T. M. Shay

T. M. Shay

Brief Biography

Thomas M. Shay initiated his career as an IBM Industrial Fellow and Kodak Industrial Fellow. As such, he conducted pioneering research in the field of fundamental excitation mechanisms for laser communication transmitters. He was also a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Bureau of Standards. At the Naval Ocean Systems Center, his work demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to simultaneously increase spectral purity and energy efficiency of a laser transmitter. As a Professor of Engineering at Utah State University he and his student frequency stabilized a diode laser and held the world’s record for diode laser frequency stabilization for 8 years.

Dr. Shay was chief scientist in the Submarine Laser Communications Program at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he directed the research of 23 engineers and physicists and where he developed the world’s shortest pulse duration excimer laser oscillator. At New Mexico State University he invented the Faraday Anomalous Dispersion Optical Filter (FADOF) and, using the FADOF, demonstrated the world's first and only solar blind optical communications system. This invention solved the 30 year problem of filtering very weak laser light from sunlight. At the University of New Mexico, Dr. Shay initiated the first experimental research program in quantum information at the university, a free-space optical communications program, and a high-power fiber laser and nonlinear optics program.

As the experimental lead for fiber lasers at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Solid State Lasers Branch, he initiated two research programs and invented a practical technique for combining the output power from multiple laser amplifiers into a nearly diffraction-limited high-power beam and a technique for solving the long-standing problem of laser scintillation in the atmosphere. At AFRL, he was the lead scientist directing the research of 50 scientists and engineers. Dr. Shay won several awards for his work at AFRL, including the prestigious AFRL Annual Award for Individual Scientific and Technical Achievement, 2010 and a Federal Laboratory Award for most Notable Technology, 2010.

He is the author more than 300 technical publications in physics, optics, chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, industrial engineering, and computer science journals and has 17 patents. Three of the patents, in the areas of nanotechnology and optical communications, have been licensed and 4 others are being evaluated by commercial companies.

Dr. Shay served as the NASA-appointed representative on the International Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems subpanel for optical communications. He also serves on a National Nuclear Security Agency review panel that evaluates research programs at Sandia National Laboratory. He is the chair of the Technical Review Board for the Electric Laser on a Large Aircraft Program which was at the time the largest laser research program in the Air Force.

For 25 years Dr. Shay was Chief Scientist for Solas Enterprises, where he has developed and produced hardware systems for a variety of industrial, government, and university clients. .

Selected Publications

Additional Biographies


Page published on the 8th of March, 2017

Updated on the 8th of March, 2017