Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

The Nathaniel H. Sugerman Memorial Award was established in 1992 to commemorate the enduring efforts of Nat Sugerman (1922–1991) in founding, nurturing, and supporting the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC).  Nat founded Providence Metallizing Company in 1951 and was a Charter Founder of the SVC and Corporate Sponsor Founder.

“...he thoroughly believed in the SVC and how pleased and proud he would now be to see what a great organization it has become.”
—Harold Gadon (retired, Providence Metallizing Company, Inc.)

The purpose of the Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award is to encourage and recognize distinguished achievement in one or more of the following endeavors:

  • For distinguished services to SVC

  • For noteworthy educational contributions to the vacuum and/or vacuum coating industry

  • For outstanding technical achievement

  • For creative innovation in the development of a product or process pertaining to the vacuum industry

SVC Members are invited to submit worthy nominees to be considered as a recipient of the Nathaniel H. Sugerman Award to the SVC Awards Committee. Please forward appropriate information to the Awards Committee Chair, Ladislav Bardos.

Active members of the SVC Awards Committee and employees or contractors of the SVC are not eligible for the Mentor or Sugerman awards.

The Nathaniel H. Sugerman Memorial Award has honored the following individuals:

2022 – Professor Allan Matthews FREng, Professor of Surface Engineering and Tribology, Department of Materials and The Henry Royce Institute, University of Manchester.

2020 – Doug Schatz, Founder of Advanced Energy Industries, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

2019 – Ludvik Martinu, Professor at the Department of Engineering Physics, Polytechnique Montreal, Canada

2018 – Dr. Joe Greene, University of Illinois / Linköping University / National Taiwan University

2017 – Gerald G. (Gary) Henderson, Telemark

2016 – André Anders, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

2015 – James W. (Jim) Seeser, JDS Uniphase (retired)

2014 – Rolf Illsley, Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. (retired) Now Optical Security and Performance Products, JDSU (1922–2017)

2013 – Johannes Strümpfel, VON ARDENNE GmbH

2012 – Clark I. Bright, 3M Company

2011 – William D. Sproul, Reactive Sputtering, Inc.

2010 – Peter Martin, Columbia Basin Thin Film Solutions LLC

2009 – David A. Glocker, Isoflux Incorporated

2008 – Günter Bräuer, Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST)

2007 – Donald M. Mattox, Management Plus, Inc.

2006 – Carlo Misiano, Romana Film Sottili SRL

2005 – J.A. (George) Dobrowolski, National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) (1931-2013)

2004 – Donald J. McClure, 3M Corporate Materials Research Laboratory

2003 – John Fenn, Jr., Bekaert Specialty Films

2002 – H. Angus Macleod, Thin Film Center, Inc.

2001 – Robert Cormia, Southwall Technologies, Inc.

2000 – Peter R. Denton, Denton Vacuum, LLC

1999 – Ernst K. Hartwig, EKH Consulting

1998 – Peter J. Clarke, Sputtered Films, Inc. (1931–2002)

1997 – Alan Plaisted, Soleras Ltd. (1929–2019)

1996 – Dale Missimer, Polycold Systems International (1925–2010)

1995 – Richard A. Denton, Denton Vacuum, Inc. (1914–2003)

1994 – Marsbed Hablanian, Varian Vacuum Products, Inc.

1993 – Hugh R. Smith, Jr., Industrial Vacuum Engineering (1921–2000)

Click on the above names to view profiles of the past recipients.


2022 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Professor Allan Matthews FREng, Professor of Surface Engineering and Tribology, Department of Materials and The Henry Royce Institute, University of Manchester.

For seminal contributions to environmentally friendly plasma assisted vacuum deposition processes, surface engineering approaches, and coatings tribology.

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK’s highest Engineering distinction. He has authored or co-authored over four hundred refereed publications, as well as 15 core patents and several important books and chapters in the field of plasma-based surface engineering processes and tribology. He has been Editor (now Editor-in-Chief) of the Elsevier journal, Surface and Coatings Technology for over 35 years.

Allan has made truly pioneering contributions to innovative research on novel coating and thin film materials using environmentally friendly plasma assisted deposition processes. He and his team have developed deposition and evaluation techniques that are now widely used by industry throughout the world. In addition, his fundamental research on plasma physics relating to coatings and surface treatments and his research into coating testing and selection strategies has been of huge benefit to researchers and practitioners across many application sectors (including energy, aerospace, transport, manufacture, and healthcare).

As the founding Director of the Research Centre in Surface Engineering (RCSE) he oversaw its evolution into one of the most successful academic research groups in Europe in the field of advanced plasma-based surface engineering. He is currently the Director of the EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalized Surface Manufacturing, which is bringing researchers together to address Manufacturing and Sustainability challenges through the Digitalization of coatings and processes by which they are produced.

He has been a member of many UK and International committees in the science and engineering field (e.g., the DTI/EPSRC LINK Surface Engineering Program Management Committee and the KTN Special Interest Group on Surface Engineering and Advanced Coatings) as well as panels for major research programs at universities throughout the world). He has held leading roles on many professional bodies, including the British Vacuum Council and IUVSTA. He has served as an elected Board Member of the SVC and a member of the SVC Strategic Planning committee. He is also an active Instructor in the SVC Short Course Program and has had an involvement in various capacities within the SVC TechCon over many years. He is a past Chair of the Executive Committee of the Advanced Surface Engineering Division of the AVS and has been Chair, Symposium Committee member, and Proceedings Editor for the International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films (ICMCTF). He has also been active in the organisation of several other conferences, including the International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering, for which he has also acted as Chair.

He has established many collaborative industrial and academic research links globally. He is an assessor of research proposals and completed projects for the EPSRC and EU and he has advised and assisted research funding bodies worldwide, including UNIDO, ARC, NATO, and NSF.

Allan is a recipient of many prestigious Awards; for example, the 2011 IoMMM Gold Medal, the 2018 RF Bunshah Award of the AVS, the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Taiwan Association for Coatings and Thin Films, and the 2020 Leading Scientist Award from the European Society for Thin Films (EFDS).

The unique contributions of Professor Matthews to the field of coatings, surface engineering, and tribology clearly reflect the vision and endeavor of the SVC’s Sugerman Award.

Congratulations Allan!


2020 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Doug Schatz, Founder of Advanced Energy Industries, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

For providing transformational products at global scale that have enabled the growth and evolution of the industry, to include enabling processes required to follow Moore's Law since its' inception.

Doug Schatz established Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. in Fort Collins in 1981. Doug has distinguished himself with outstanding technical achievement and creative innovation in the development of products that have been enabling and transformational to the vacuum coating industry, globally.

Everyone in the industry knows Advanced Energy. The company was founded with the introduction of the ID 2501, a power system for gridded broad beam ion sources, which integrated six regulated power supplies with a computer interface, at a weight of 26 pounds and the size of a small carry-on suitcase. It replaced a 700-pound rack of unregulated power supplies with manual controls. This enabled the next generation of precision ion beam sputtering processes.

Doug then went on to develop the MDX power supply for DC magnetron sputtering, with arc-out circuitry to rapidly extinguish arcs. With a reduction in size and increase in performance and capability paralleling the ID 2501, it quickly became the standard for powering magnetron sputtering processes and enabled a new range of processes and step function improvement in film quality. Everyone involved with magnetron sputtering at the time was aware of the MDX and valued its performance. MDX power supplies shipped in the 1980's and are still in active service today!

During his 30+ years at Advanced Energy, Doug grew the company from its beginnings in a spare bedroom in San Jose, relocated to Fort Collins in 1981, went public in 1995 and became the dominant supplier of DC, Pulsed DC and RF plasma process power supplies for semiconductor and industrial thin film deposition and etch, before retiring from the AE Board of Directors in 2015. He did that by building a strong technical and operational team and leading them to develop products important to the thin film plasma processing industry in a way that scaled globally. Innovations followed in pulsed DC, RF for semiconductor deposition and etch processes, high power bipolar pulsing for dual magnetron sputtering and co-sputtering, and even sophisticated power for electroplating copper in dual-damascene semiconductor processes.

Today, all logic and memory chips are manufactured in part by processes driven by AE power supplies. Other important applications include the TFT array and color filter for flat panel displays, architectural and automotive glass coatings, both thin film and crystalline solar PV technology, and a wide array of tribological and functional coatings.

In his roles as technical innovator, product developer, technical leader, president, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Doug's service to the vacuum plasma based thin film processing industry is unmatched.

Congratulations Doug!


2019 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Ludvik Martinu, Professor at the Department of Engineering Physics, Polytechnique Montreal, Canada

For his significant scientific and educational contributions to the plasma processing and surface engineering of optical coatings and promotion of students and young scientists within SVC.

Ludvik Martinu is Professor at the Department of Engineering Physics, Polytechnique Montreal, Chairholder of the NSERC Multisectorial Industrial Research Chair in Coatings and Surface Engineering, Director of the Functional Coating and Surface Engineering Laboratory (FCSEL/LaRFIS), and Director of the Thin Film Research Center. He is also the former Head of the Department of Engineering Physics, Past-President of the Society of Vacuum Coaters, member of the Scientific Committee of the NSERC Strategic Network on Surface Engineering: "Green Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing - Green SEAM", organizer and co-organizer of international conferences in collaboration with AVS, SVC, OSA, SPIE and others. Additionally, Ludvik was organizer of the joint SVC-ASED workshop "STRESS-2016" in Chicago, and FCSE-2017 in Montreal.

Ludvik Martinu was instrumental in enabling scientific, technological and educational contributions to the area of surface engineering, plasma processing of materials, physics and technology of thin films, optical and multifunctional films and coatings, nanostructured smart materials. He is well known for developing a holistic approach to surface engineering solutions along with his motto of "From design to manufacture" throughout more than 30 years of his professional career. Notable recent scientific achievements, in collaboration with his colleagues, include the demonstration of new optical film systems with enhanced mechanical and functional performance, metameric (color shifting - passive) and electrochromic (active) optical security devices with incorporated surprise images, graded (inhomogeneous) optical filters, and hybrid (organic-inorganic) optical coatings and others.

Ludvik is renowned as an educator. Besides the development and teaching courses at Polytechnique Montreal, he has been teaching courses and given tutorial lectures around the world. In addition, he has been regarded as a role model for the establishment of university-industry partnerships. He has demonstrated his ingenuity, in collaboration with his colleagues, by technical and technological achievements in pulsed plasma deposition techniques, namely the High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS) process for its use in optical coatings and optical interference filters, thermochromic and electrochromic smart coating systems, protective coatings and all-optical sensors.

Ludvik Martinu's contributions include more than 230 publications in refereed journals, 18 invention disclosures and patents, 132 articles in Conference Proceedings, 19 book chapters, and he presented more than 60 invited and plenary lectures as well as other 200 original presentations at prestigious international conferences. Through his participation at international conferences and membership in numerous organizing committees, Prof. Martinu critically influenced the fields of optical coatings, plasma processing and surface engineering and in the process, became a role model for many young scientists and engineers.

Over the last two decades, Ludvik has made a significant impact on the SVC. As Optical TAC Chair and then SVC Program Chair, he established benchmarks for the high quality of the SVC Annual Technical Conferences. As a member of the Board of Directors, Vice President, President and Past President, he participated in the preparation of the SVC Strategic plan and its implementation and devoted considerable efforts to outreach, especially to collaboration with sister societies, in particular the AVS and its ASED division. Ludvik's most memorable contribution to the SVC has been his ongoing efforts to promote the participation of students and young scientists at the SVC events: He is founder of the SVC Student Sponsorship program, and he has been Chair of the Student Sponsorship Committee between 2002 and 2013. Ludvik currently contributes to the SVC as Chair of the Education Committee.

Congratulations Ludvik!


2018 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Joe Greene, University of Illinois / Linköping University / National Taiwan University

For his seminal scientific and educational contributions to the atomistic level understanding of the synthesis of nanostructured vacuum deposited coatings and thin film materials.

Joe Greene is the D.B. Willett Professor of Materials Science and Physics at the University of Illinois, the Tage Erlander Professor of Physics at Linköping University, Sweden, and a Chaired Professor at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. Joe receives the 2018 SVC Sugerman Award based on his seminal scientific, technological, and educational contributions in surface science, thin-film growth, and surface/interface engineering. For more than 30 years, he has been an instructor in the SVC Tutorial program, teaching courses on Thin Films, Nanostructures, Sputter Deposition, and Reactive Sputtering, while serving as a mentor and role model for scientists, graduate students, and technologists. Joe has made truly pioneering contributions to the science and technology of thin-films.

The focus of Joe's research has been the development of an atomic-level understanding of adatom/surface interactions during the dynamic process of vapor-phase crystal growth in order to controllably manipulate nanochemistry, nanostructure, and, hence, physical properties. His work has involved nanoscience and film growth by all forms of sputter deposition, solid and gas-source MBE, UHV-CVD, MOCVD, and ALE. Joe has published more than 600 papers and review articles, 28 book chapters, and co-edited 4 books in the general areas of crystal growth, thin-film physics, and surface science. In particular, he uses hyperthermal condensing species and UV photochemistry for probing, as well as stimulating, surface reactions that do not proceed thermally. Joe has presented over 525 invited talks and 150 Plenary Lectures at international meetings.

He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Thin Solid Films and past Editor of CRC Critical Reviews in Solid State and Materials Sciences. Joe is active in the AVS where he has served on the Trustees, twice as a member of the Board of Directors, as President of the society in 1989, and is currently Secretary. He has Chaired the AVS Thin Film and Advanced Surface Engineering Divisions, the IUVSTA Education and Thin Film Committees, and served on the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics and the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Materials Physics. Joe is currently the US representative to IUVSTA. He is a Fellow of AVS, APS, and MRS, a member of the US national Academy of Engineering and the EU Academy of Sciences.

Joe grew up as a surfer living at the beach in Southern California. He began his professional career doing field work in middle-eastern archaeology, before turning to physics, and maintains an active interest; one of his hobbies is researching and writing history-of-science articles (did you know that the earliest thin films on metal substrates, some ~1000 Å-thick, date to more than 5000 years ago?) for which he was awarded the highest honor by historians in 2016. He also loves telemark skiing (the reason he and his wife moved to Jackson Hole 15 years ago) and volunteers as a backcountry Search and Rescue Ranger, year around (when he is home!) in Grand Teton National Park.

Joe Greene is the embodiment of the vision and endeavor of the SVC's Nathanial H. Sugerman Memorial Award. Congratulations Joe!


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2017 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Gerald G. (Gary) Henderson, Telemark

For his enhancement and commercialization of electron beam deposition and cryogenic refrigeration technologies and for his long standing support of the SVC.

Gerald G. (Gary) Henderson grew up in the ranching community of Eskridge, Kansas, studied accounting at Kansas State University, passed the CPA exam while still an undergraduate, and received his CPA certificate in 1966. After serving as an Army officer, including a year in Vietnam, he enrolled at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University, earning an MBA in Finance, with distinction. After graduation, faced with a choice between careers in accounting or business management, he chose to be a manager in a series of technology companies.

He initially worked for Teledyne, assisting acquired technology companies with strategic planning, and serving as financial controller for a group of manufacturing companies. He subsequently took the position of financial controller of the Instruments Group of Envirotech, from which he was promoted to President of a division which designed and assembled pre- packaged analytical instrumentation systems for petrochemical facilities. This position provided significant experience in project management, and a crash course in International business, as the customers were primarily Japanese construction companies, who were installing the systems in countries such as Malaysia, Kuwait, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Gary was a founder and Chief Financial Officer of Xertex Corporation, which was formed to acquire Envirotech’s Instrument businesses, and which, after several years of successful operation, was sold to Emerson Electric. After the sale of the business and the subsequent transition, Gary was pondering what to do next. In December, 1989, he was introduced to the owner of a struggling start-up business, which was selling electron beam components under the Telemark brand. Gary purchased that business, thus beginning his career in the vacuum industry. During the subsequent 25+ years, Telemark has become a substantial supplier of a wide range of vacuum deposition components. The product line has been expanded through internal development by an excellent technology driven team, which he has assembled, and by collaboration with independent inventors. Innovations include solid state electron beam power supplies, arc-less electron beam technology, broad band optical monitors, low pressure ion sources, and vapor trapping cryogenic chillers.

Shortly after acquiring the Telemark business, Gary visited Denton Vacuum, where he was encouraged to participate in the SVC. As a consequence, Gary has been an active supporter of the SVC, its exhibitions, and it’s publications for the past quarter century.

Gary and Carol, his wife of 49 years, reside in Camas, Washington. They enjoy spending time with their three successful sons, three lovely daughters-in-law, and six treasured grandchildren. They share a passion for sailing, and get away as often as possible to Lady Liberty, their sailboat, which has been based in the Caribbean for the past 30 years.


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2016 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

André Anders, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA

For his many contributions to the science of plasmas, particularly time dependent effects in magnetrons, and vacuum coating technology education.

André Anders grew up in East Germany where he developed a taste for geographic and scientific exploration. He applied to study physics abroad with the (communist) government and he was told to learn Polish and go to at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. The precursors of the collapse of the "Soviet empire" were most obvious in Poland of 1980, and after only one year abroad, in the summer of 1981, he and other students were called back at the eve of Poland's Martial Law. André continued his studies at Humboldt University in (East) Berlin to get his Dipl. Phys. (M.S.) Degree in 1984 with a topic on dielectric barrier discharges. He again applied to study abroad, this time being told to learn Russian and to attend Lomonosov Moscow State University, where he researched atmospheric pressure discharges. In 1987, he completed his PhD at Humboldt University, his first son was born, he got his first job at the Academy of Sciences, and was drafted to the East German military service. He learned to drive a truck and, on the side, started to compile fundamental and practical formulas for plasma physics. He arranged this collection as a book. It appeared in print in 1990, just months after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was a turning point in his life. It opened the door to apply for funding and to also to pursue opportunities abroad.

After completing research on cathode spot plasmas (1990-91) at the Academy, André joined Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Berkeley, California, initially as a visiting researcher and later as Staff Scientist. His research at Berkeley shifted from plasmas to materials, thin films, and surface engineering. For example, he worked on filtered arc technology for the deposition of ultrathin diamond-like carbon films, which is still used today by manufacturers of read-write heads in the magnetic storage industry. The range of topics and applications of the research at Berkeley Lab is wide, including optical and protective coatings, switchable materials and layer systems for electrochromic windows, formation of nanoparticles, ion implantation, plasma immersion ion implantation to produce graded interfaces and well-adherent coatings, doped diamond-like carbon for biointerfaces, transparent conducting oxides, etc.

André has published three books and about 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has given numerous talks and educational seminars at universities and conferences, including many SVC Annual TechCons. His publications are cited more than 11,200 times, and his work has been recognized by several awards, including two R&D100 Awards, the IEEE Merit Award, the Walter P. Dyke Award, and the Mentor Award of the Society of Vacuum Coaters. He served on the Editorial Board of Surface and Coatings Technology and as Associate Editor (2009-2014) for Journal of Applied Physics and was promoted to Editor-in-Chief in 2014. He was the 2015 Chair of the Executive Committee of Advances Surface Engineering Division of the AVS. For his contributions to plasma and material sciences, André was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Vacuum Society (AVS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and the Institute of Physics (IoP).


2015 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

James W. (Jim) Seeser

For his leadership in the optical coatings industry, for championing connections between research and manufacturing, and his dedicated service to both the SVC and the SVC Foundation.

James W. (Jim) Seeser was born in the Missouri Ozarks, where he worked his way through school as a newspaper carrier. He attended Drury College in Springfield, MO, and received a PhD in Nuclear Physics from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. He and his wife Judy have one son and two granddaughters, all now living in St. Louis, MO.

Being incurably curious and a life-long student, Jim was unable totransition immediately into the real world, so he first taught physics and computer science at Hope College in Holland, MI. There he helped establish an undergraduate research laboratory using a kit-built 2 MeV Van de Graaff accelerator. Finding living on a professor’s salary difficult, he began consulting for several area companies in topics as diverse as the optical properties of draperies, statistical process control of manufacturing processes, thermal properties of home cooking ovens, computer modeling of automotive rear vision systems, optical properties of automotive convex mirrors, and finally, computer modeling and production of optical coatings, where he got his start in vacuum coating. Clearly, focus wasn’t his thing.

He joined the Research Department at Donnelly Mirrors, Inc., of Holland, MI and spent 4 years developing and scaling up processes for the manufacture of Indium-Tin-Oxide coatings using the newly invented planar magnetron reactive sputtering process. It was here in 1976 that Mike Hansen introduced him to the SVC. His family, tiring of intense winters, moved to Tennessee to join start-up Advanced Coating Technology, Inc., which produced architectural solar-control coatings with a proprietary sputtering technology from Battelle. In 1983 Jim joined Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc., (OCLI) in Santa Rosa, CA. Working with many talented people, OCLI enabled Jim to reinforce his evident gadfly propensity by pursing the application of multilayer coatings to many markets including aerospace, data storage, automotive, medical, defense, display, lighting, anticounterfeiting, and fiber optic markets; covering the wavelength span from radar to x-ray; and using evaporation, sputtering and CVD processes. That was fun! He is proud of helping OCLI’s transition from being almost wholly dependent on evaporation processes to sputtering some of the best optical coatings in the world. It was this later capability that ultimately precipitated OCLI’s acquisition by JDS Uniphase in 1999.

Jim, who held several committee and officer positions within the SVC, feels his main contributions were facilitating the growth of the Education Program and the SVC Foundation.

He is very appreciative of the people who helped an Ozark hillbilly be the first in his family to graduate from high school and those who later provided him with mentoring and collaboration through all stages of his career, especially the wonderful support from Judy. These mentors include many in the SVC, but he wishes to highlight Don McClure, Vivienne Mattox, and John Felts for their help and guidance. Thank you all.

Today he volunteers for FIRST® Robotics, which provides robotics training and competitions to K-12 students, and is also active in activities centered on deaf education. Judy and Jim enjoy watching and helping their grandchildren grow into fine adults.

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2014 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Rolf Illsley

For his contributions to the development and implementation of optical and security performance products.

Rolf Illsley graduated from Michigan State in 1943 in agricultural economics, enlisted in the US Navy and served on an amphibious ship in the Philippines as an Engineering Officer. After a post-war stint on Guam, Rolf worked in China with the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. In 1948 Rolf met Charles "Gilly" Galbreath, who had wartime experience with anti-reflection (AR) coatings based on magnesium fluoride at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. Rolf and Gilly along with two others formed Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. (OCLI). The primary product was AR coatings serving the ophthalmic market. Sales were meager and Rolf's partners soon left OCLI. Rolf then had the challenge of finding new markets needing optical thin film interference coatings. Before long the Company began serving a rapidly-growing market for military applications, and began expanding its capabilities to meet new requirements.

In 1951 Rolf decided to live in California and moved the company from Washington D.C. to Santa Rosa, where it is based to this day as part of the Optical Security and Performance Products group of JDSU. During the early years of OCLI he focused not only on advancing the research of thin film optical coatings, but also on finding ways to drive costs down and thus satisfy large commercial markets. Advancements such as the double rotation deposition process and products like circularly variable filters were patented and gave OCLI a competitive advantage.

Rolf's vision included a research and design team staffed by the brightest minds in the industry and charged with developing new processes, products, and markets. He felt a significant part of his role in leading OCLI was to provide cutting-edge tools, including such things as a dedicated research computer during an era (mid 1960's) when other research teams were restricted to renting time on a computer when it was available. This allowed OCLI engineers to develop complex multilayer designs, which would meet customer demands.

As demand for new products grew so did their complexity. Often the equipment to produce such coatings did not exist. Under Rolf's direction, such equipment was developed "in-house". Examples include equipment for real time monitoring of growing films and large-scale ion assisted deposition in production.

In 1966 Rolf conceived of the Multi-layer Automatic Coater (MAC). Even when it became clear that the cost of developing this six-chambered inline machine would equal the net worth of the company, Rolf bet big and proceeded with construction. It was a good bet because the MAC went on to serve the business for over 40 years.

Later advancements included optical interference coatings on long rolls of plastic. These were then released from the web and post-processed to make flakes, which were used in the bank note printing process. This eventually led to a business producing an optically variable pigment (OVP), which is used today as an anti-counterfeiting feature on banknotes issued by the United States and more than 100 other countries around the world.

Rolf made a conscious decision to surround himself with outstanding people throughout the company, treat them with respect, and provide them with decision-making authority and the tools to succeed. This close relationship helped Rolf to transition from a limited entrepreneur to the chief executive of a solidly profitable, industry-leading company that would make a difference in the world of coatings.

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2013 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Johannes Strümpfel

For his contributions to the development and implementation of large-scale sputter technology.

Johannes Strümpfel was born in the eastern part of Germany. He studied physics at the Dresden Technical University and graduated with a diploma. From the beginning of his career in 1973, he worked as a physicist in the privately owned Manfred von Ardenne Research Institute in Dresden. His research work focused on Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) of optical coatings and dielectric films by reactive magnetron sputtering. In order to stabilize such processes, he developed and applied Plasma Emission Monitoring to actively control high rate deposition of dielectric and TCO films. In early work, he successfully implemented such features in large area magnetron sputtering on glass and polymer films for industrial use. He summarized his scientific and technological investigations on an industrial scale in his thesis on reactive magnetron sputtering. The examination and graduation for a doctor degree took place at Chemnitz Technical University in Saxony, Germany in 1991.

Johannes has furthered the understanding and practice of sputtering processes in the fields of web coating for ARAS layer stacks, contact and TCO layers on glass for displays, and for thin-film PV. He has actively promoted these technological developments through his support of international sales projects for VON ARDENNE and also through his contacts with the SVC community.

Working as VON ARDENNE's Chief Scientist since 2003, Johannes actively contributed his expertise related to large-area applications to the vacuum coating community and students. As a mentor, lecturer and Assistant Technical Advisory Committee Chair for Large Area Coating sessions for SVC, he has bridged thin-film technology and related industrial developments in Europe with those in America and Asia. He is involved in the program committee of the International Conference Coatings on Glass and Plastics (ICCG) and is associated with the Plasma Surface Engineering (PSE) conference. Chairing the European Society of Thin Films and the network PLASMA GERMANY, he actively promotes the collaboration between industry and academia. Johannes lives with his wife Barbara in Dresden and has four adult children.

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2012 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Clark I. Bright

For his contributions to and his extensive teaching activities in the field of transparent conductive coatings and for his long service to the SVC as board member and officer.

Clark started his career in thin films in 1965 as co-founder of the R&D department at Sierracin Corporation, investigating transparent, electrically, conductive coatings (TCC) of vacuum evaporated gold for aircraft heated windshields and canopies. He developed a multilayer TCC with superior optical/electrical properties using TiOx layers, produced by the hydrolysis of organic titanates, to form an antireflection coating on the gold layer. A major R&D project was building a roll-to-roll coater and developing the coating processes for this multilayer TCC. The coated plastic film (called Intrex) was used for heated, anti-icing, windows for vehicle applications, e.g., Lincoln automotive windshields. This is believed to be the first multilayer TCC produced by roll-to-roll coating on plastic film. In 1971 Clark went to Xerox where he continued working on vacuum and solution deposited films for display and image storage devices.

Seeing a need for improved TCC, Clark founded his own company Optical & Conductive Coatings (OCC) in 1975. OCC was recognized as an industry leader for over fifteen years in custom coatings for military, industrial and scientific applications. He developed a multiband TCC for de-icing/de-fogging and EMI shielding of the M1 Tank window, a continuous TCC for the mid-infrared, and a patterned conductive coating for heating circular windows transmitting at visible through far-IR wavelengths. OCC was acquired by Southwall Technologies in 1992.  At Southwall, he led teams developing transparent low-e, solar control coatings and TCC, magnetron sputter deposited, roll-to-roll, on plastic film. He led the R&D and scale-up, of a durable, four-layer ITO/SiO2, transparent conductive AR coating for displays.

In 1998, Clark became Vice President at Delta V Technologies where he led R&D of transparent vapor barrier coatings, color-shifting thin films and polymer multi-layer (PML) films and technology. He developed the first barrier coatings using ITO. 3M acquired Delta V in 2000.

At present Clark is a Senior Scientist with 3M Corporate Research Process Laboratory. He leads R&D of roll-to-roll processes for vacuum deposition of PML organics and sputtered inorganic thin films. 3M products with PML technology are first-in-class, transparent vapor barrier films and TCC. Ongoing R&D includes ITO and alternatives for “invisible” patterned conductors in touch sensors.

Clark served 12 years on the SVC Board of Directors, six as an officer, and was SVC President for the years 2004–2006. He was the Director of TAC for many years, served on and was Chair of the Optical Coatings TAC, a member of the Web Coating TAC and is Co-chair of the Emerging Technologies TAC. He has been an SVC instructor since 1995, and received the SVC Mentor Award in 2010.

He has been a co-organizer and/or an invited speaker at many domestic conferences, e.g., the MRS sponsored TCO (transparent conductive oxide) Workshop in 2000, and foreign conferences, e.g., the three International Symposiums on TCO in Crete, Greece. In 2010, at the Symposium of European Vacuum Coaters, in Anzio, Italy, he received the “Lifetime Achievement” award. He was a guest co-editor of a special issue (August 2000) of the MRS Bulletin on TCO. He has presented approximately 100 papers on thin films, has more than 20 U.S. patents and numerous foreign patents and pending patents in the field. Recent invited presentations and publications include at Anzio 2010 and TCM2010, and the chapter on TCOs in the book “Transparent Electronics: From Synthesis to Applications,”(Wiley) (2010).

Personal interests and activities are hiking, and traveling both domestic and foreign, including sailing, with his wife, Karen. Clark and Karen sailed roundtrip on their Passport 40 sailboat to the Hawaiian Islands. Clark served in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and was responsible for units in three states. Clark and Karen were married on the 378’ U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, “Sherman”. They currently reside in Tucson, AZ.


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2011 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

William D. Sproul

For his seminal contributions to the control of reactive sputtering processes and his pioneering work on the sputtering of hard structured coatings.

William D. Sproul is the founder and owner of Reactive Sputtering, Inc., a small company dedicated to enhancing the deposition rate and properties of reactively sputtered coatings. Prior to starting his own company, he worked at the American Can Company, Borg-Warner Corporation, Northwestern University, Sputtered Films, Inc., and Advanced Energy Industries. He also spent 4 years as a line officer in the U.S. Navy from 1968-1972 sailing the oceans of the world. Throughout his career he has been involved with the sputter and reactive sputter deposition of hard materials for wear and corrosion applications. He was an early advocate for unbalanced magnetron sputtering, and he and his co-workers were instrumental in the development of the opposed cathode, closed-field unbalanced magnetron sputtering process. He also recognized the importance of ion assisted deposition and its use for enhancing film properties, and today he is a very strong supporter of the developing high power pulsed magnetron sputtering, which he believes is the future for sputtering. He is the author or co-author of more than 173 technical papers, and he has given over 260 invited and contributed oral presentations. He has 11 patents to his credit, and he is the inventor of the high rate reactive sputtering process. He served on the SVC Board of Directors, he is a past president of the American Vacuum Society, and he has chaired the International Conference on Metallurgical Coating and Thin Films (ICMCTF) three times. He is a former editor for Surface and Coatings Technology, and he is currently on their Editorial Board. In 2003 he received the SVC Mentor Award and the AVS Thornton Award. He is an AVS Fellow and an AVS Honorary Member. He teaches short courses on Sputter Deposition, The Practice of Reactive Sputter Deposition, and Tribological Coatings. He received his Sc.B., Sc.M., and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science Engineering from Brown University in 1966, 1968, and 1975, respectively.

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2010 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Peter Martin

For his mulifaceted leadership within SVC in the education of practitioners of vacuum coatings, and for his technical contributions to the vacuum coatings field.

Pete Martin graduated from Case Institute of Technology in 1969 with a B.S. degree in physics and earned a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics in 1976 from the Ohio State University, where he specialized in galvanomagnetic properties of metals at low temperatures. After graduation he held a post doctoral appointment at Carnegie Mellon University studying helicon wave propagation in metals and then an Associate Professor appointment at Chicago State University. While at PNNL he worked in the Materials Sciences Department where he managed a technical group for fifteen years. Pete was elected a Laboratory Fellow in 2002. He retired from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2007 after 29 years of service and currently holds an Emeritus Laboratory Fellow appointment at PNNL. After retiring from PNNL he started consulting in the area of thin film technology and is President of Columbia Basin Thin Film Solutions LLC. He is also Executive Editor for Vacuum Technology & Coating magazine. He is currently Recent Past President of the Society of Vacuum Coaters and served as program chair for SVC’s 2001, 2002, and 2003 Technical Conferences, and was elected a Mentor of SVC in 2003.

While at PNNL Pete specialized in developing thin film coatings for energy, biomedical, space and defense applications. As far back as 1978 he helped pioneer the use of reactive magnetron sputtering technology to fabricate novel and advanced optical coating materials with improved durability and adhesion, improved optical performance, and reduced mechanical stress. He specialized in large area optical and thin film coating development and has worked with the Thirty Meter Telescope Project to develop durable broad spectrum high reflector coatings on large substrates. He also led development of high performance large area ground based and space based laser mirrors for DOD applications. He also co-led a team developing barrier coatings for flat panel displays, molecular electronics, and thin film batteries. His research team pioneered laser micromachining, bulk and surface micromachining processes, and microlamination processes for microfluidic, micro-scale heat exchangers, heat pumps, combustors, chemical reactors, chemical sensors, and chemical separative reactors.

The most recent work involved development of photocatalytic coatings for a photolytic artificial lung, advanced reflective coatings for the Thirty Meter Telescope, thermoelectric quantum well structures (DOE, nanolaminate and superlattice coatings (DOE), solar control coatings, advanced conductive coatings, nanolaminate protective, piezoelectric coatings for high frequency transducers, large area silicon coatings, and specialized medical coatings.

He edited the totally revised Third Edition of Handbook of Deposition Technologies for Films and Coatings (Elsevier), which has just been published. Pete has written over 400 technical publications and given over 200 presentations, has won three R&D 100 Awards for his work in microfabrication and barrier coatings for flat panel displays, has two Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) awards, was selected Battelle Technology of the Year (2003) for his work with the photolytic artificial lung, voted Distinguished Inventor, and Battelle 2005 Inventor of the Year. He has over thirty US patents and numerous foreign and pending patents in microtechnology, advanced thermoelectric materials, photocatalytic coatings, coatings technology and barrier coating areas. Pete also teaches short courses on Photovoltaics, Smart Materials and Energy Materials and Applications, and has been a guest lecturer at the Ecole Polytechnique (Montreal). He also served as Associate Editor for Optical Engineering before his retirement.

Pete’s outside passions are amateur astronomy, woodworking and carving. He has a small cabinet making business. One of his most important and satisfying activities is coaching the Kamiakin High School varsity tennis team, which he has coached for over ten years. He girl’s teams won Washington 4A and 3A state championships for the past two years.  Ludmila, his wife of 36 years, holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Ohio State and also workd for PNNL

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2009 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

David A. Glocker

For his many years of service as an SVC officer, board member, and teacher, and for his development of inverted cylindrical magnetron sputter source technology.

Dave’s first involvement with vacuum technology was while doing his graduate work at Clemson University.  There he learned to evaporate metals and evacuate and seal off glass vessels in order to grow the crystals needed for his electron transport measurements.  By compensating for the extremely low yield of this process with a very large number of attempts, he was eventually able to receive his PhD in physics in 1975. 

After leaving Clemson he became a member of the physics faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology and taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses.  In 1980 Dave took what was intended to be a one-year leave of absence to work in the target fabrication group at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics.  The group was supported by British Petroleum and Dave’s focus quickly evolved into sputtering amorphous silicon for solar cells.  That was an area of significant interest for BP at the time and the one-year leave turned into a permanent job.

In 1983 BP moved their personnel to Cleveland and Dave and his wife Janet decided to stay in Rochester (requiring their three year old son Roan to do so as well).  He took a job at Eastman Kodak, where he led a group that was responsible for understanding and scaling up the vacuum coating processes needed to produce magnetic and optical storage media.  This was his first exposure to meeting the demands of a manufacturing environment, which he found invigorating.  His research focused on methods for high rate reactive sputtering, the optimization and control of sputtering processes and the plasma treatment of polymers.  That work led to Kodak’s early use of dual cathode ac reactive sputtering, which was transferred into manufacturing there in 1987.

In 1993, while still at Kodak, Dave founded Isoflux Incorporated to make and sell cylindrical magnetrons using the Penfold and Thornton designs.  A manufacturing and sales relationship quickly developed with Ion Tech (now Veeco-Ion Tech), which grew to the point that Dave was able to leave Kodak in 1998.  Today Isoflux manufactures a variety of cathodes, sold primarily to medical device manufacturers, and is licensing proprietary coatings that it has developed for that market.

Dave has served in a number of positions with the SVC.  He has chaired the Education Committee and the Emerging Technologies TAC and has been a member of the Board of Directors and most recently Secretary.  He is presently a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, the Nominations Committee and Chair of the Vacuum Processes and Coatings for Health Care Applications Technical Advisory Committee.

Dave’s interests include fly-fishing, reading American history and working on a host of small projects around his farm.  He also spends as much time as possible with Janet, Roan and Roan’s wife Miranda, all of whom bring him great joy.

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2008 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Günter Bräuer

For his leadership and outstanding contributions to research, development and manufacture, in the fields of coatings and surface technology.

Günter Bräuer was born and raised in the northern part of Hesse, Germany.  He studied physics at the University of Gießen, where he received his diploma in 1980 and his doctorate degree in 1984. His research work at the university was focused in the field of ion beam sputtering.

In 1984, Günter joined Leybold-Heraeus in Hanau as a member of the R&D department for thin film technology. During his first years at Leybold he was mainly engaged in the development of reactive magnetron sputter processes for dielectric films and ITO. From 1988 through 1992, he was manager of R&D groups for coatings on data storage media and large area glass coating. He was appointed head of R&D in 1992 and vice president of Leybold Systems GmbH in 1995.

Günter has been professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig, teaching thin film technology since 1999. He is head of the university institute for surface technology as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST) in Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer Institute for Electron and Plasma Technology (FEP) in Dresden. For many years he has been involved in the organization of the International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering (PSE) and the International Conference on Coatings on Glass (ICCG). Since 2004, he has acted as the chairman of the European Joint Committee on Ion and Plasma Surface Engineering. He has been chairman of the board of a German network of competence entitled Industrial Plasma Surface Technology (INPLAS), since 2006.

Günter lives with his wife, Monika, and two sons in Cremlingen, a village in the east of Braunschweig.  He is pleased that students are showing an interest in thin film technology.

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2007 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Donald M. Mattox

For his development of the ion plating process and long-term commitment to education in the vacuum coating community.

After serving as an officer in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, Don Mattox returned to school under the GI Bill and graduated with an MS in Solid State Physics from the University of Kentucky in 1960. In 1961 he went to work as a Staff Member at Sandia Corporation, now Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). Don retired from SNL in 1989 after 28 years as a Member of the Technical Staff and then as Technical Supervisor. At retirement he was Supervisor of SNL’s Surface and Interface Technology Division. Don has had more than 45 years experience in research, development, application, and production of thin films and coatings prepared by PVD processes and other techniques. He has published more than 100 papers and book chapters on the subject of PVD processing. Don was President of the American Vacuum Society (now AVS – The Science and Technology Society) in 1985. At the 9th International Conference on Vacuum Metallurgy (ICVM) Don received an award “In Recognition of Contributions Made to Metallurgical Coating Technology (1961 to 1988).” In 1995 he was the recipient of the AVS Albert Nerken Award for his work in the development of the ion plating process, which uses bombardment by energetic atomic-sized particles to improve adhesion and modify coating morphology and properties. He has taught short tutorials on various aspects of vacuum coating for 40 years for organizations such as the Materials Research Society (MRS), AVS – The Science and Technology Society, the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC) as well as numerous on-site tutorials at academic and industrial sites.

In 1985 he and his wife Vivienne founded Management Plus, Inc., (MPI), an association management company, where, after his retirement from SNL, he provided consulting services on PVD processing, technology transfer, and patent litigation. From 1989 through 2006 Don served as the Technical Director of the Society of Vacuum Coaters. In 2004 Don was honored by the SVC by their naming their noon hour tutorial program at the annual TechCon “The Donald M. Mattox Tutorial Program.” At Anzio, Italy in 2006 he received the “Life for Thin Films” award at the Conference of European Vacuum Coaters.

He is the author of the Handbook of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) Processing published by William Andrew/Noyes Publications (1998) and The Foundations of Vacuum Coating Technologies published by Noyes Publications (2003). He is also the author of the SVC Education Guides to Vacuum Coating Processing series and co-editor of 50 Years of Vacuum Coating Technology and the Growth of the Society of Vacuum Coaters (2007).

Don’s personal life has involved mountaineering, canyoneering, hiking, and exotic traveling. He has done technical climbing in the Peruvian Andes, the Central Ruwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon) of Uganda, Mt. Cook (Aorangi) in New Zealand, Pumori and the Miristi Kohla Valley in Nepal, and on the volcanoes of Mexico. Over the years Don has spent several hundred days hiking and exploring in the Grand Canyon of Arizona. In 1975 Don and several companions made the first continuous hiking/rafting trip through the Barranca del Cobre (Copper Canyon) of Mexico (from the Umira Bridge to Urique). Don was President of the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council (AMRC) for 12 years and developed the training program that allowed the AMRC to become part of the national Mountain Rescue Association. Don and Vivienne have a son Kyle Simmons Harwood and a daughter-in-law Elege, as well as a daughter Melissa and son-in-law Doug Froelich, along with granddaughters Lindsey and Carly Froelich.

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2006 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Carlo Misiano

For his wide ranging contributions to all aspects of vacuum coating technology and for his many services to the community of vacuum users.

Carlo Misiano was born in Rome, Italy. He studied Physics at the University of Rome, La Sapienza, and in 1967 was awarded his Doctorate in Physics. In that same year he joined the Research Department of Selenia where he began work in thin-film technology, the subject that, since then, has occupied his entire professional life.

In Selenia the two major fields of activity were microelectronics, especially microwave integrated circuits, and optical coatings for solar cells and laser components.

In the early 1970’s Carlo began research into the applications of RF Sputtering, both in deposition and in etching, in the areas of microelectronics, optics and infrared detectors. He was responsible for a number of significant advances, mostly patented, that, under his supervision, were introduced into pilot production lines.

Many of the machines were designed and constructed by him in house. They included machines for sputtering deposition and etching, ion-beam sputter deposition, ion-beam etching, reactive ion etching and, early in the 1980’s, plasma-assisted ion plating.

He continued his research at Selenia until 1988. Then he was approached by Officine Galileo to create a thin-film research center. The result was the Centro Tecnologie del Vuoto, known all over the world as CeTeV. Carlo served as Director and then, later, also as President. The interests of CeTeV were somewhat different from Selenia. Microelectronics was not on the new list. Instead the major interests were packaging, and optical coatings. Packaging meant roll-toroll coaters with emphasis on transparent barrier coatings. Optical coatings involved higher energy plasma-assisted ion plating, where both thermal and sputtering sources were used, and ion-beam assisted deposition.

Carlo retired officially from CeTeV in 2001 but this did not mean retiring from the subject that had occupied him for so long. He created a small research company, Romana Film Sottili, which has a research laboratory in Anzio and works on a number of European research projects.

During his career in thin films Carlo has produced more than 80 research papers and has been awarded more than 40 patents. He has been a constant contributor to the SVC Technical Conferences. He has been Vice President and President of the Associazone Italiana del Vuoto (AIV). Since 1998 he has been external professor in the University of L’Aquila where he teaches thin-film technology.

In 1994 he founded the European Vacuum Coaters and created the series of biennial conferences in Italy, the International Symposium of European Vacuum Coaters, which, helped by his wife Gloria, he still organizes, and which will take place for the seventh time in October 2006. Not only is Carlo a major figure in thin films, but he writes and publishes poetry in the Roman dialect, he is an accomplished musician, a classical scholar and he has written, directed and acted in a number of theatrical plays.

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2005 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

J.A. (George) Dobrowolski (1931-2013)

In recognition of his continung significant contributions to knowledge of optical coatings, in design, manufacture, and applications.

George has been interested in optical thin films since 1953. At that time he was studying at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, England. After graduating in 1955 with a Ph.D. degree in Applied Optics, he accepted a Postgraduate Scholarship from the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC). One year later he was offered a position. He retired in 1991, but
was named a Researcher Emeritus, so his association with the NRCC is now in its 50th year.

George is interested in all types of optical filters for electromagnetic radiation, extending from the X-ray to the submillimeter spectral regions. However, he specializes in filters and coatings based on the interference of light in thin films. He considers himself to be very lucky that he has been able to remain in this field throughout this scientific career.

The main thrust of George’s work during his first period at the NRCC was the design of filters with any prescribed spectral transmittance or reflectance characteristics. He devised a number of numerical thin film synthesis programs. He showed that it is possible for normal incidence and for a reasonable spectral range to design filters with almost any spectral characteristics. At this point the new challenge
became to devise deposition methods that would permit such complicated filters to be made routinely and with sufficient precision. George and his colleagues developed a process for the automatic deposition of very complex optical coatings in which in-situ measurements of the transmittance of partial coatings were combined with the real-time reoptimization of the remaining layers of the system to improve the performance of the final product.

In 1968 George and his colleagues suggested to the Bank of Canada that the iridescent behavior of optical thin films could be used to inhibit the counterfeiting of banknotes and other valuable papers. They hold the first patent in this field. This was followed by intense work at the NRCC with a consortium of interested companies on the construction of prototype roll coating facilities for the deposition of optical multilayer coatings onto plastic webs. Two processes were developed, one based on electron beam gun evaporation, the other on magnetron sputtering. Currently the second generation of Canadian banknotes carries optical thin film security devices based on this proposal.

George has always been interested in novel applications of optical thin film coatings. Other devices that stem from his laboratory and found their way into the market place are black layer coatings and high-contrast electroluminescent screens. Currently he and his colleagues are engaged in numerical, theoretical, and experimental studies of the possibility of making broadband wide-angle antireflection coatings.

George Dobrowolski is a member of the OSA, the SPIE, and, of tutorial, the SVC, where is serving on the Optical TAC. He has published a number of book chapters, many scientific papers, and he is named co-inventor on many patents. He has given many invited talks at various scientific conferences and has taught short tutorials in Canada, the USA, in Europe, China, India, and Japan. He has given regular tutorials at the University of Rochester (since 1986) and at the Annual Technical Meetings of the Society of Vacuum Coaters (since 1995).


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2004 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Donald J. McClure

For his service to the SVC and his contributions and teaching in the area of vacuum web coating.

Don was first exposed to the wonders of science in high school in his hometown of Detroit, MI.  He attended Wayne State University and earned a BS degree in chemistry and (almost by accident) mathematics.  An interest in theoretical chemistry took him to the University of Minnesota, where his graduate studies were interrupted by three years of gainful employment.  Returning to grad school, he felt an experimental thesis would be far more saleable and signed on to build a ferociously complicated merged molecular beam apparatus for the study of fundamental chemical reactions.  This was where his love for vacuum processing really took hold.

Don was invited to Bell Labs for a post-doctoral position and followed that with a real job at IBM’s Yorktown Heights, NY, research center.  There he immersed himself in vacuum deposited coatings for developing electroluminescent displays.  After five years at IBM, Don returned to Minnesota, joining 3M’s corporate research laboratory, where he stayed for the last 22 years.

At 3M, Don has straddled the interface between research and development, almost always involved with vacuum coating, and mostly onto flexible substrates.  He has worked on a broad range of programs, including preparation of vacuum-deposited 8-mm video tape, metallization of reflectors for automotive and optical applications, coating of conductors for flexible circuit constructions, coating of transparent conductors for architectural glazing applications, PDLC and electrochromic switchable windows, and etching of polymer surfaces for adhesion enhancement.  He recently joined a group developing flexible organic electronic materials and devices.

Don had the good fortune of attending the SVC for the first time in 1984.  It’s been an annual pilgrimage (almost) every year since then.  He was roped-in to offer his first “Workshop on Vacuum Web Coating” in 1990.  Once started, it was too much fun to stop, and he continued until 1996.  He offered his first tutorial, "Basics of Vacuum Web Coating," in 1994, and added his tutorial on “Sputter Deposition onto Flexible Substrates” in 2003.  All were developed out of his love for the topics.

He was selected for the Board in 1991 and was elected Vice-President in 1994, President in 1996, and became Past President in 1998.  He became the inaugural Secretary to the Board in 2000, and served for four years.  It was his great joy to be associated with the SVC during a period of remarkable growth.  He is grateful to all the people who actually made that happen.  He counts many of the people he has met here as his friends and thanks them for their patience, support, and kindness.

Outside of vacuum coating, Don is active in leadership roles in his church, is proud to wear several hats for the Habitat for Humanity organization, is pleased to be working with IPM (an international mission organization), plays keyboards semiprofessionally in a band, enjoys hiking, biking, snorkeling, model building, travel, and is looking forward to life at the lake with his ever-tolerant bride, Jodie, who allowed their honeymoon to be interrupted by an SVC Board meeting back in 1999.

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2003 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

John B. Fenn, Jr.

For his achievements in the development of roll-to-roll coating technology and products.

John B. Fenn, Jr., has been actively involved in vacuum coatings, systems, and equipment for almost his whole life. He first got interested in vacuum by helping out in his father’s Molecular Beam Laboratory as a teenager. At Tufts University, while earning his B.S. degree in Chemistry (1967), he worked on a summer project with one of his professors who was trying to measure the molecular absorption of hydrogen gas by palladium powder in a hand-blown glass vacuum system. It was during this work, after several minor explosions, that John became acutely aware of the possible adverse effects of air leaks in vacuum systems. John spent his next few years mired in the chemistry of rare earth ions in the solid state at Purdue University, earning a Ph.D. in 1972. He returned to the realm of vacuum as a Post Doctoral Fellow at UCLA, working with Dr. Howard Reiss on nucleation effects using diffusion cloud-based techniques.

After a few false starts in non-vacuum related businesses, he was hired as a Product and Market Development Engineer at Sierracin’s Intrex Division in 1977. This was one of the first companies commercially involved in roll-to-roll sputter roll coating, first introducing indium tin oxide deposited on PET film in 1976. John stayed with Sierracin, working in various capacities of technical and marketing development, until 1983. Later that year he helped co-found the Andus Corporation, a company dedicated to developing products and new technologies based on sputter roll coating. It was during this time that he started to become involved with the SVC.

He attended his first SVC TechCon in 1984, which was held in Detroit. It was a notable event because it was the first time that the Society held a table-top exhibit in combination with a cocktail party to facilitate participant interaction. It was during this meeting that the seeds of the Vacuum Web Coating TAC were first planted. Those of us involved in this market realized that we needed a forum to help grow our business; the SVC was an obvious choice. The Web TAC formally came into existence in 1989.

John has continued his strong interest in the SVC through the years. He became a Director on the Society’s Board in 1988, the infamous year that the Society showed a "negative fund" balance after the San Francisco Meeting. He was one of the originators of the Corporate Sponsor Program. He was co-chair of the Program Committee for two years, became the first Director of TACs, and continued to serve on the Board, becoming the Vice President in 2000.

During all of this time, John remained closely connected to the vacuum coating business. The Andus Corporation was sold to Courtaulds in 1989 where it became part of Courtaulds Performance Films. He served in various roles as Sales and Marketing Director, Head of Technology, and a Vice President until leaving the company to become the President of Leybold Technologies in 1995. He then got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug again in 1997 and started up NeoVac with Celplast. This company was eventually sold to Bekaert in 2001 and is now part of Bekaert Specialty Films. John is currently the Director of Business Development for Display Products.

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2002 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

H. Angus Macleod

For his achievements in educating the vacuum coating commuity about optical coating design.

Angus Macleod was born in Scotland and educated in Lenzie Academy and then the University of Glasgow, where he studied Natural Philosophy. In those days, Scotland offered less to science graduates than it does today, and so upon graduating he headed south to London and a Graduate Apprenticeship with Sperry Gyroscope Company, looking forward to a career in rigid-body dynamics. After a few happy years, mainly in vibration-induced nutation, he discovered two things: first that he had developed a good sense of the right time to leave an organization, and second that he had somehow stumbled into optical coatings and liked what he had found there.

His early efforts at optical coatings were with a small company of manufacturing physicists called Mervyn Instruments, who would cheerfully take on anything from levitation to building an advanced battleship, by a happy chance situated just down the road from Oliver Heavens’s thin-film deposition laboratory at Royal Holloway College.

Through most of the 1960s he was with Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons & Company, an optics company in the northeast of England known for optical coatings, infrared instrumentation, and large astronomical telescopes. It was here that Angus wrote the first edition of his book, "Thin-Film Optical Filters," which is now in it s Third Edition.

Early in the 1970s he joined the newly formed Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, now the University of Northumbria, as Reader in Thin Film Physics. There he ran a successful research program on optical coatings; trained graduate students; began a lasting, close, and fruitful collaboration with the University of Aix-Marseille; gained a Doctorate of Technology from the Council for National Academic Awards; and received a telephone call from Peter Franken, then Director of the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.

In 1979 he began his long association with the University of Arizona as Professor of Optical Sciences. His thin-film optics laboratory at the University trained graduate students from all over the world. His well-developed sense of timing and self-preservation caused him, in late 1995 when funding for academic optical coating research collapsed, to seek refuge once again in industry.

He is currently Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona; but his "real job" is President of Thin Film Center, a company known for software and training in optical coatings. His class contact hours for the Company are now over 10 times what they were at the University. In 1987 he received the Gold Medal of the SPIE, and in 1997, the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal of the Optical Society of America and the degree of docteur honoris causa from the University of Aix-Marseille. He gained the John Matteucci Award from the International Conference on Vacuum Web Coating in 2000. He has more than 200 publications in the field of optical coatings but is certainly best known for his book, "Thin-Film Optical Filters."

Angus has been an active member of the SVC for many years and a Director since 1998. He as served as chair of the Education Committee since 2000. His SVC short tutorials, "An Introduction to Optical Coatings" and "Coatings for Wavelength Division Multiplexing" (for which he is co-developer) are among the most popular of the SVC educational offerings. He also is a regular resource serving in the SVC "Meet the Experts" Corner.

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2001 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Robert Cormia

For his achievements in the field of roll-to-roll coating technology and the development of energy effcient window products.

Bob Cormia has been a shining star in the vacuum coating industry for more than four decades. His biography includes many groundbreaking, industry-changing "firsts." He has been a deeply involved and active member of SVC since 1980. He started his career in 1954 as a technician at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, while working on his physics degree at Union College. While at GE, he received two patents in the field of thin film coatings and published as co-author with David Turnbull of Harvard University in the field of nucleation kinetics, crystallization from glassy materials, and modeling of liquid and crystalline structures with a hard sphere dynamic model. Bob also built one of the first radio frequency (rf) sputtering systems (from a Heathkit power supply and an old police car radio) for the deposition of dielectrics and performed the first rf sputter etching of microcircuits using the apparatus. From 1966 to 1970, he worked in GE’s semiconductor division and developed the cathode design that became the industry standard for through-wall mounting of sputter sources.

In 1970, Bob traded the harsh winters of Syracuse, NY, for the sunny climate of Berkely, CA, where he joined Airco Temescal. There he was responsible for the design, development, and commercial introduction of the first planar cathode—a technology used in CD products today. While at Temescal, Bob also invented the twin magnetron plasma polymerization device for deposition of the polymer on the RCA disc and the mid-frequency sputtering cathode to prevent arcing when reactively sputtering materials (like titanium oxide) from a titanium target.

From 1978 to 1980, Bob worked at Suntek Research Associates, became a partner in Heat Mirror Associates, and helped form the Southwall Corporation in 1979. In 1978 the first wide web planar magnetron machine was made for Suntek/Southwall and became the production machine for the Heat Mirror product. Many machines followed—and they all worked and all are still in production.

From 1980, Bob has served in several capacities at Southwall—from Director of Development, VP Engineering, VP Technology and Operations, Sr. VP Technology, and Intellectual Properties Manager, to the current position of Southwall Fellow. During this time, he has had either primary responsibility or significant involvement in all major machine builds, machine acquisitions, instrument developments, and overall responsibility for the integrity of the technology installed in the equipment that produces Southwall’s products. He is recognized for his contributions to the development and maturing of the roll-to-roll planar magnetron sputtering technology.

Bob holds five patents, all in the field of thin film technology. One of special significance is the invention of mid-frequency sputtering (P/N 4,046,659, now expired), which is fundamental to the deposition of dielectrics for AR products. He is a member and former officer in the SVC. While his full-time work at Southwall and his part-time bicycle business leaves little free time, he still finds time for biking, skiing, and boating. His wife and he enjoy these activities with their children and grandchildren at their Tahoe home.

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2000 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Peter R. Denton

For his leadership during difficult times for the SVC.

Peter Denton has spent over 20 years in the optical thin film, vacuum deposition and chemical optical coating field. His experience has included developing new technology, managing Denton Vacuum, Inc. (DVI), initiating new business start-ups and active participation in the Society of Vacuum Coaters.

Peter started in the vacuum coating industry in 1977 when he joined his parents’ company at 31. Prior to this, he spent 3 years in management consulting and was Vice President Finance and Operations of a high volume jewelry manufacturing company for 4 years. Peter graduated from MIT with a degree in Electrical Engineering and has an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Peter was initially in charge of DVI’s in-house optical coating service business and its chemical optical coating division. In 1978 he managed the introduction of Denglas®, a broad band anti-reflection coated glass used in the picture framing industry. In 1982 Peter followed his father and became President of DVI. In the 1980s a major focus of Peter’s efforts was developing ion-assisted deposition technology for optical coatings and automation of complex precision optical coating systems. He also spearheaded the first introduction of low cost, dual side coated anti-glare filters. In the early 1990s, Peter reorganized Denton Vacuum and its chemical optical coating division, Denglas Technologies, into product specific divisions and significantly added to the management team in each division. In 1995 he initiated the purchase of Leybold Technologies compact disk metallizer product line. He lead a team of management and financial partners to create Singulus Technologies AG, which is now a successful manufactur er of equipment used to produce optical memory products (compact disks, digital versatile disks, CD-Rs, etc.).

In 1998, Peter resigned as CEO of both Denton Vacuum, LLC, and Denglas Technologies, LLC. He became non-executive chairman of each company. This provided the opportunity for Peter to devote most of his working time to a major interest of his—reform of the public education system. In 1999, Peter established a nonprofit organization called Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) to promote school choice and school reform in New Jersey. E3 will have a professional staff of five and is to become a grass roots organization of 100,000 or more participants interested in school reform in New Jersey. Also during 1999, Peter spearheaded a major expansion of Denglas Technologies’ chemical coating technology. A new 53,000 square foot building has been constructed and coating equipment is being installed in 2000.

The Society of Vacuum Coaters was a major activity of Peter’s for many years. He spent 14 years on the Board of Directors (1978 to 1992)—including 6 years as Treasurer, 4 years as Vice President, 2 years as President, and 2 years as past President and Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee. He was heavily involved in the reorganization of the SVC in the mid 1980s to create technical advisory committees, recruit corporate sponsors, and recruit professional management for the society. These and other efforts contributed to putting the SVC on a sound financial and organizational footing.

When Peter is not working on education reform, he spends as much time as possible sailing with his wife Audrey. He loves racing sailboats that do not have engines. Engines require too much engineering-like work!

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1999 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Ernst Hartwig

For his achievements in roll-to-roll vacuum coating and technology.

Ernst Hartwig was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. Following the interruption of his education during World War II, he graduated in 1947, studied at the Physical Institute of Humboldt University in East Berlin, then graduated in 1955 from the Free University in Berlin’s western sector with a degree in Physics.

In 1956 he joined AEG, first at an industrial electronics plant, then at AEG’s Industrial Research Institute in Berlin. In 1961 he was placed in charge of AEG’s laboratory at their Research Institute in Frankfurt, working on Isochron Cyclotron particle acceleration. In 1969 he became a department manager in the accelerator division.

In 1974, following the dissolution of the AEG Cyclotron research division, Leybold Heraeus offered Ernst a position as manager of its Vacuum Web Coating division. Ernst inherited a department focused primarily on systems for vacuum coating thin polymer webs for the production of electrical condensors. He quickly recognized the potential of web coating for other applications. A new series of web coaters was developed based on the principles of the condensor system, and the first three were put into operation in 1977.

Expanding on this early success, Ernst directed Leybold’s entry into other vacuum web coating markets requiring functional coatings with much more demanding specifications for layer properties and uniformity. In 1980, the first commercial vacuum web coater was produced utilizing magnetron sputtering cathodes. Later that year, several special systems equipped with multiple high-frequency sputter cathodes were made. These systems were designed for use in printing and anti-counterfeiting applications. Based on these successes, and the growing interest in web coating worldwide, Leybold’s vacuum web coating department became an independent division with Ernst at the helm. Three distinct product lines—condensor systems, packaging systems, and special systems—were created.

During his 18 years at Leybold, Ernst worked tirelessly to introduce new technology and to expand the market for web coating. For his efforts, Ernst has earned recognition worldwide as a leading authority in his field.

Ernst was instrumental in securing the participation of the Fraunhofer Institute to independently compile and publish data on web coating, especially for vacuum packaging. The ensuing research and development activity served to improve vacuum-coated foil end-products, bringing about cooperation among sectors in the flexible packaging industry (metallizers, converters, systems manufacturers, foil suppliers, and users) and funded jointly or alternately by industry, state, and federal government agencies. Ernst has been the Fraunhofer Institute’s industry spokesman for 10 years, first as Leybold’s representative, and as a freelance consultant since 1995.

Ernst was instrumental in establishing the European Metallizers Association (EMA), which was founded in 1987 and modeled after AIMCAL. He served on EMA’s Technical Committee, ran public relations activities, and introduced a Product of the Year Award. Ernst initiated and conducted four web coating symposia in Germany, Japan, and Korea on behalf of Leybold. He is an active member and frequent speaker at SVC, AIMCAL, CARTS, and other industry groups. Ernst has authored more than 60 special publications and trade articles and is currently writing a book on the history of vacuum web coating.

Now an independent consultant, Ernst Hartwig lives with his wife Helga in Mainaschaff, Germany.

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1998 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Peter J. Clarke (1931–2002)

For his contributions to the development of magnetron sputtering.

Peter Joseph Clarke was born in New York City, the son of immigrant Irish parents. He was the third of six children. After graduating from High School, he entered the United States Air Force and served two years in occupied Japan during the Korean conflict. He was stationed for the remainder of his enlistment at California’s March Air Force Base. On returning home, Peter took advantage of the opportunity offered by the GI Bill. He attended Iona College in New Rochelle, NY and majored in Physics. He graduated in 1959.

Peter is currently the founder and president of Sputtered Films, Inc. in Santa Barbara, California. Before starting his own company, Peter worked at the General Electric Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. He was chosen by Tom Vanderslice to join the new Vacuum Products Division at GE where he worked for several years. He later worked at Veeco Instruments in Plainview, N.Y. in their product development labs, working on a variety of vacuum system products.

It was Peter’s work as a graduate student at Union College in Schenectady that initially piqued his interest in vacuum science. Through intense study and experimentation using the basic principles of Penning, he developed his graduate thesis on the Penning Cell Discharge. He has maintained his respect for Penning’s work and also for that of Theurer and Hauser of Bell Labs for their theories on getter sputtering. Peter has made his most meaningful contributions to vacuum science by understanding the work of these scientists and building on it to develop commercially successful applications.

In 1965, Peter invented the S-Gun, a magnetron sputtering device, which is the core of the production machines he has developed and patented in his company. His Cassette to Cassette wafer metallizer (the C-to-C Coater) was the first automated system used to vacuum-coat wafers using physical vapor deposition (PVD). It is still in use at Bell Labs and Motorola. With the development of the Endeavor Cluster Tool, Sputtered Films moved into the world of robotic wafer transfer and computer controlled wafer processing under vacuum. These machines represent important capital equipment for the Semiconductor industry. They are used in the manufacture of system interconnects and in under-bump metallization. Peter’s most recent project is the Shamrock MR/GMR orbital planetary PVD system, which produces Magneto-Resistive and Giant Magneto-Resistive thin films. Already in production, the Shamrock serves the ever-growing Magnetic Head industry worldwide. Focusing on the immediate vacuum environment in each of these tools has proven most successful, and Peter attributes his ability to zero in on this prime source to the teachings and examples of the scientists who preceded him in vacuum exploration. He holds numerous patents and has authored many scientific articles relating to reactive sputtering.

Peter lives with his wife Carole, virtually surrounded by his five children and their families, which include seven grandchildren, in Santa Barbara. He works in his Laboratory at Sputtered Films every day, furthering the capabilities of the Shamrock and perfecting its performance. He continues to explore, investigate, and enjoy his work. He continually interacts with his customers, his employees, and his professional peers.

Peter’s wife and two of his children are important contributing employees at Sputtered Films. It is of special interest to note that Peter is held in such respect and affection by his employees, that on the occasion of the Company’s thirtieth anniversary, the employees of Sputtered Films established a scholarship in honor of Peter and Carole Clarke at the Santa Barbara City College for students majoring in Science, Math, Physics and English.

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1997 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Alan "Mike" Plaisted

For his leadership contributions to the SVC.

Alan "Mike" Plaisted was born and educated in Maine, graduating from the University of Maine at Orono, with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering in 1951. His first career of 23 years was with the Lighting Products Division of GTE Sylvania in Ipswich, MA. He progressed through various engineering, sales and marketing positions, finally heading up the GTE New Ventures Group. During this time he joined the SVC some thirty years ago.

Mike left GTE to found the North America division of Ulvac, Japan. As the consummate people person, Mike formed a lifelong relationship with Dr. C. Hyashi, the President of Ulvac, and true to the State of Maine, convinced Ulvac to locate the new company in Maine. He also found time to parent seven children, and in an effort to explain his seemingly opaque occupation to them, started Soleras Ltd. in 1968 as a side business. The company name consists of one letter from each child’s name.

After 10 years of building Ulvac into a full fledged US subsidiary, Mike left and fulfilled his life long dream of running Soleras as a full time manufacturing firm. The first facility was in a dirt floored carriage house basement. The goal was simple - "to stay alive" and do it in Maine. Soleras has indeed stayed alive, and flourished. The family owned and run business is home to 68 people including one son and one daughter. The carriage house has been followed by six moves, finally last year into a new specially designed building owned by Soleras.

Mike has gone from driving 132 mph down the German Autobahn in 1970 to quietly putting around his Vermont farm in a Harley golf cart. Similarly, his house decor has progressed from a Telex in his living room in the 70’s to a full home office with web surfing in the 90’s. The filing system he has maintained throughout his career, stuffing papers into milk crates, is now in vogue - with Staples actually charging for the containers!

He has been awarded two U.S.Patents, one in 1970 for a Fluid Heating Device, and another in 1990 for Formation of a Wire Ball Bond. He has conducted many other engineering studies, and is the only man known to burn a hole through a Pyrex kitchen dish, wooden stool and 6" of concrete while "cleaning a Moly crucible". He once instructed his son to melt Naphthalene for an insulation project prior to leaving for lunch. Upon return, Soleras was found mothballed with the condensate. The rafters sparkled and the aroma lasted for days!

Mike’s energy and strong willingness to do the best for his family, friends, children and for the betterment of people has been a constant throughout. He travels extensively for business, but now takes some downtime with his wife Joan at the Vermont farm and eight grandchildren and garden.

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1996 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Dale Missimer (1925–2010)

For his development of cryo condensation pumping technology and commercial pumping equipment.

Dale Missimer’s refrigeration engineering wizardry has created systems used in hundreds of applications. Vacuum deposition systems, X-ray and Gamma-ray detectors, cryotherapy equipment, and environmental test equipment, are only some of the beneficiaries of products developed by him. His inventions and products have solved many difficulties seen every day by manufacturers and users of high vacuum chambers.

After graduating with distinction in Electrical Engineering from The Rice Institute in 1946, Dale Missimer began his work with environmental chambers. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he began seeking colder temperatures with mixed refrigeration. This ongoing development work thrived. In 1984, the PFC product line won a prestigious R&D Magazine I.R 100 award for "One of the 100 Most-Significant Technical Products of the Year." For more than 20 years, Dale’s company, Polycold Systems International, has produced these systems.

Dale Missimer holds five patents and is the coauthor of a number of patents. He has published a dozen technical papers for nationally recognized trade magazines, and is often asked to lecture on his area of expertise. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Vacuum Equipment Manufacturers and the Board of Governors of Federated Employers of the San Francisco Bay Area. Dale is an active member of the Rotary Club and a member of many technical and scientific societies.

Dale married Mary Suzanne Bennett in April 1952. They have three children and four grandchildren. Dale is a bicyclist, a wine grape grower, an oil painter, a traveler, and photographer.

These days, Dale chooses to spend time at the office teaching and training young engineers and technicians, outlining and performing research and development, and planning for the future.

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1995 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Richard A. Denton (1914–2003)

For his contributions to the development of commercial optical coating machinery and technology.

Denton was born in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated from MIT with a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MS in both Colloid Chemistry and Economics. He is an unusual combination of entrepreneur, engineer and businessman who fearlessly implements new technologies, often at a fixed price. He has created new processes, products and scaled up production in a manner that has earned the respect and warm regard of colleagues throughout the globe.

Richard entered thin film technology when he was placed in charge of optical coating development at the Frankford Arsenal during World War II. In 1945 he started Optical Film Engineering Company producing optical coatings, equipment, and small preparation equipment for electron microscopy. In 1954 he helped with the rapid growth of OCLI and went on in 1964 with his wife, Virginia, to found Denton Vacuum. The 70’s saw his introduction of the first U.S.A. sol-gel glass coating facility for 3200 square inch sheets and delivery of an 80 kW sputtering system with 11-foot long cathodes. Ion sources and system automation were projects for the 80’s along with large area coating technology. He has been awarded nine patents and written numerous technical papers.

Not content with business and technology, Richard helped found the American Vacuum Society and was a two-term director. He founded the Delaware Valley Chapter of the AVS and the Optical Society of America. His family has always been part of his life and he and Virginia have three children and six grandchildren. His son, Peter, and two grandchildren have followed in his footsteps at MIT.

As Peter has taken the day-to-day reins of the growing business, Richard and Virginia have been able to travel extensively. Richard is a sailor who took up scuba diving in his 50’s, windsurfing in his 60’s, but now, at 80, complains that his grandchildren beat him at tennis.

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1994 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Marsbed Hablanian

For his development of diffusion pumps for vacuum coating systems.

On a clear, crisp, winter evening in Massachusetts, a full moon reflects off a new blanket of snow and can light up the landscape. But when Mars Hablanian looks at that moon, he sees something more than most people.

Mars Hablanian is one of the select group of scientists who helped create vacuum chambers that tested the rocket systems that propelled astronauts to the moon; and it was vacuum gauges developed under his supervision that astronauts used to characterize the lunar atmosphere.

While lunar vacuum gauges may be the most celebrated beneficiaries of his contributions, his inventions and experimental research have broad applications in fields such as high-energy physics, and thermal uses of electron beams; as well as in semiconductor manufacturing systems, cancer therapy equipment, analytical instruments, and vacuum tubes and equipment. In his more than 30 years with Varian (formerly NRC), he has been instrumental in forging the leadership of his company in vacuum pumps and leak detectors. His own discoveries improved vacuum pump efficiency.

Unlike some, Hablanian has a firm grasp on the marketplace. "I'm not an 'ivory tower' scientist" he says. "I like practical work - creating three-dimensional devices that come out and live in the world."

Most recently, Hablanian and his colleagues were the first group at Varian to be offered an "Opportunities for Innovation" grant - an award that provides funding for ideas that have great potential but that, in their early years, are too risky to be funded in the normal tutorial of business.

Not content to spend his workday hours in the world of vacuum science, Mars has spent untold weekends and evenings preparing to teach up-and-coming generations of students. "Teaching is a meaningful activity," he says. "It's important to share knowledge without reservation." Part of that sharing of knowledge is demonstrated by the more than 80 technical papers that Mars Hablanian has published. He is also the author of a book, High Vacuum Technology, and of numerous chapters and monographs; he also holds eight patents.

Hablanian's life is a far cry from that of a refugee who left Eastern Europe during the upheavals in the 1940s and, by a circuitous route, landed in Boston. The young immigrant spoke no English, yet found work in a photographer's laboratory. As he gained facility with the language, he moved to MIT to work as a technical assistant. His intellectual spark captured the attention of a professor, who encouraged Hablanian to continue his education ....and the rest is history.

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1993 Nathaniel Sugerman Memorial Award

Hugh R. Smith, Jr. (1921–2000)

For his accomplishments in the development of large-scale, commercial vacuum coating systems.

In 1992 the Nathaniel H. Sugerman Memorial Award was established to commemorate the enduring efforts of Nat Sugerman in nurturing and supporting the Society of Vacuum Coaters since 1957. In recognition of distinguished service to the vacuum coating community, the Society of Vacuum Coaters Awards Committee selected Hugh R. Smith, Jr. as the first recipient of the award. The scope and intellectual brilliance of Rear Admiral Hugh Smith is widely recognized within the vacuum coating industry, and the announcement of the award winner was greeted with standing applause at the Plenary Session of the SVC conference.

Hugh’s early years of work with the cyclotron at the Lawrence Berkeley Radiation Laboratory led to many important innovative developments in industrial processing during his years as Founder and President of Temescal, 1952 to 1972. During these years Dr. Smith found time to serve on the Board of Directors of Bell National Corporation and Quality Transformer. Amongst his many achievements, he developed a reliable vacuum gate valve design and an electron beam gun design for melting and evaporation. These creative accomplishments led to his development of the largest electron beam melting furnace in the world, the first air-to-air web coater using electron beam evaporation, and a commercial process for electron beam coating of gas turbine parts. It can be said that he was the "father" of the planar magnetron sputtering source. At the present time, Hugh is the President of Industrial Vacuum Engineering and serves on the Board of Directors of Industrial Vacuum.

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