Hubert Schardin Gold Medal Award – Summary
As a graduate student, I developed a novel technology that excited duplicate developments across the Laser Fusion world. In international collaborations, I continued to refine that technology to become quantitative, and to expand its utility. This accomplishment was recognized with an international gold medal award from the German Physical Society. This award later resulted in me being assigned greater responsibility in the Department of Defense.
As a graduate student at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, in the Laser Fusion Program, I worked for David Attwood, in the Diagnostics Development Group, from 1977-1981. For my Master’s project, I developed the picosecond X-ray Streak Camera.
This was an instrument which was able to time-resolve sub-kilovolt energy x-ray emissions from laser fusion experiments, to an accuracy of 100 picoseconds. To do this, the instrument had to have an active vacuum system and super-thin x-ray photocathode to capture the x-ray pulse and convert it to electrons. These electrons were deflected with a high speed voltage ramp, and then they illuminated a phosphor. This faint visible image was intensified with a microchannel plate intensifier and captured on photographic film. This instrument was a big success. It enabled scientists to have much better understanding of the development of the hot plasma at the interface of the target with the laser. It enabled me to do research on heat flow within the plasma using novel low-energy x-ray spectrometers, which was my doctoral dissertation.
I then went to work at Los Alamos National Lab, and hired two commercial companies, Hamamatsu Photonics, and Hadland Instruments to develop commercial versions of this streak camera. Scientists all over the world worked to replicate it for their short pulse experiments: Russia, France, China, and of course my collaborators in England and Japan. I was asked to lead SPIE conferences on high-speed photography and developed collaborations with Claude Cavaillier of CEA in France, as well as others. As we developed and published a better understanding of the performance of these instruments, the German Physical Society took notice and awarded me the Hubert Schardin Gold Medal in October 1990 at the 19th International Congress of High Speed Photography, in Cambridge England. At the time of the Congress, my wife Rebecca became very ill and was hospitalized. I stayed home with her. My colleagues brought the medal back and it was awarded to me by the LANL Director, Sig Hecker, on 15 October 1990.