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Scientist elected to academy
By Richard Veilleux
May 2, 1997
A UConn engineering professor whose research opened new instrumentation opportunities for monitoring the behavior of atoms and molecules has been elected to the National Academy of Science (NAS), a rare honor achieved by only 80 engineers in the nation.
Anthony DeMaria, who earned his bachelor's degree and doctorate at UConn and became a research professor in 1994, was informed Tuesday of his election. It was based primarily on passive laser mode-locking research he conducted during the 1960s.
DeMaria's work made it possible for scientists and engineers to create and measure extremely short bursts of light with a laser - one picosecond, about the amount of time it takes for light to travel the thickness of a sheet of paper. That has enabled scientists to more accurately measure the energy relaxation of atoms and molecules, which, in turn, helps add to the world's understanding of how atoms work.
Department of Energy scientists also are conducting experiments based on DeMaria's research to see if short, rapid bursts of laser light can generate intense heat for generating energy by fusion.
DeMaria was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976. He is president of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.
DeMaria said he was "surprised and extremely honored" by his selection.
"And I owe a lot of credit to UConn and the professors who trained me - Ralph Bartram, Charles Reynolds, Mahmoud Melehy, Clarence Schultz. The University and those people educated me in my profession. I wouldn't have been able to perform that research without them."
As assistant director of research for electronics and photonics technologies for the United Technologies Research Center from 1958-1994, DeMaria was intimately involved with a wide variety of research involving lasers, including refraction, defraction of light by acoustic waves, laser radar, and fiber optics. He had technical and administrative responsibilities for projects involving photonics device and systems research, electromagnetic systems analysis, quantum electronics, applied laser technology and much more.
When DeMaria retired from the research center in 1994, Brody brought him to UConn. DeMaria and several colleagues also formed a partnership and, with loans from Connecticut Innovations Inc., bought Hamilton Standard's CO2 laser group. That firm is now DeMaria Electro-Optics Systems Inc. of Bloomfield, which manufactures lasers for remote sensing and infrared counter measures.
DeMaria helped UConn develop its Photonics Research Center. Now he brings that vision and quest for excellence to a faculty that is already highly regarded.
"It's amazing," Brody said of DeMaria's selection. "It's a very high honor."