NEWS | Aug. 26, 2011

Dr. Christopher Wilcox Named a Conference Chair for SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing 2012

By Dom Panciarelli

Dr. Christopher Wilcox, an electrical engineer of the Remote Sensing Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, was recently named a conference chair of the International Society of Photo- Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Defense, Security, and Sensing 2012, Micro and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV session. The conference will be held in Baltimore, MD, in April 2012.

Wilcox came to NRL in 2003, where he worked on next generation ultra-light-weight telescopes through the NRL Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) Telescope program, in support of the Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI). Instead of using a single telescope, the NPOI combines the light from an array of up to six telescopes spaced tens of meters apart by precisely directing the beams of light from a star to a point. His other areas of expertise at NRL include work in adaptive optics, mathematical modeling and hardware interfacing.

Wilcox earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 2003. During that time, he worked on the Very Large Array telescope program for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Wilcox earned his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of New Mexico in 2005 and 2009 respectively. His dissertation topic involved the development of a mathematical model of the Earth's atmosphere to simulate its effects on starlight for telescopes that led him to build a test system in the laboratory to demonstrate his theory. Wilcox has assisted with several maritime horizontal beam propagation and scintillation experiments with the NRL and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). He helped to develop and maintain several systems for use by students at the NPS Spacecraft Research and Design Center, in Monterey, Calif., including the Segmented Mirror Telescope (SMT). The SMT is a 3-meter primary mirror diameter space telescope that is comprised of six 1-meter silicon carbide segments designed to fold and unfold for packaging and space deployment. It demonstrates technology for use in the next generation space telescope. Wilcox is currently working with Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, in the development of large, thin-shelled deformable CFRP mirrors for use in light-weight high-resolution imaging systems.

The NRL has been an exceptional place to work. I never thought I would be able to work in a place where I learn something new every day. This is truly a dream come true for me, said Wilcox.

Wilcox has published several journal articles, an invited book chapter, and a patent on his dissertation topic. In addition, he has designed the cover art for a book printed by SPIE Press entitled Introduction to Image Stabilization by Dr. Scott Teare and Dr. Sergio Restaino.

According to SPIE, the Defense, Security and Sensing conference will be bringing the latest products and technologies. All the key professionals will be assembled at one place to exchange the latest ideas and innovations for getting solutions of the challenges in the field. There will be a showcase of cutting edge technology, chemical and biological sensing, infrared sources, detectors, and systems, lasers and other light sources, laser accessories, and laser systems cameras and CCD components, displays, electronic imaging, fiber-optic components, equipment, and systems, high-speed imaging and sensing, optics manufacturing, nanotechnology, and law enforcement technologies. The SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing conference will also include training sessions in which researchers will disseminate information on defense, security, and sensing.