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Seeking the Tricorder: Evolution of the NASA Anomaly Gas Analyzer

Portrait of Jeff Pilgrim, guest speaker and UGA Chemistry 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner
Dr. Jeffrey S. Pilgrim
Vista Photonics, Inc.
2023 UGA Chemistry Distinguished Alumnus Winner
iSTEM Building 1, Room 1023
Physical Seminar

Dr. Jeffrey S. Pilgrim, winner of the 2023 UGA Chemistry Distinguished Alumnus Award, is President and founder of Vista Photonics, an optical instrumentation company located in Las Cruces, NM. He formed the corporation in June 2003 to develop and commercialize optical gas sensing technologies and instrumentation. Before starting Vista Photonics, Dr. Pilgrim worked as a Senior Research Scientist in a similar research and development environment where he developed diode laser-based trace sensing techniques including wavelength modulated photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS), frequency modulated resonance locked PAS, intracavity PAS, and phase modulated external cavity diode lasers (ECDL). He has invented several ECDLs for trace gas detection and telecommunications. While working in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Pilgrim developed ultra-high sensitivity trace gas sensors based on intracavity laser spectroscopy using diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) laser systems. He has designed and built DPSS systems at near and mid-infrared wavelengths. From 1995-1997 he was a postdoctoral research associate at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California where he worked in gas phase chemical kinetics. His work utilized direct absorption, frequency modulation, and multiple pass absorption techniques.

Jeff received his B.S. degree and his Ph.D. (1995) at UGA. In his Ph.D. research with Prof. Michael Duncan, Jeff worked with time-of-flight mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy in supersonic molecular beams. He has authored 32 publications and holds 13 U.S. and 16 international patents.

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