SPIE Honors Dr. G. Charmaine Gilbreath as a Fellow

6/18/2007 - 29-07r
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Dr. G. Charmaine Gilbreath, Head of the Free Space Photonics Communications Office in the Naval Research Laboratory's Information Technology Division, has been elected a 2007 Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE). Fellows are members of distinction who have made significant scientific and technical contributions in the fields of optics, photonics, and imaging. They are honored for technical achievements, and for service to the general optics community and to SPIE.

Dr. Gilbreath was recognized for her work in the area of asymmetric free space optical communications and for specific achievements in nonlinear optics, laser ranging, sparse aperture imaging, and atmospheric effects as they pertain to free space infrared and optical data transfer.

Dr. Gilbreath is considered an international subject matter expert in asymmetric laser communications using modulating retroreflectors, and in sparse aperture imaging. Her guidance and expertise is sought from the Department of Defense (DoD) and civil sectors in the area of optical communications and propagation phenomenology. She is the US Navy representative in laser technology to The Technology Cooperation Program's Sensors Group for the Commonwealth nations and has held that position since 2005. Dr. Gilbreath's pioneering work has resulted in the adaptation of satellite laser ranging as a routine method to calibrate various ground-based facilities for DoD and in the transition of the use of multiple quantum well retromodulators for freespace infrared datalinks.

In 2000, Dr. Gilbreath was invited to take a leadership role in the Navy's effort to establish an interferometer and fast tracking telescope on Magdalena Ridge in Socorro, New Mexico. She held the position for 18 months helping to define the project's goals, strategies, and business practices in keeping with its scientific objectives. During this period, Dr. Gilbreath also served as the NRL Board member for the Navy Optical Interferometer (NPOI) in Flagstaff, Arizona. In this role, she interacted with the other Board members and NPOI technical staff to keep the facility vitalized and focused on producing viable astrophysics as well as technological developments of import to the Navy and DoD. Her advocacy positioned NRL to lead in the use of adaptive optics in combination with optical interferometry to increase the sensitivity of long baseline optical interferometers for sparse aperture imaging.

In early 2006, Dr. Gilbreath established the Free Space Photonics Communications Office in the Information Technology Division. As head of this group, she is charged to build cross-disciplinary programs in free space optical communications, which includes collaborations with other government agencies. The present focus is to facilitate the transition of her work in asymmetric laser communications using multiple quantum well retroreflectors and related initiatives to the DoD.

Dr. Gilbreath has published over 180 refereed journal articles and Conference Proceedings. She has received four patents, with one pending. In addition to her papers and proceedings, she has served on several organizing committees for the SPIE. In 2005, she co-established a new conference at the SPIE Defense and Security Symposium in atmospheric propagation. She is an active member in a number of SPIE organizing committees. As such, she represents Navy capabilities to the community and encourages participation amongst her peers and partners for these bi-annual meetings. She is a member of the SPIE Women in Optics Group and actively fosters recruitment and coaching of women in the field.

Dr. Gilbreath holds a B.S. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Engineering Science from the Johns Hopkins University. She joined NRL in 1982 as an electronics engineer in the Naval Center for Space Technology, later becoming head of the Electro-optics Section, before moving to the Remote Sensing Division and then the Information Technology Division. In addition to these duties, Dr. Gilbreath serves as the Associate Technology Director to the National Signatures Program for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

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