Expertise and Experience

The following sections contain brief descriptions of the areas of expertise of PfSA and past projects with which we have been involved. Current concepts that are being developed for defense, energy, and biomedical applications are listed in the second section. The final section contains resumes of the two founders, Dr. Gary J. Linford and Dr. Shirley J. Pfeifer, including summaries of projects and line/project management experience. Further information in any of these areas is available upon request.

Technical Areas of Expertise

Laser Design

Design of solid-state, gas, free electron, chemical, molecular, hollow cathode, tunable semiconductor diode, and excimer lasers. Laser designs for high-power pulsed and low-power continuous-wave laser applications from the ultraviolet to the middle infrared spectral bands. Optical design and non-linear optical techniques developed for wavelength agility, improved beam quality, and high brightness.

Laser Applications

Pfeifer Science Associates has developed a wide variety of laser applications depending upon customer needs. Use of lasers for detecting strain in transparent media, holography, phase conjugation, measuring size changes as small as a wavelength of light, measuring range, IFF systems, harmonic conversion, four-wave mixing, sensing time-varying magnetic fields in free space, measuring atmospheric pollution concentrations, laser-induced chemical reactions, video data transmission, secure communications, detecting snipers, intruder alert, etc., are examples of innovative laser applications investigated at PfSA.

Laser Fusion

Staff members at PfSA have had nearly thirty years experience with the development of inertial confinement fusion using pulsed high power lasers or heavy ion beams to implode various classes of cryogenic deuterium/tritium fusion fuel capsules (targets). This work began in late 1973 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory using harmonically converted Nd-glass lasers configured with multiple beams. By delivering large amounts of short wavelength energy within a few nanoseconds, preheating of the cryogenic fusion targets via suprathermal electrons was avoided, thereby greatly enhancing target implosion and subsequent neutron yield. In 1992 PfSA staff participated in the design and development of the Prometheus-L and Prometheus-H fusion test reactor prototypes. The Prometheus-L fusion test reactor optimized the design of a Krypton Fluoride laser driver using a stimulated Brillouin pulse compressor and Raman beam combination to improve beam quality and shorten the excimer laser pulse duration. The Prometheus-H fusion test reactor design used a Pb heavy ion driver and superconducting magnetic storage rings to achieve enhanced performance levels.

Proof-of-Principle Experiments, Breadboards, and Brassboards

The small proof-of-principle laboratories at Pfeifer Science Associates are designed to permit the rapid testing of innovative concepts in the laboratory. By maintaining a large stock of mechanical breadboard components on-hand together with a sizeable inventory of non-linear crystals, polarizers, lenses and mirrors, optical breadboards and even brassboards can rapidly be assembled to meet demanding customer deadlines.

Optical Design

Optical designers and physicsts on staff have many years of experience with Code V and other optical design software for the design, component specification, tolerance analysis, and aberration analysis of optical systems and subsystems. ASAP and Fourier Transform-based propagation software are used for image analysis and performance prediction. Work in these areas includes design of telescopes, radiometers, lasers, phased arrays, sensors, biomedical illumination and detection subsystems, and end-to-end optical systems.

Non-linear Optics

Many years of experimental research experience and code development has been performed, leading to expertise in the design of Raman conversion and beam-combination systems, SBS (stimulated Brillouin scattering) phase-conjugation and pulse compression systems, phased arrays for the co-phasing of laser beams, and techniques for threshold reduction of non-linear processes. Multiwavelength Raman oscillator, amplifier, and beam combination codes, SBS phase-conjugation codes, and phase-array codes have been developed for the design of these non-linear optical systems.

Numerical Modeling

Computer simulations of physical processes, components, and instrumentation are developed in C++, Pascal, or Fortran. Detailed simulations of conceptual and experimental designs are developed for performance prediction and optimization. Results from detailed simulations and empirical data may be input into systems software, such as TK Solver, to perform top-level performance trade-off studies.

Stray Light Analysis

PfSA has extensive experience in the use of APART and GUERAP computer models of optical systems for the analysis of stray light suppression and design of baffling systems to improve S/N at the detector. Identification of stray light sources in the optical design and recommendations for "move it" or "block it" in the design of baffling systems is a crucial part of the overall design process of high performance systems.

Secure Communications

Over the years, PfSA has developed a variety of secure laser communication systems designed to make crucial data streams inaccessible to would-be intruders or hackers. A patent has been issued for a secure "long laser" communication system. This type of system has been expanded to increase security, bandwidth, and flexibility. Other systems developed at PfSA involve secure laser-based video systems, steganographic techniques, novel methods for data exfiltration, proprietary laser designs, etc.


A variety of active and passive surveillance techniques have been employed by PfSA to provide novel surveillance methods for targets in the field. Exploitation of retroreflective signatures possessed by specific optical devices, including IR-guided missiles, sniperscopes, cameras, motion sensors, etc., permit location and identification. Data interception or exfiltration methods have been developed to meet specific customer requirements. Temporal, spectral, and polarization characteristics of recovered surveillance beams provide important information. Devices employed by PfSA include active laser-based surveillance systems as well as passive Fourier transform spectrometers, imaging spectrometers, large aperture surveillance telescopes, etc.

Remote Sensing

Novel remote sensing techniques have been employed by PfSA to identify and montor a variety of potential targets, inluding chemical plumes, air pollution, location of specific flora, buried land mines, chemical contamination, local magnetic fields, unusual mechanical vibrations, etc. Devices employed by PfSA include active laser remote sensing systems as well as passive Fourier transform spectrometers, imaging spectrometers, large aperture CCD camera systems, etc.

Patent Searches

Patent Searches in electronics, imaging, pattern recognition, optics, nonlinear optics, lasers, sensors, spectroscopy/microscopy, and biomedical detectors and instrumentation.

Software Development

Scientific software development for instrument control in breadboard/brassboard experiments, test equipment, auto-alignment of imaging systems, and data acquisition. Applications software for defense and commercial applications requiring Visual C++, C++/C, Pascal, Fortran, Html, Perl, or vi.

Recent Conceptual Design and Research Areas

LAN weapon grade nuclear material detection system
Single and multilevel secure long laser communication system*
Remote laser and mine detection and visualization system
Remote laser air pollution sensing
Water contamination measruements
Zeeman-tuned laser spectroscopy
Voigt effect atmospheric magnetic field sensor without instrumentalities
Heterodyne Doppler-shifted laser radar
Remote powering with CO2 laser
On-the-fly image deconvolution
Laser-triggered lightening discharges**
Specific molecule detection
Earth orbit-crossing asteroid detection
Imaging spectrometers
MEDUSA laser system**
Optical method for microwave interception/demodulation
Regenerative laser seismometer
Coherent ground-based Earth-orbit surveillance satellite detection and interrogation
Eye/camera protection system against high-power laser irradiation**
Phase-conjugated optical systems**
Cislunar laser for precise geographic measurements
Sparse array detection system
High-power laser SBS pulse compressor**
Raman laser beam accumulator*
Phase-conjugated phased array*
Active optical detection systems for snipers or IR-guided missile seeker heads
Novel data exfiltration systems
Z-axis modulation video reconstruction system
Data acquisition remote control robotic devices
Fiber optic evanescent wave detection system
Multiwavelength steganographic methods
TV surveillance camera and IR motion detector identification
Non-invasive detection of serum indices and analytes in primary sample tubes*
Homogeneous fluorescence detection of low-concentration analytes for near-patient testing**

* indicates US patent granted
** indicates US patent application in process

Background and Project Experience

Dr. Gary J. Linford


B.S. Physics - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ph.D. Physics - University of Utah


Mission Research Corporation (1994-1998)
Consultant and Senior Scientist

  1. In his role as a Senior Scientist for Pfeifer Science Associates (PfSA), Dr. Linford consulted for Mission Research Corporation in developing proprietary techniques for identifying and characterizing covert optical surveillance devices, including IR motion sensors, hidden cameras, camoflauged vidicons, etc.
  2. Dr. Linford developed, designed, and constructed secure laser-based video transmission systems in which color television signals were transmitted covertly over a secure laser diode optical beam.
  3. Secure communication systems were developed, designed, and constructed to operate over ranges of hundreds of meters using an infrared long laser configuration featuring diode laser amplifiers.
  4. Important applications for temperature-tunable laser diode systems were exploited by tuning the lasers onto atomic absorption lines of selected atoms, such as sodium, cesium, oxygen, etc.
  5. Dr. Linford developed, designed, and delivered highly portable optical devices for detecting the presence of snipers or intruders using night vision telescopes. These detection devices were designed to function under a variety of adverse observational circumstances.
TRW (1983-1995)
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Max Planck Institutes (1975-1983)
Hughes Aircraft Company and Academia

Computer Languages


Dr. Shirley J. Pfeifer


B.S. Physics - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S. Electrical Engineering - Stanford University
Ph.D. Optical Sciences - University of Arizona


Beckman Coulter (1993-1998)
Manager of Advanced Instrumentation, Advanced Technology Center

  1. near-IR turbidimetric detection of latex-based agglutination assays
  2. confocal microscopy fluorescence detection of microtiter plate-based heterogeneous immunoassays
  3. high-sensitivity, time-resolved fluorescence detection of low-concentration analytes in a homogeneous immunoassay
  4. diode array-based photometer detection of analytes and interferants with multivariate analysis techniques
  5. non-invasive fiber-optic detection of serum indices in the primary collection tube
  6. solid phase-based fluorescence detection system for DNA arrays
  7. optical tweezers for trapping and manipulation of biologicals
  8. time-resolved, single photon-counting detection system for automated, high-throughput multicapillary electrophoresis instruments in rapid DNA sequencing and sizing applications
TRW (1982-1993)
Lockheed Aircraft Company and Academia

Computer Languages