2015 News Releases

More information and visuals that are not available electronically may be obtained by contacting the NRL Public Affairs Office. New items are added as they are released.

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Scientific & Technical Interest
Image of Dr. Christoph Englert with MIGHTI.
January 6, 2015
An NRL instrument designed to study the Earth's thermosphere is part of a satellite mission that NASA has officially confirmed, with launch expected in 2017. The Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) satellite instrument is part of NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission.
Image of SpinSat.
January 12, 2015
On November 28, 2014, astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully deployed SpinSat into orbit. SpinSat's primary mission is to demonstrate a new thruster technology; researchers will also use it to test the space surveillance network and improve future atmospheric density models.
January 15, 2015
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was in the news a lot in 2014. The top 10 most-viewed stories on our website in 2014 cover alternative energy, autonomous systems, space, and new technologies for warfighters.
Image of a fish.
January 29, 2015
NRL researchers have taken inspiration from nature — from fish, in particular — to design and develop novel underwater propulsion, control solutions for near-shore and littoral zone missions using autonomous underwater vehicles.
Satellite image of the coast of Christchurch, New Zealand.
February 5, 2015
October 2014 marks the five-year anniversary for two sensors that the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has been operating aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) takes images of oceans in many different wavelengths to help scientists see what's in the water, be it sediment or chlorophyll or runoff. The Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS) also measures light in various wavelengths, but looking at the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.
Image of Dr. T.L. Wilson
February 25, 2015
NRL astrophysicist Dr. T.L. Wilson is part of a multi-national research team that has discovered an outburst in the infrared from a deeply embedded protostar.
Image of giant radio galaxy IC 711.
March 12, 2015
Scientists monitor ionospheric weather conditions in real-time using world's most powerful radio telescope.
Image of graphene lattice.
March 16, 2015
Scientists have found a simple and robust means to magnetize graphene (with its exceptional mechanical, electrical, and optical properties) using hydrogen.
Image of Amphibious assault vehicle.
March 18, 2015
NRL has found that some types of rubber provide corrosion protection—and potentially better ballistic protection—for amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs). This is important to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) as they look to extend the AAV, introduced in 1972, through 2035. "Innovative sustainment concepts, like those NRL is investigating, enable us to avoid the cost of new design, development, and production of new components," says Tim Bergland of the USMC Advanced Amphibious Assault (AAA) office.
Image of F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter.
April 14, 2015
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has built a robot to pull, bend, and twist samples of the composite materials used to build F/A-18s and other aircraft. Dr. John Michopoulos leads the project. With a machine that can, as he says, "Measure so much more than anybody else," and some very advanced math, he can "create a theory that is consistent with all these experiments that we made, and works for all scales." He predicts how the materials will perform when made into large structures and used over many years.
Image of Spinel dome.
April 23, 2015
Imagine a glass window that’s tough like armor, a camera lens that doesn’t get scratched in a sand storm, or a smart phone that doesn’t break when dropped. Except it’s not glass, it’s a special ceramic called spinel that the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has been researching over the last 10 years. "The advantage is it's so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass," says Dr. Jas Sanghera, who leads the research.
Image of CDR Stockelman and Dr. Leski in the lab.
April 27, 2015
Lassa virus is widespread in parts of West Africa and causes the often deadly hemorrhagic fever. Scientists at NRL are studying the genetic diversity of the virus with hopes that their work can aid the development of vaccines, diagnostic tests, and possibly antiviral drugs.
Image of NRLs entrance
May 6, 2015
The NRL-developed phthalonitrile-based polymeric composite exhibits superior flame resistant, high temperature, and low water absorption properties applicable to the design and manufacture of composite materials for use in the aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive, and textile industries.
Image of objects in low-Earth orbit.
May 21, 2015
In Low Earth Orbit (LEO), where many space-based assets reside, small debris objects are of concern not only due to their abundance, but because they are often difficult to track or even detect on a routine basis. The Optical Orbital Debris Spotter can detect debris in the vicinity of host spacecraft for near real-time damage attribution, and characterization of dense debris fields.
Image showing different conductance through quantum dot.
June 5, 2015
A team of physicists from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and NRL has discovered electron pairing in strontium titanate far above the superconducting transition temperature. The discovery provides clues about the mechanisms causing superconductivity in strontium titanate, which may eventually help researchers to discover a material that superconducts at room temperature.
Schematic of the four terminal nanowire device in the non-local spin valve geometry
June 23, 2015
NRL scientists report the first observation of spin precession of spin currents flowing in a silicon nanowire transport channel, and determined spin lifetimes and corresponding spin diffusion lengths in these nanoscale spintronic devices.
Image of new NRL empirical wind model
July 10, 2015
NRL scientists have updated the Horizontal Wind Model that describes the climate of the upper atmospheric neutral winds. This improved empirical tool will help scientists in building the next generation of physics-based space weather prediction systems.
Image of single-molecule transistor
July 13, 2015
NRL is part of an international team of physicists that has used a scanning tunneling microscope to create a minute transistor consisting of a single molecule and a small number of atoms. This transistor could be important for future device technologies as well as for fundamental studies of electron transport in molecular nanostructures.
Image of homeopitaxial graphene spin valve
July 15, 2015
NRL scientists have created a new type of room-temperature tunnel device structure in which the tunnel barrier and transport channel are made of the same material, graphene. These structures provide an elegant approach for the realization of graphene-based spintronic devices.
Image of researcher with LEAP microscope
July 16, 2015
NRL researchers have taken delivery of a state-of-the-art Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) microscope, enabling the development of next-generation alloys and semiconducting materials.
Image of satellite dish at NRL Blossom Point
September 2, 2015
Jeffery Cleveland is on a mission to save the government a lot of money. The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) uses a common software, called Neptune®, to fly all its satellite missions and manage all its antennas on the ground. But Cleveland thinks Neptune could be even bigger. “It’s a multi-mission command and control software, capable of flying virtually any satellite,” says Cleveland. Kirtland Air Force Base is just one place that's already realized how using Neptune, instead of writing all new software for each mission, helps save time and money on satellite operations.
Karl Battams and Russ Howard
September 15, 2015
On September 15, Karl Battams—a computational scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)—confirmed the discovery of the 3,000th near-sun comet using an NRL instrument. "We are taking images of the region of space that surrounds the sun," says Battams, "and this allows us to see small objects very near the sun that would otherwise be invisible from earth." The images come from NRL's LASCO instrument, which orbits on the SOHO spacecraft.
CARE II launch
October 6, 2015
NRL, in collaboration with numerous universities and government laboratories, will use data gathered form the experiment to study the effects of dusty plasmas — thought to be a source of radio interference.
Luminescent Nano-Particles ACS 2015
November 17, 2015
The ultimate goal is to better understand how the billions of neurons in the brain communicate with one another during normal brain function or dysfunction as result of injury or disease.
Popular Science Best of Whats New logo
December 18, 2015
The popular science and technology publication awards the Close-in Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft (CICADA) micro disposable air vehicle the 2015 Best of What’s New Award in the category of Aerospace.

Featured Stories
Image of Dr. John Michopolous.
January 8, 2015
NRL research scientist, Dr. John Michopoulos, is awarded the 2014 Wolfram Innovator Award for his creative and innovative use and application of the Wolfram Programming Language.
Image of Dr.Chandra Pande.
January 9, 2015
Dr. Chandra Pande, an NRL metallurgist, has been awarded Honorary Membership in ASM International in recognition of his "distinguished service to the materials science and engineering profession by his pioneering and seminal research and teaching and its promotion to metallurgical community."
Image of Dr. Craig Hoffman.
January 23, 2015
Dr. Craig Hoffman has been appointed Superintendent of the Optical Sciences Division at NRL. As Superintendent, he directs the research of approximately 200 scientists and engineers engaged in basic and applied research across a wide swath of optical science.
Image of Dr. Carl Stephen Hellberg.
February 4, 2015
Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research physicist, Dr. Steve Hellberg, was nominated for creative and influential contributions in the fields of strongly correlated materials, quantum dots, defects, and heterostructures.
Image of Paul Syverson.
February 19, 2015
Dr. Paul Syverson, a mathematician at NRL, has been named a Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery.
Image of Dr. John N. Russell.
February 24, 2015
NRL's Dr. John N. Russell, Jr., head of the Surface Chemistry Branch, was honored at the annual American Vacuum Society awards ceremony with the top Societal honor, AVS Honorary Membership.
Image of Dr. Paul Sheehan.
February 27, 2015
Dr. Paul E. Sheehan, a research chemist in the Surface Chemistry Branch at NRL, was inducted as a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society.
Image of Dr. Arati Dasgupta.
March 10, 2015
Dr. Arati Dasgupta was recently awarded fellowship to the Washington Academy of Sciences for "outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of plasma physics."
Image of Dr. George Doschek.
March 19, 2015
Dr. George Doschek, a research physicist in the Solar and Heliospheric Physics Branch, has been honored with the 2015 George Ellery Hale Prize for outstanding contributions over an extended period of time to the field of solar astronomy.
Image of Dr. Roger S. Cortesi.
April 14, 2015
Presented by Rear Adm. Klunder, Cortesi receives the award for the rapid development and deployment of the Transportable Electronic Warfare Module (TEWM) to the U.S. Navy.
Image of Dr. Sethian receiving award.
April 20, 2015
Dr. John Sethian is honored with the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award "for seminal contributions to the advancement of transformational pulsed-power and electron-beam technologies."
Image of tents in Pentagon courtyard.
May 12, 2015
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) will demonstrate some of its groundbreaking technologies at the first ever Department of Defense (DoD) Lab Day, to be held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on May 14. The goal of the event is to increase awareness of DoD laboratory research projects and technology innovations with Pentagon senior leaders, members of Congress, participating local high school students, news media, and DoD employees.
Image of service members with American flag at Fleet Week.
May 19, 2015
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is taking some of its newest technologies to the Big Apple May 20–26 to participate in Fleet Week New York. On Pier 86, NRL will showcase the WANDA unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) and the Flimmer “flying swimmer” hybrid unmanned platform. Thousands of visitors are expected at this week-long event that shows off the latest technology of the maritime services and the skilled expertise of our dedicated service members.
Image of Dr. Alexander Velikovich
June 1, 2015
NRL plasma physicist, Dr. Alexander L. Velikovich, receives the 2015 IEEE Plasma Science and Applications Award for advanced plasma theory, conferred by the Plasma Science and Applications Committee (PSAC) of the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS).
Image of Dr McLay receiving award.
July 8, 2015
Dr. McLay receives the award for his distinguished accomplishments in leading the ‘New Rules of Predictability’ project and his key role in developing and transitioning the Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) Ensemble Forecast System (EFS).
Image of Dr. Bhakta Rath
July 20, 2015
NRL’s Dr. Bhakta B. Rath was recognized by the Illinois Institute of Technology Alumni Association as the recipient of the "2015 Professional Achievement Award."
IEEE logo
July 27, 2015
Head of the Electromagnetics Technology Branch at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Dr. Abe is conferred IEEE Fellow for contributions to the development of high power microwave and millimeter wave vacuum electronic devices.
Dr. Dolores Etter
July 31, 2015
The prestigious Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientist and Engineer of the Year Award this year honors sixteen NRL scientists and engineers representing six research divisions.
Employees with honorary cake
August 5, 2015
The award is presented in recognition of significant contributions to NRL mission support and is the highest award bestowed to the laboratory’s support community.
NRLs Robert Gignilliat
August 7, 2015
Head of the Electro-Optic/InfraRed Measurements and Simulation Section and U.S. delegate to the NATO task group, Gignilliat and an international task group comprised of 10-member nations receive the award in recognition and appreciation for outstanding work and significant scientific contribution in the mitigation of ship electro-optical susceptibility against conventional and asymmetric threats.
Hap Hughes with award
August 26, 2015
On April 23, 2015, Hap Hughes of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) received the Peter Haas award for his contributions to the field of radiation survivability. He was recognized at the Hardened Electronics and Radiation Technology (HEART) conference in Chantilly, Virginia.
Peter Wilhelm
August 27, 2015
Mr. Peter (Pete) Wilhelm, retired Director of the Naval Center for Space Technology at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), is conferred the prestigious Dr. Fred E. Saalfeld Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science.
Tropical cyclone image
September 8, 2015
Eleven research meteorologists from the NRL Marine Meteorology Division received the honorary Dr. Arthur E. Bisson Prize for Naval Technology Achievement. The award honors the team for expertise and innovative scientific work resulting in the rapid development, from basic research to transition to operations, of an innovative and versatile Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) system significantly improving the prediction of tropical cyclones (TC).
Worker applying anti-corrosive paint developed at NRL
September 15, 2015
The award honors a five-member team of materials research engineers from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering for the reduction in costs associated with corrosion control of Navy ships, and achievements in the development and transition of nonskid and topside coatings to the fleet.
Image of CanSat launch
September 21, 2015
The 11th annual CanSat competition held in Burkett, Texas, hosted 42 college and university teams from Asia, Europe, South America and the United States.
Dr. Jay Boris
October 14, 2015
Dr. Jay Boris, chief scientist for Computational Physics, is presented the Institute for the Dynamics of Explosions and Reactive Systems Numa Manson Medal for distinguished contributions to the dynamics of explosions and reactive systems.
Dr. John Michopolous receiving award
November 3, 2015
Head of the Computational Multiphysics Systems Laboratory at NRL, Michopoulos is presented the distinguished American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Excellence in Research Award, the highest honor bestowed to an active researcher by the ASME’s Computers and Information in Engineering division.
Dr. John Steuben
November 5, 2015
Since 2013, the ASME Computers and Information in Engineering (CIE) Division has presented the award in recognition of promising young investigators who authored the best Ph.D. thesis of the year in the area of computers and information in engineering.
Dr. Noam Bernstein
November 23, 2015
As Fellow of the APS, Bernstein is recognized for for his pioneering research in the development of multiscale simulations in solids, atomistic simulations of mechanical properties, and the development and application of atomistic methods for structural and finite temperature properties of materials.
Dr. C. Michael Roland
November 25, 2015
Chemist and senior scientist for the Soft Matter Physics Division at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Roland is recognized by the APS for important experimental contributions and physical insight into the temperature and pressure dependence of the dynamics of polymeric systems.
Dr. Schwartz APS 2015
December 1, 2015
Head of the Nonlinear System Dynamics Section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), Schwartz is recognized for his pioneering contributions to the understanding and development of topological insights into the dynamics, fluctuations, and control of strongly nonlinear physical and population systems.