MIT Lincoln Laboratory honors 13 individuals for outstanding technical accomplishments

David Caplan and Vyshnavi Suntharalingam are the 2014 recipients of the prestigious MIT Lincoln Laboratory Technical Excellence Award

On 27 February at a ceremony held in Lincoln Laboratory's auditorium, 13 members of the technical staff were celebrated as the 2014 recipients of the Technical Excellence, Early Career Technical Achievement, Best Paper, and Best Invention Awards. These awards are given annually to recognize exceptional achievements in science and engineering.

Technical Excellence Awards
Dr. David O. Caplan, a senior staff member in the Optical Communications Technology Group, and Dr. Vyshnavi Suntharalingam, a senior staff member in the Advanced Imager Technology Group, were presented with MIT Lincoln Laboratory Technical Excellence Awards, which are given for "exceptional, sustained, technical work that has made a significant impact on a Laboratory mission area."

Dr. David Caplan (center) was presented a 2014 Technical Excellence Award by Dr. Eric Evans, Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory (left), and was introduced at the ceremony by Dr. Roy Bondurant (right), associate head of the Communication Systems Division.Dr. David Caplan (center) was presented a 2014 Technical Excellence Award by Dr. Eric Evans, Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory (left), and was introduced at the ceremony by Dr. Roy Bondurant (right), associate head of the Communication Systems Division. Photo: Jon Barron

Dr. Caplan was recognized for "his outstanding technical contributions to optical communications; leadership in developing advanced high-sensitivity optical transceivers for terrestrial and space-based applications; and innovations in multi-rate signaling formats and flexible free-space laser communication architectures."

Since joining Lincoln Laboratory in 1996, Dr. Caplan has conducted research on high-sensitivity laser communication systems and related technologies, with an emphasis on photon- and power-efficient transmitter and receiver design. He led the development of transmitter systems for the Geosynchronous Lightweight Integrated Technology Experiment (GeoLITE), a demonstration of the world's first successful high-rate space-based laser communication (lasercom) system. His pioneering work on high-sensitivity multi-rate optical transceivers has enabled systems for several Laboratory programs and been used in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's deep-space interplanetary lasercom initiatives, including the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration, which demonstrated a record-breaking data download speed of 622 megabits per second, a speed more than six times faster than that achieved by the best radio system ever flown to the moon. Dr. Caplan is currently leading the development of integrated photonic transceivers with agile multi-rate and multiple-modulation-format capabilities.

Dr. Vyshnavi Suntharalingam (center) was presented a 2014 Technical Excellence Award by Dr. Eric Evans, Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory (left), and was introduced by Dr. Robert Atkins (right), head of the Advanced Technology Division.Dr. Vyshnavi Suntharalingam (center) was presented a 2014 Technical Excellence Award by Dr. Eric Evans, Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory (left), and was introduced by Dr. Robert Atkins (right), head of the Advanced Technology Division. Photo: Jon Barron

Dr. Suntharalingam was recognized for "her deep technical knowledge of and contributions to the field of advanced imaging technology; creativity in developing silicon-based imagers, innovative charge-coupled devices, and active pixel sensors; and leadership of projects in imager design and fabrication that have had significant impact on Laboratory systems."

In the Advanced Imager Technology Group, Dr. Suntharalingam directs programs to develop sensors for unique imaging problems. Currently, she leads the charge-coupled device (CCD) development for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and develops new designs, such as the digital CCD and shortwave infrared germanium CCDs. She has been involved in significant and innovative programs. In 1996, she joined a Lincoln Laboratory team that was extending complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuit technology to 25 nm gate length dimensions. The first project she led addressed the specialized voltages needed for controlling conventional CCDs. She later led a team that was developing global snapshot, zero seam loss, digital imaging tiles. The smart sensor approach that this team originated established Lincoln Laboratory's reputation in three-dimensional integrated circuit imaging technology. In 2009, she began architecting the device design and 200 mm wafer fabrication of large-format front- and back-illuminated CCD imagers. Dr. Suntharalingam has also served in leadership positions at Lincoln Laboratory, including assistant leader of the Advanced Silicon Technology Group and leader of the Advanced Imaging Technology Group. She was a founding member of the Lincoln Laboratory Technical Women's Network, which works to improve the recruitment, retention, and professional development of women in technical staff positions.

Early Career Technical Achievement Awards
The 2014 Early Career Technical Achievement Awards, which recognize significant technical contributions by individuals under the age of 35, were presented to Dr. Matthew T. Cornick, a member of the technical staff in the Advanced Capabilities and Systems Group, and Dr. Hamed Okhravi, a member of the technical staff in the Cyber Systems and Technology Group.

Dr. Cornick has done exceptional research and development work on Lincoln Laboratory's novel ground-penetrating radar. He has made substantial contributions to the characterization of low-frequency, very high-frequency, and ultrahigh-frequency phenomenology for various applications. He was also recognized for his analysis and leadership skills that have been vital to fast-paced assessment and rapid prototyping programs.

Dr. Okhravi has designed a critical road map and associated analytical tools for cyber resiliency analyses of moving target systems. His technical leadership in developing and analyzing secure applications has been important to programs in the Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division. He was also recognized for his substantial contributions to the nation’s technical literature on cyber security.

Hamed Okhravi accepts his award. Matthew Cornick accepts his award.
Early Career Technical Achievement Awards for 2014 were presented to Dr. Hamed Okhravi (left in left photo) by Dr. Robert Cunningham (right), leader of the Cyber Systems and Technology Group, and to Dr. Matthew Cornick (left in right photo) by Dr. Kevin Cohen (right), assistant head of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Tactical Systems Division. Photos: Jon Barron

Best Paper and Best Invention Awards

Recipients of the 2014 Best Paper Award are Dr. Adam Milstein (left) and Dr. William Blackwell.Recipients of the 2014 Best Paper Award are Dr. Adam Milstein (left) and Dr. William Blackwell. Photo: Jon Barron

Dr. William J. Blackwell, associate leader of the Applied Space Systems Group, and Dr. Adam B. Milstein, a member of the technical staff in that group, are the recipients of the 2015 MIT Lincoln Laboratory Best Paper Award, given for the most outstanding published paper appearing in a peer-reviewed journal or peer-selected conference publication during the year preceding the award announcement.

Their paper "A Neural Network Retrieval Technique for High-Resolution Profiling of Cloudy Atmospheres" was published in the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing in April 2014 and was selected for the award because of its detailed assessment of an improved technique for high-resolution analysis of atmospheric measurements.

The 2015 MIT Lincoln Laboratory Best Invention Award was presented to Dr. Mark S. Veillette, Dr. Haig Iskenderian, Dr. Marilyn M. Wolfson, Christopher J. Mattioli, Eric P. Hassey, Patrick M. Lamey and Earle R. Williams of the Air Traffic Control Systems Group for their development of the Offshore Precipitation Capability. This system provides accurate, timely radar-like depictions of offshore and oceanic storms by using fused radar and non-radar-derived data sources. This technology will help improve air traffic control operations in coastal regions by extending weather analyses beyond the range of current radar.

Best Invention Award recipientsRecipients of the 2014 Best Invention Award are (left to right) Christopher Mattioli, Patrick Lamey, Dr. Marilyn Wolfson, Dr. Haig Iskenderian, Eric Hassey, and Dr. Mark Veillette. Absent from the photograph is Earle Williams. Photo: Jon Barron

Posted March 2015

 

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