Drs. Ishwar Aggarwal and Jas Sanghera
Awarded Prestigious OSA Richardson Medal

7/7/2011 - 60-11r
Contact: Dom Panciarelli, (202) 767-2541

Drs. Ishwar Aggarwal and Jas Sanghera, of the Optical Sciences Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, have been selected to receive the 2011 David Richardson Medal of the Optical Society of America (OSA). They are recognized "for their pioneering work leading to the development, production and commercialization of Infrared Fiber and Transparent Ceramics resulting in numerous IR products."

Drs. Aggarwal (left) and Sanghera (right) holding a spool containing infrared transmitting fibers and a large transparent spinel ceramic window, respectively.

The nomination reports Aggarwal and Sanghera have pioneered the development, applications and commercialization of infrared (IR) transmitting optics; low-loss IR transmitting glass optical fibers; and rugged transparent ceramic spinel windows. They have solved the optical engineering issues of these technologies and successfully transitioned them along with 17 resultant patents to the industrial sector. These materials are now commercially available and are improving the performance of existing applications, as well as enabling new applications that were not previously possible. The combined market impact for these materials is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

Aggarwal received his doctorate from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He was previously employed at Corning Inc. and Lasertron Corporation. He 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 was recently appointed as a research professor in the Department of Physics and Optical Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). At UNCC, his efforts are focused on the development of novel optical wave-guide devices for passive and active mid-IR applications.

Aggarwal's numerous awards include a Sigma Xi Award in 1998, several NRL Alan Berman Publication Awards, a number of patent awards, and a National Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer (co-recipient) from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. He has transitioned four technologies to industry, published over 250 papers and holds more than 60 patents.

Sanghera received his doctorate from Imperial College, London, before serving as a post-doctoral candidate at UCLA. He joined NRL in 1988. He currently serves as acting 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.

Sanghera's numerous awards include the Sigma Xi Award for Applied Science in 2009; several NRL Alan Berman Publication Awards; a number of patent awards, and a National Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer (co-recipient) from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. He has also transitioned four technologies to industry, published over 250 papers and has more than 50 patents to his credit.

In establishing this prize, OSA sought to recognize the unique contributions to applied optics made by David Richardson. The award, endowed by individual contributors including Howard Cary and Gary Duck, recognizes those who have made significant contributions to optical engineering, primarily in the commercial and industrial sector. David Richardson received the first award in 1966 for his distinctive contributions to the ruling and replicating of gratings.

The OSA was founded in 1916, to increase and diffuse the knowledge of optics, pure and applied; to promote the common interests of investigators of optical problems, of designers and of users or optical apparatus of all kinds; and to encourage cooperation among them. The Society's membership totals more than 16,000 individuals from over 100 countries.

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