Distinguished Alumni Award (2009)
For leadership in and contributions to the research and development of high power gas and solid-state lasers for the military applications of directed energy
Laverne (Vern) Schlie
LaVerne (Vern) Schlie, a Member of the Scientific and Professional Cadre of Senior Executives of the Air Force, worked 38 years at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. He was the senior scientist (ST) for Laser Technology, serving as the principal scientific authority and independent researcher in the field of laser technology within AFRL. He is widely recognized in the laser community, has advised/directed many laser programs within AFRL, and has led many important governmental committees on laser technology, applications, and effects. His pioneering efforts on advancing atomic iodine laser technology greatly improved HEL performance with excellent beam quality (BQ).
Vern is known for his work in high-energy laser (HEL) technology developments/applications important to the Air Force. His diversified research group’s laser efforts involved electric, chemical, photolytic, solid state, and ultrashort (fs/ps) lasers, plus the associated areas of plasma physics, microwaves, high-voltage engineering, optics, chemical physics, fluid dynamics, cryogenics, and laser-material interactions. He has had 20 PhD / MS students while acting as an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. His main programmatic efforts have been directed toward integrating both HEL and high power microwaves (HPM) into fighter aircraft and other air vehicle platforms suitable for tactical applications.
Since retiring from the Air Force in January 2009, he has been serving as a consultant on HEL technology and associated photonic phenomenology to various U.S. government agencies and universities. Vern is a Fellow of OSA, DEPS, and AFRL.