988 and currently serves as branch head of the Optical Materials and Devices Branch. In this position he is responsible for directing all research and development activities pertaining to infrared (IR) materials, IR fiber optics, transparent ceramics for armor, missile domes and laser windows; ceramic laser gain materials for high energy lasers; fiber-optic based chemical sensors, optically transparent and conducting thin films and photovoltaics.He has received numerous awards including the 1998 Young Scientist Award for Specialty Glass Fiber Optics from the International Society of Non-Oxide Glasses, the 2009 Sigma Xi Award for Applied Science, several DoD Technology Transfer Awards, three Publication and three Edison Patent Awards, the Federal Laboratories Consortium (FLC) National and Mid-Atlantic Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

In 2011, Sanghera was co-recipient of the Optical Society of America's prestigious David Richardson Medal as well as the Navy's Arthur E. Bisson Prize. He has transitioned five technologies to industry, published over 250 papers, edited a book on IR Fiber Optics, presented more than 200 technical talks, and has more than 50 patents. In addition, he is on the organizing committee for several conferences and workshops.