The director of the US Air Force airborne laser (ABL) system program has been nominated for promotion to brigadier general, according to the Missile Defense Agency. Col. Ellen Pawlikowski, who has a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, was named director of the ABL program in April 2000; she is in charge of a $2.1 billion program responsible for building the world's first combat aircraft using a high-powered laser as a weapon. The program's first aircraft, YAL-1A -- a highly modified Boeing 747-400 freighter -- will be armed with a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser. YAL-1A is now at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where its sophisticated optical and laser systems will be installed and tested prior to a demonstration of shooting down a ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean. . . . Research conducted by Photronics Inc. and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that produced the first demonstration of 45-nanometer node wafer imaging technology using a 193-nm excimer immersion lithography system will be presented during Microlithography 2004, sponsored by the International Society of Optical Engineering, to be held Feb. 22-27 in Santa Clara, Calif. Bruce Smith, associate dean of engineering at RIT, will present the findings there on Feb. 25. Photronics, based in Brookfield, Conn., makes photomasks, high-precision quartz plates that contain microscopic images of electronic circuits. A key element in the manufacture of semiconductors, photomasks are used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers during the fabrication of integrated circuits. . . . Optical components maker JDS Uniphase has selected a K2 Optronics EC48 external cavity laser as the primary laser component in its 57TM Extended Long Reach (ELR) series dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) transmitter modules. The 57TM ELR is designed for use in telecommunications systems and high-speed data communications applications requiring DWDM operation. K2 Optronics, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., develops lasers for the telecommunications, cable television, sensing and test and measurement industries.