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SPIE Professional July 2016

James D. Trolinger receives Chandra S. Vikram Award in Optical Metrology

image of James D. Trolinger, 2016 recipient of the Chandra S. Vikram Award

SPIE Fellow James D. Trolinger received the 2016 SPIE Chandra S. Vikram Award in Optical Metrology in recognition of his pioneering development and fielding of laser-based, state-of-the-art, optical diagnostic methods – going to great lengths to ensure these technologies work in their intended end use.

Trolinger cofounded two optical companies, Spectron Development Laboratories (USA), which was acquired by Titan Corp. in 1986, and MetroLaser (USA), where he currently serves as vice president and director of research.

The Chandra S. Vikram Award is given annually by SPIE for achievements, developments, or inventions of significant importance to optical metrology. Trolinger will receive the award in August at SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego.

Over Trolinger’s nearly 50-year career, he has served as an educator, researcher, scientific advisor, entrepreneur, artist, and mentor. He has contributed substantially to the advancement of scientific understanding in the area of optical metrology and has been influential in creating jobs and inspiring others to be creative, invent, and enjoy careers in optics.

Trolinger and his science teams pioneered many of the first applications of lasers in particle- and flow diagnostics and aero-optics, including the first application of holographic particle-image velocimetry and the fielding of holocameras in airplanes for cloud-particle studies.

SPIE member James Millerd, president of 4D Technology (USA), worked with Trolinger at MetroLaser and points out that in addition to Trolinger’s scientific and business achievements, he also provided mentorship and inspiration to many of his employees and collaborators.

“His insightful understanding of physics coupled with the ability to encourage others to think outside the box serves not only as an exemplary role model for creative brainstorming, but has led to many patents and novel ideas,” Millerd said.

Millerd also noted that Trolinger and Chandra S. Vikram were friends and collaborators. “They share in common a very humble and friendly demeanor, an intuitive grasp of physics, and the ability to seamlessly translate between conceptual ideas and mathematics,” he said.

The recipient of the 1992 SPIE George W. Goddard Award for contributions in the application of optics in aeronautics, Trolinger has served on the SPIE Fellows Committee and chaired several SPIE conferences. He is also a member of the International Order of Holoknights, a gathering of top researchers in holography. A long-time artist and writer, Trolinger hosts the blog, “World’s Worst Tourist,” which features his art, travel experiences, and philosophical musings.


SPIE annual awardsFor nearly six decades, SPIE has presented annual awards to recognize significant achievements and contributions in advancing the science of light.

Look for other stories about award recipients for 2016 in this issue and the October edition of SPIE Professional.

Nominations for the 2017 SPIE awards were due 1 June and will be announced in January 2017 or earlier.

More information: spie.org/awards.

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201607.18

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