UAH HEL Optics Metrology Workshop aims to advance High-Energy Laser (HEL) Technologies

HEL Optics metrology worshop 2024

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will host the HEL Optics Metrology Workshop to improve metrology processes and technologies in high-energy laser (HEL) weapon systems. Registration is now open. The workshop will connect stakeholders from across the region on September 11-12 on the campus of UAH, a part of the University of Alabama System.

Registration will close on September 4. The cost is $170. Federal government and UAH employees and students may attend free of charge. Attendees must be U.S. citizens employed by the Department of Defense (DoD) or its contractors. Presentation proposals will be accepted through July 19.

The goal of the workshop is to initiate conversations and ideas to improve the capabilities, efficiency, consistency and cost of HEL optics metrology—from substrate generation to surface figuring to coating—while decreasing program risk. The workshop is spearheaded by Dr. James Hadaway, Principal Research Scientist with the UAH Center for Applied Optics.

“From threat detection to neutralizing targets, the potential of advanced technologies like high-energy laser weapons is incredible,” says Hadaway. “We have numerous defense contractors developing this technology locally. Collaboration is essential to enhancing the capabilities and efficiency of HEL systems. The goal of this workshop is to bring those stakeholders together to share ideas and propel the technology forward.”

Once considered science fiction, high-energy lasers (HEL) and directed energy (DE) have become a key modernization weapon strategy of the U.S. military. Unlike other weapons, HEL can hit targets instantaneously while never running out of ammunition as long as a power source is present. It is crucial to advance HEL technology to counter emerging threats as nations worldwide rapidly integrate HEL weapons into their military strategies.

As a Carnegie R1 top-tier research university, UAH has a reputation for innovation and a strong relationship with the Department of Defense. Since 1985, the Center for Applied Optics (CAO) has played a key role in advancing research and education in applied optics and optical engineering, exploring unique applications of optics for military and industrial uses.

Home to over 60 federal agencies and over 300 aerospace and defense companies, Huntsville plays a key role in the U.S. defense strategy. UAH is strategically positioned in the heart of Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the United States. The university’s proximity to industry leaders encourages collaboration to advance aerospace and defense innovation.

To learn more about the HEL Optics Metrology Workshop and to register, visit



Kristina Hendrix

Julie Jansen