This focus issue on the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) spans the latest trends in imaging and detectors, atmospheric characterization, laser sources and propagation, optics and optical assemblies, optical characterization of materials, photonics, optical processing, and machine learning for applications that cover everything from stellar interferometry to studying damage to the plasma membranes of living cells.
© 2021 Optical Society of America
The United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) leads the discovery, development and integration of warfighting technologies for our nation’s Air and Space Forces. AFRL’s 11,000 member workforce executes over 5 billion of research each year with industry, academia, and government partners from across the US and allies from around the world. This focus issue continues a tradition established by the U.S. Navy and Army Research laboratories [1,2] by providing the readers of Applied Optics with a sampling of research topics from across our enterprise.
AFRL is organized into eight technical directorates, plus the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. This enterprise is spread across nine U.S. states and three countries. The Sensors, Directed Energy, Munitions, Space Vehicles, Materials and Manufacturing, Airman Systems, and Information Directorates each maintain research portfolios that fall within the scope of Applied Optics. We are very pleased to highlight this cross-section of AFRL’s work on behalf of our Air and Space Forces, to showcase contributions from our many collaborators, and to evidence AFRL’s cultivation of world-class research programs.
We would like to thank our authors, both for their technical efforts and for their embodiment of the Air Force core values, especially “Excellence in all we do”. We would also like to thank our leaders and support staff for cultivating an environment of innovation and directing it toward meaningful solutions to our nation’s hardest problems. Finally, we thank Gisele Bennett and the Applied Optics staff and editors for encouraging and guiding us through this process.
We hope that you enjoy reading this focus issue as much as we have in putting it together.
1. C. A. Hoffman, “US Naval Research Laboratory focus issue: introduction,” Appl. Opt. 54, NRL1 (2015).
2. J. N. Mait, “U.S. Army Research Laboratory focus issue: introduction,” Appl. Opt. 56, ARL1 (2017).