Charles K. Carniglia

In Memoriam: Charles K. Carniglia

December 22, 2006

Charles K. Carniglia

Charles CarnigliaCharles Keith (‘‘Chuck”) Carniglia, gifted teacher, scientist and technologist, passed away surrounded by his family after an extended illness in Santa Rosa, Calif. His achievements ranged from awards for excellence in teaching to theoretical studies of the Goos-Haenchen effect to key contributions in practical coatings for many U.S. projects such as the Department of Energy’s NOVA Laser.

Chuck earned an undergraduate degree in engineering mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley (1966) and his Ph.D. in optics from the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester (1971).

His forte was teaching, for which he had a remarkable talent and passion. He started his career as an assistant professor of physics at the University of Maine, Orono, where he directed the work of four masters’ students and one Ph.D. student. 

He later taught upper division physics at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., and led a one-day course for the American Vacuum Society. For almost 20 years, he was a faculty member for a one-week summer course on thin-film coating design as part of the Contemporary Optics summer program at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y. He also taught courses in optics and thin films to industry professionals.

''He will certainly be remembered as an excellent educator in our field,” said J.A. (George) Dobrowolski of the National Research Council in Canada. “In a narrow field such as ours, he has influenced and shaped a very significant fraction of the 'practitioners of the art' [of thin film coating technology] in North America.''

“Chuck's excitement for optics and optical coatings was extremely infectious,” said Jennifer Kruschwitz of JK Consulting in Rochester. “He had a gift for being able to relate to his students and colleagues, and for reducing complicated problems down to simple yet elegant solutions.”

In 1977, Chuck worked on thin film technology at Optical Coating Laboratory Inc. (OCLI, now JDS Uniphase) in Santa Rosa, Calif. An area of focus was coatings used in high energy laser systems.

Intrigued with computer-aided design and analysis of thin films, he founded in 1987 Thin Film Designer Software, a company that marketed a thin-film optimization and analysis program still in use today.

From 1985 to 1994, Chuck worked in the Developmental Optics Facility at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. Some of his work included developing key laser damage resistant coatings for the chemical oxygen iodine laser. He also made significant contributions in rugate filter design and developed techniques for analyzing inhomogeneous films using ellipsometry and spectrophotometry. His group’s implementations of novel arc suppression techniques advanced the state of the art and produced thin films with significantly improved properties.

In 1994, he returned to California to become manager of the Advanced Technology Group at Airco Coating Technology (later called BOC Coating Technology), where he implemented optical coating approaches for inline industrial glass coaters.  

His work took him full circle when he returned to OCLI in the position of chief scientist. Heavily involved in training, he also participated in advanced coating design activities and assisted with coating the 6-foot conformal window for the Airborne Laser.

“Chuck will be remembered not only for putting OCLI in the forefront of thin film design but for his eloquent style of teaching thin film optics and solid ray optics to the rest of us,” says Roger W. Phillips of JDSU-Flex Products Group. “I can think of no one else who made the teaching of the technology such a joy.''

He was a long-standing member and participant of the Optical Technical Advisory Committee (Optical TAC) of the Society of Vacuum Coaters and a regular participant in the SPIE Boulder Damage Symposia.

He published 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and made more than 80 presentations on thin films at conferences around the world. Chuck held five patents with one patent pending.

He was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 1988. He was program chair for the 5th OSA topical meeting on optical interference coatings (OIC) in 1992 and general chair for the 7th OIC meeting in 1998.

Chuck was active in numerous OSA committees and councils. He was chair of OSA’s technology division; a member of the executive committee of the technical council; liaison to the engineering council; chair of the thin films and optical materials technical group; and member of the executive committee of the technical council.

He was the topical editor in the area of polarization and thin films for the Journal of the Optical Society of America from 1990 to 1992. He was also a guest editor of a special issue of Optic News that focused on optical coatings, as well as guest editor for a special issue of Applied Optics on the same topic.

Chuck was both a gentleman and a gentle man; he will be remembered as much for his humor, friendly demeanor and willingness to help others as for his myriad contributions to optics and thin film technology.

--Ric Shimshock
MLD Technologies, LLC