October 18, 2012 - Peter Clark, William Plummer, Jeff Roblee

Talks Inspired by Douglas Goodman 

     Polychrome Laser Diode Platform 

     Optical Engineering at Polaroid With Douglas Goodman

PowerPoint Slides

Backgound Presentation

Douglas Goodman was an OSA fellow, an inspiring and dynamic speaker, and a local section member from 1993 to 2002.  He passed away May 14, 2012.  Several talks on topics in which he was interested will be presented by speakers who knew and worked with him.

Polychrome Laser Diode Platform (Bill Plummer and Jeff Roblee) - Polaroid once designed and built a high-resolution printer for digital halftone medical images on a proprietary transparent material.  It used four diode lasers in an optical system that evolved into an expensive assembly.  About 15 years ago we were asked to make a new print head with the same dimensions, same weight, same mechanical attachments, the same laser diodes, twice the total power, easy maintenance, and a more rugged structure, but for a much lower cost.  

We started by defining just what features we wanted to keep, what features we wanted to improve, and what features we wanted to keep flexible.  With this simple but unusual discipline in place we talked regularly with each other across a wide range of technical specialties, then identified and solved all the problems.  We succeeded in all of our goals by reversing many of the company’s earlier mechanical design concepts, manufacturing practices, and corporate cultural assumptions, in a way that was fun and may be useful for all development projects.
Several hundred copies of our resulting electro-opto-mechanical structure were manufactured.  They had diverse commercial applications beyond printing pictures.
Optical Engineering at Polaroid With Douglas Goodman (Peter Clark) - I was a colleague and friend of Doug's during his years at Polaroid, so I'll discuss a couple of interesting projects that benefited from his insights:
1- A low cost compact fingerprint imaging system that utilized total internal reflection and afocal optics to create high contrast digital images.
2- A simple way to measure MTF of digital cameras, using easily produced targets and easily written software. Sure, some compromises are made, compared with ISO-specified methods, but the result is a method that lends itself to high speed production applications.


William T. Plummer     WTP Optics, Inc.

Bill Plummer received his AB and PhD degrees in Physics from the Johns Hopkins University, where he worked with Prof. John Strong in infrared planetary astronomy.  He joined Polaroid in 1969, in time to work closely with Edwin Land and Jim Baker on the SX-70 camera and a lot of other commercial products, and for more than twenty years was Director of Optical Engineering.  He has published more than 40 papers and has given about 50 invited talks around the world.  He has 100 US patents for optical, mechanical, electronic, and chemical inventions.  He has received the David Richardson Medal, the Joseph Fraunhofer Award, and the Robert M. Burley Prize from the Optical Society of America.  He is a Fellow of the OSA and of the SPIE and is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering.  For some years he has also been a Senior Lecturer with the Mechanical Engineering Dept at MIT.  Bill has been an optical engineering consultant since 2001, and is founder and president of WTP Optics, Inc.



Jeffrey W. Roblee          Ametek Precitech

Jeffrey W. Roblee joined Ametek Precitech in February, 2002, and he is a Divisional Vice-President of Technology.  Dr. Roblee began his engineering career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1977.  There he developed ultra-precision machine tools and measuring instruments for use in optics fabrication.  His research work led to a 14 month assignment at Philips Research Laboratory in The Netherlands in 1986 and then to a research position at Carl Zeiss in Oberkochen, Germany in 1990.

In late 1993 Dr. Roblee joined the Optical Engineering Department at Polaroid Corporation.  At Polaroid, Dr. Roblee led a program to develop a laser print head for use in making medical images, and he was active in many optical fabrication projects.  By early 2001 he was a Technical Director leading four departments.

Dr. Roblee holds a number of patents and awards, and he has presented numerous papers on temperature control, machine dynamics, air bearing design, optics fabrication and opto-mechanics.  From 2007 to 2009, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of ASPE, and he served as its President in 2008.  Jeffrey W. Roblee has a M.S. and Ph.D., both in mechanical engineering, from the University of California at Berkeley.



Peter Clark                    LensVector

Peter Clark is VP, Optics at LensVector, Inc. After studying optics at the University of Rochester and Northeastern University, his career progressed from American Optical Corporation to Honeywell's Electro-Optics Center, Polaroid's Optical Engineering Department (20 years), Flextronics Corp, and LensVector. His technical interests include optical product and instrument design and development, optical testing, and technical computing. He is an OSA Fellow and a recipient of OSA's Engineering Excellence Award. He is proud to have been a counselor, secretary, and president of NES-OSA in the early '80s. He has served as chair of OSA's optical design technical group, and as a board member of OSA.







Pre-registration discount DINNER reservations must be made by 6 PM, October 15, the Monday before the meeting. Full-price reservation accepted thereafter. Walk-ins welcome at full-price. MEETING-ONLY registrations appreciated by October 17.

Please make reservations online. Reservations may also be left on the answering machine at 617.584.0266. We no longer have an email address for reservations due to SPAM. When making reservation requests, please provide the following information:

  • DINNER AND MEETING or meeting only
  • Name(s) and membership status
  • Daytime phone number where you can be reached (in case of change or cancellation)


Rebeccas Cafe (Located in back of the office complex)
275 Grove Street
Auburndale, MA 02466

(617) 969-3282

(Map to Rebecca's).

Networking—5:45 PM, Dinner—6:45, Meeting—7:30 PM.


Vegetarian option available on request

Dinner Prices:

   Register on/before
 DINNER Reservation Date 
 Late Reservations 
 NES/OSA Members and their guests   $25.00 each   $30.00 
 Non-members   $30.00 (See NOTE Below)   $35.00 
 Students   $5.00   $5.00 
 Post-Docs   $15.00   $15.00 








NOTE: The NES/OSA has not changed dinner prices in several years but has been facing higher costs. We will maintain the current dinner prices for those reserving dinner on the requested date but still try to accommodate late reservations.

General Information on NES/OSA Meetings

Cancellations and No-shows:

If the meeting must be canceled for any reason, we will try to call you at the phone number you leave with your reservation. Official notice of cancellation will be on our answering machine.

We have to pay for the dinners reserved as of the Tuesday before the meeting, so no-shows eat into our cash reserve. If you will not be able to attend, please let us know as early as possible. Otherwise, no-shows will be billed.

Membership Rates:

Regular members $15.00
Student members free




NOTE: The extra $5.00 of the non-member dinner fee can be used toward membership dues if the nonmember joins and pays dues for the current year at the meeting.