John D. Gillaspy
1998 Young Investigator Award
John D. Gillaspy, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, received his Ph.D. in 1988 from Harvard University, where he also received his A.M. degree. His undergraduate work was at Stanford University. At NIST, he is leader of the Electron Beam Ion Trap (EBIT) project in the Atomic Physics Division. One of the primary applications of the EBIT is the production of fundamental data in support of such areas as X-ray astrophysics, solar physics and fusion devices for electrical power generation. Already with some 40 publications to his credit, Gillaspy has performed pioneering research in several fields. Under his joint leadership, for example, a collaborative group of NIST and Harvard researchers developed a new method of etching nanoscale patterns on surfaces, which has breakthrough potential in the field of microelectronic circuits. The group's work was first described in Science (September 1, 1995) in an article titled "Microlithography by Using Neutral Metastable Atoms and Self-Assembled Monolayers." There are now numerous groups around the world pursuing this line of research. It may prove to be of wide-reaching significance because it promises the ability to write nanoscale features with high speed and a resolution not limited by the wavelength of light. Gillaspy is also much in demand as a lecturer because of his ability to make the complexities of his research understandable. Among other honors during his career, he received the 1997 Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Scientific Research from the NIST Chapter of Sigma Xi.