News Briefs (Feb. 6, 2006)
The Air Force Research Laboratory's Starfire Optical Range (SOR) last week presented an Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award to Robert Q. Fugate, technical director and senior scientist, for his 35 years of federal service. Fugate, who is retiring, spent his career conducting research on the physics of propagation of light through atmospheric turbulence and a technique called laser guidestar adaptive optics that corrects distortion caused by the atmosphere. His research has resulted in advances in military, space surveillance and satellite diagnostic capabilities and has enabled laser propagation over long distances. The Air Force said Fugate transformed the SOR "from a small outpost with five employees working on a single project into a division of 500 government and contractor personnel working on 30 research projects worth $500 million." The division has facilities at Kirtland Air Force Base and in Maui, Hawaii. Nearly every major astronomical telescope in the world now has or is building an adaptive optical system based on the techniques developed at the SOR. . . . Corning announced that its board has approved funding for a new LCD glass substrate finishing facility to be located in China. Several sites are being considered; the amount of funding for the project was not disclosed. . . . The IEEE has approved the first standard to establish a common metrics foundation for the electrical properties carbon nanotubes. IEEE 165 recommends equipment and procedures needed to measure the low-level signals involved in working with nanotubes. It addresses a variety of basic parameters, including electrical conductivity, Hall effect and other critical electrical properties of nanotubes and basic nanotube devices. The new standard will provide credibility for carbon nanotubes entering the market, according to Paul Brazis, IEEE 1650 Working Group vice chairman. The IEEE is also developing IEEE 1690, "Standard Methods for the Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes Used as Additives in Bulk Materials," which will define test methods for carbon nanotube quality control involving factors such as material purity and composition.
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