Quick Shot

Terrance Kessler Elected Optica Fellow

January 08, 2024
Terry Kessler

Terrance Kessler, Senior Research Engineer and Diversity Manager, was elected a Fellow by the Board of Directors of Optica. He was recognized “for pioneering innovations in the technology and applications of large-aperture optics used for fusion and chirped-pulse amplification lasers.” This award recognizes distinguished scientific achievement in the optics and photonics community.

Terry’s pioneering work on large-aperture optics started with his Master’s thesis in the early 1980s, for which he measured intensity and phase nonuniformities in UV laser beams. He designed and deployed the first phase plates on 24-beam OMEGA laser and soon afterward tested a phase plate on a beamline of the Nova laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In the early 1990s he originated continuous phase plates, now used on both the 60-beam OMEGA laser and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) with great success. Terry contributed to the LLE invention of smoothing by spectral dispersion (SSD), also implemented on both OMEGA-60 and the NIF. Terry proposed a new concept known as polarization smoothing, implemented on OMEGA, using distributed polarization rotators (DPRs). The combination of phase plates, SSD, and DPRs is recognized to be the best available method to achieve uniform irradiance with solid-state fusion lasers.

Terry has also made significant contributions to diffraction gratings, starting with a holographic recording system used in the early 1990s to make gratings for SSD. Terry later proposed and demonstrated the OMEGA EP grating tiling system and diffractive color corrector. More recently, he was part of the LLE team that invented the flying focus.

Terry was Chief Scientist for the upgrade of OMEGA-24 to OMEGA-60 during the design and prototyping stages. A few years ago, he started the BEST (Broad Exposure to Science and Technology) Program, which encourages high school students in the Rochester City School District to consider careers in science and technology.