Rutgers Professor Takes Top SPIE Prize
CAMDEN, N.J., March 26, 2014 — James Harrington, a professor at Rutgers University, has received SPIE’s 2014 Gold Medal Award for his pioneering research on fiber optics and IR optical materials.
Since 1977, this annual prize has recognized “seminal contributions” to SPIE and outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishments in optics, electro-optics, or photographic technologies or applications.
Harrington’s work has led to the development of IR-transmissive fiber optics and related applications in laser power delivery, chemical and thermal sensing, and spectroscopy.
“His scientific career has been focused on the very difficult, and often unrecognized, area of optical materials for the infrared,” said M.J. Soileau, vice president for research and commercialization at the University of Central Florida and a past SPIE Gold Medal recipient. “His work in that arena has been a major factor in the successful application of infrared lasers to medicine and national defense.”
Harrington’s research has resulted in real-world laser applications in surgical and industrial settings. These include the hollow glass waveguide that he and his students invented, which is one of Rutgers’ most actively licensed technologies. These waveguides deliver IR laser power and are used in fiber links for spectroscopic and thermometric applications.
He is also cited as inventing the hollow sapphire and alumina waveguides that are now used in laser surgery. In addition, he developed diffusing-tip silica fibers for photodynamic therapy and prostate surgery, grew single-crystal sapphire fibers using a laser-heated pedestal, and developed IR fibers for military warning receivers.
He is a past president of SPIE and currently serves as treasurer at the International Commission for Optics. Harrington is a former science adviser for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and is the former director of IR fiber operations at Heraeus LaserSonics.
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