Peter Moulton received an A.B. in Physics from Harvard College in 1968 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1972 and 1975 respectively. After finishing graduate school he was employed in the Quantum Electronics Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, (Lexington, MA). In 1985 he joined a start-up company, Schwartz Electro-Optics, as vice pesident and managed the founding of the company's research division in Concord, MA. He became senior vice president of Schwartz in 1997 and was involved in spinning out the research division as a separate company, Q-Peak, in 1998, and in the sale of Q-Peak to its current parent company, Physical Sciences Inc. in 2001. He is Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer of Q-Peak (Bedford, MA).
Moulton's technical work began in the field of bulk solid state lasers, and in recent years has extended to include nonlinear optics and fiber lasers. Some of his work has been motivated by defense applications, including infrared countermeasures, detection of chemical and biological weapons, advanced ladar and targeting systems, laser communications and directed-energy systems. He has also been involved in scientific applications, including global monitoring of atmospheric water vapor, ozone aerosols and wind, in commercial applications in the semiconductor industry, in laser systems for medical treatment and diagnostics, and in the development of lasers for large-screen color displays. He is credited with development of the Ti:sapphire laser in 1982.
Moulton was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2000. He received the R.W. Wood Prize from the Optical Society of America and the William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award from IEEE/LEOS, both in 1997. He was interviewed for the SPIE Advancing the Laser series at Photonics West 2010.