1984 OSA President Donald R. Herriott attended Duke University, the Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester and the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. From 1949 to 1956, while attending the University of Rochester, he worked for Bausch & Lomb, where he focused on thin films and interferometry. In 1956 Herriott joined Bell Telephone Laboratories to work on lens measurements, optical storage of information, and to consult on a wide variety of optical programs. Six years later Herriott was one of a small group that invented the first continuously operating laser using helium-neon technology.
Herriott remained at Bell Labs until 1981, ultimately serving as the head of the Lithographic Systems group, which developed optical, electron beam and x-ray techniques for patterning integrated circuits. During this period he also worked on the development of phase measuring interferometry and new methods of assembling lenses. While at Bell Labs, Herriott generated 35 patents, including the helium-neon laser, the optics of integrated circuit mask making techniques, the EBES electron lithographic system, and wavefront measuring techniques. In 1981 Herriott became a senior science advisor at Perkin Elmer.
Herriott served on the OSA Board of Directors from 1968-1970. He was a Fellow and also served as a member of the Executive Committee, chair of the Laser Technical Group, associate editor of JOSA, and chair of the Editorial Board and Publications Committee.
Herriott received numerous awards and honors for his work including the Joseph Fraunhofer Award, the Industrial Research 100 Best Products Award, and the Research and Development Council of New Jersey’s Outstanding Patent of the Year Award. He also earned IEEE’s Cledo Brunetti Award for contributions to microlithography and the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award. He was also elected to the National Academy of Engineering.