What are some of our ESSE graduates doing now? Dr. Susan McCall, an ESSE alumni has done work useful to LIGO, which has recently been in the news for the detection of gravitational waves.
Stellar Optics Research International Coporation’s (SORIC) Founder and President, Dr. Susan McCall is a specialist in optical black surfaces/materials and optical scatter data. She was contracted by a USA Corporation to provide a list of candidate, glossy black materials and coatings for long-term, vacuum compatible use in the LIGO chambers while meeting the challenging optical scatter requirements of having Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) scatter values of less than 0.001, at large backscatter angles, for 0.6328 micrometers. In addition to these challenging optical requirements, the materials had to be of reasonable cost, and easy to install, given that there were to be 100 to 200 panels as large as 12cm by 383 cm. Dr. McCall, in her 1995 report, “Unconventional Baffle Materials for the LIGO Experiment”, used SORIC’s internal databank of black surfaces used in aerospace, defense, and astronomy, and selected nineteen practical suggestions encompassing glossy black: flexible films, fabrics and foils; solid glasses and a paint, and provided samples, all for the USA Corporation and LIGO to consider for further study, who then performed experiments for verification and final selection.