Peter Moulton named a 2015 Fellow of SPIE

Photo of Peter Moulton

Dr. Peter F. Moulton, a member of the senior technical staff in the Laser Technology and Applications Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, was elected to the 2015 class of Fellows of SPIE, an international society for advancing optics and photonics technologies. Dr. Moulton was recognized for "achievements in solid-state lasers and nonlinear optical devices."

"I was very pleased and honored to be promoted to a SPIE Fellow. I have evolved from working as a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the 1970s and 1980s to, until recently, managing groups of very talented individuals at small businesses. This election is due in major part to these individuals’ efforts, for which I am very grateful," said Moulton.

Dr. Moulton's research has focused on the development of lasers, including bulk solid-state lasers; fiber-based, high-power, ultrafast lasers that span the ultraviolet to long-wave infrared wavelengths; and high-power, eye-safe mid-infrared lasers. He has worked on the development of lasers used for atmospheric sensing, bioaerosol detection, submarine communications, three-dimensional imaging lidar, and medical research. He is best known for his invention of the Ti:sapphire tunable solid-state laser.

Dr. Moulton conducted his doctoral research at Lincoln Laboratory and then joined the technical staff in the Quantum Electronics Group in 1975. He left the Laboratory in 1985 to establish the Research Division of a startup company, Schwartz Electro-Optics. At Q-Peak, the successor to Schwartz Electro-Optics, he directed product-oriented, internal and government-funded programs in solid-state lasers and nonlinear optics. Dr. Moulton also was the cofounder and chief scientist for a venture-funded company, Laser Light Engines.

After a 30-year career in industry, Dr. Moulton rejoined Lincoln Laboratory to pursue new research initiatives. "My recent return to the Laboratory has introduced me to a new and large group of accomplished researchers, and I look forward to helping them and the Laboratory succeed in present and future missions," said Moulton.

Dr. Moulton is also a Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA), IEEE, and Military Sensing Symposia and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. In 1997, he was awarded OSA's R.W. Wood Prize, given for an outstanding accomplishment or invention in optics, and the IEEE William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award; in 2013, he received the IEEE Photonics Award for "the discovery of the Ti:sapphire laser and the development of many novel solid-state laser systems and applications."

Among Dr. Moulton's published works are 42 journal papers, 2 reference-book chapters, and 69 invited technical conference speeches. He is the inventor or co-inventor on six issued patents. He has chaired meetings of the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics and the Advanced Solid State Lasers Conference and Exhibition, has served on technical committees for a variety of other conferences, and was elected to the OSA Board of Directors. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from MIT and a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard College.

SPIE, founded in 1955 as the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers, has evolved to reflect the expanding field of optics and photonics. Promotion to Fellow is based upon the member's scientific and technical contributions to optics, photonics, and imaging. The society annually sponsors technical forums and programs, maintains the SPIE Digital Library of more than 375,000 research papers, and publishes both print and electronic books.

Posted December 2015


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