Since 1961 Gamma Scientific has produced LED, display and light measurement test solutions for production and R&D environments. With over 50 years of innovation in optics, photonics and optoelectronics metrology, Gamma Scientific instruments are trusted by leading global organizations that require high-speed, precision measurements and custom configurations for the most challenging environments. Based in San Diego, California, Gamma Scientific manufactures laboratory grade spectroradiometers, spectrometers, integrating spheres, colorimeters and light sources. Gamma Scientific also operates an ISO 17025 compliant, NVLAP accredited laboratory that performs ENERGY STAR® lighting certification and LM-79 testing.
If you are interested in solving complex technical problems and have a passion for Physics, Engineering or Optics we would like to hear from you.
Please email your resume and cover letter to gammacareers (at) gamma-sci.com for consideration.
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Gamma Scientific Founding
Since 1961, Gamma Scientific has offered the world’s most comprehensive selection of instrumentation for optical radiation measurement. Gamma Scientific was founded in San Diego by Harold Field and Royal Akin. Harold Field had been an executive at Stromberg Carlson and Royal Akin a researcher at the Visibility Laboratory of the University of California San Diego. It was their vision to furnish customers with instruments dedicated to accuracy, versatility and ease of operation. Gamma Scientific continues to be a technology pioneer, setting pace with such innovations as computer-controlled light measurement systems, radiometers without controls and tri-color photomultiplier/detector assemblies. From the beginning, modularity has been the cornerstone of the Gamma Scientific product line. This way, instruments can be purchased for one specific application and then expanded as future needs require. This modularity allows the user to select the optimum geometric configuration to suit a specific task without compromising accuracy.
Early Growth in Optical Radiation Measurements
Throughout the 1960s Gamma grew by adding products to fill each need in laboratory equipment for optical radiation measurements (ORM). These included lamp standards for flux, illuminance, irradiance, spectral irradiance and luminance, as well as low light level sources for the characterization of sensitivity and resolution of early night vision devices. The invention of small optical fibers built into microscope eyepieces which allowed optical energy sampling of small areas in the magnified image plane provided the basis for instrument families to measure very small spots of light emissions and luminance profiles of an electron beam on Cathode Ray Tube displays. The electronics and use of very sensitive photomultiplier detectors allowed Gamma Scientific to build a unique niche in the developing semiconductor manufacturing market.
Highway Safety Retroreflection, Head Up Displays (HUD) and Faster Spectroradiometric Measurements
During the 1970′s, Gamma Scientific continued to improve the quality and performance of the detector amplifier electronics with improvements in stability, linearity and sensitivity. The standard light sources improved with the use of the new spectral irradiance standards for NBS, lowering the uncertainty and providing the basis for accurate spectroradiometric measurements traceable to international standard units. Gamma also started producing instrumentation to characterize the retroreflection properties of highway safety materials used to enhance the safety of nighttime driving. A unique solution was developed based on precision optical telescope assemblies. Gamma Scientific produced sensitive photomultiplier detectors to measure the luminance uniformity and angular position accuracy of displayed symbols produced by aircraft cockpit Head Up Display (HUD) and direct view displays. This lead to a significant increase in sales volume when the technology was accepted for use in the automated avionic test bench for support of the F-16 series of fighter aircraft produced by General Dynamics. Hundreds of these test systems supported the worldwide deployment of this successful series of aircraft. This decade also encompassed the first use of small micro computers to control electronic, electromechanical and record digitized electrical signals in the Gamma Scientific product line, allowing much faster spectroradiometric measurements.
Significant Growth and EG&G Acquisition
The transition from the late 1970s to the next decade had Gamma Scientific in a significant growth phase with the development of one of the first microcomputer based spectroradiometer system with the ability to optimize the spectral measurement engine with a selection of different optical heads that applied to many different market segments and a wide range of applications, mostly in the video display performance characterization market. The Gamma Scientific computer controlled spectroradiometer performance proved superior in the market over larger competitors’ offerings such as those from EG&G Electro-Optics in Salem, Massachusetts. By 1982 Gamma’s strong market presence prompted EG&G to acquire Gamma Scientific and move forward with the original management team for four years.
During this time Gamma continued to gain a larger share of the expanding market demand for computer controlled spectroradiometer systems, as well as developing more display avionic test systems for other aircraft programs including the F-18, B-1B, Toranado and C-17. The decision to concentrate on the spectroradiometer product line lead to the spin-off of the Highway Safety retroreflection product line to Justin Rennilson, the director of R&D who founded Advance Retro Technology. The complete line of photometers, radiometers and optical pulse measurement instruments manufactured in Salem Massachusetts was transferred to the San Diego location including the optical calibration laboratory facilities. A significant development in 1985 of the first Night Vision Goggle cockpit display compatibility testing spectroradiometers able to measure down to threshold sensitivities to 10s of femtowatts (0.00000000000001 watts) of near infrared optical radiance supported continued growth. By the end of the decade Gamma had supplied almost 100 computer controlled Night Vision compatability testing spectroradiometers to the US and NATO aerospace manufactures.
Array Detector Based Spectroradiometer Development
The first photodiode array detector based spectroradiometers were introduced to the Gamma product line by the end of the decade built on the Optical Multichannel Analyzer (OMA) technology and electronics developed at EG&G Princeton Applied Research, a partner business element in the EG&G Instruments Group, and the detectors produced by EG&G Reticon in Silicon Valley. Gamma Scientific registered the trademark for Radiometric Optical Multichannel Analyzer or RadOMA for the array detector spectroradiometers.
The 1990s was a decade of transition for Gamma that included the expansion of the array detector spectroradiometer systems in production line monitoring applications for Tin Oxide thickness, antireflection and other thin film coating thickness measurements. The production line measurement of lighting components manufactured by Sylvania (now Osram Sylvania) and Philips Lighting was possible after a major optical performance improvement that resulted in better color measurement accuracy of the RadOMA spectroradiometers. New photometer and Radiometer microcontroller controlled electronics for general laboratory light measurement market needs. The F-117 aircraft program procured similar test systems that are used in the F-16 and C-17 programs for maintenance of the HUD and Multi Function Displays used in the cockpit.
Company Transition and Acquisitions
In March 1994 EG&G Gamma Scientific was sold to Belfort Instruments Company located in Baltimore, Maryland, and within 6 months Gamma Scientific acquired Advanced Retro Technology Inc (ARTI) to bring the Highway Safety material market instruments back into the Gamma Scientific product line. Additional investment in the Highway Safety products funded the development of new portable pavement marking retroreflectometers and improvement of the LaserLux mobile pavement marking retroreflectometer.
In 1997 a major acquisition of the former UDT Instruments group from Graesby Optronics added photonic instrument manufacturing to the Belfort Instruments operations in Baltimore and the test and calibration functions of this line of photometers, radiometers, colorimeters, position sensing and autocollimator instruments to the operations in San Diego until mid 1998. Late in 1998 a corporate re-organization moved the high volume manufacturing of the Highway Safety product and Test and Calibration functions of the UDT Instruments back to the Belfort manufacturing location in Baltimore, leaving a small core staff of 10 in the San Diego location lead by the long time employee and physicist Richard Austin as President.
Gamma Scientific was reorganized and new market opportunities were developed in collaboration with NIST for a new generation of temperature controlled detector based standards used by NIST and other national standards organizations to lower the overall uncertainty as documented in NIST Technical Note 1621 and also in the Highway Safety segment focusing on the upgrade of laboratory instrument system installations and expansion of the LaserLux into a complete system offering. An additional success was achieved by applying core software skills technology to port the control of the Boeing C-17 Display Avionics Validation (DAV) HP1000 controlled maintenance station to the Microsoft Windows platform controlled Display Units Test Set (DUTS) set the foundation of Gamma Scientific moving into the new millennium.
Rapid Growth and Expansion in San Diego
Further expansion of the Gamma Scientific involvement in the USAF/Boeing C-17 DUTS deployment to squadron locations was highlighted by the award of a multi-unit, multi-year contract to supply the complete DUTS bench assembly as well as the electro-optical computer automated display test set originally designed and patented by EG&G Gamma Scientific. This multi-million dollar contract allowed for additional investment in the Highway Safety segment instrumentation and the upgrade of the array based RadOMA spectroradiometers to the newer temperature stabilized Charge Coupled Device using back side thinned technology that improves quantum efficiency allowing short integration times for high speed production testing applications. These applications include low glare antireflection coatings for display and photovoltaic panels, all phases of the LED production process, verification of cockpit display use with night vision goggles and verification of night time color of highway sign materials.
Based on the rapid growth and success of the operations in San Diego, another corporate reorganization resulted in the consolidation of all the electro-optical products and the corporate headquarters to San Diego in October 2005. This allowed Belfort Instruments to focus on new development of its core weather instrumentation and Gamma Scientific to concentrate on electro-optical business opportunities.
Gamma Scientific uses its extensive light measurement expertise to manufacture custom light measurement equipment for unique customer applications such as production control, government testing and avionics. In addition, Gamma Scientific offers optical radiation testing services, NVLAP accredited to ISO 17025, as well as calibration and measurement services to match NIST supported calibration standards—further strengthening Gamma’s preeminent position in producing and maintaining the most accurate light measurement equipment available.