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Walter J. Lafferty

Research interests:

High resolution spectra using infrared and microwave techniques with the purpose of contributing to the HITRAN spectral atlas of atmospheric molecular species which is useful in the study of planetary atmospheres. Spectra of the water vapor continuum. Spectra of collision induced absorption in N2, O2 and CO2.


  • Leverhulm visiting fellow at University of Reading, England, 1971
  • Iberdrola Visiting Professor at SCIC, Madrid, 1997
  • Silver Medal, National Bureau of Standards, 1968
  • Special Issue of Journal of Molecular Structure for W.J. Lafferty, 2005
A portion of the infrared spectrum of the nu(9) band of propane taken at a resolution of 0.0017 wavenumbers.


Scientist Emeritus
Sensor Science Division
Optical Radiation Group

Employment History:

1962-present, NIST, Gaithersburg, MD 

1961-1962, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


Ph.D.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

B.S.  University of Delaware, Newark, DE


Phone: 301-975-2375
Email: walter.lafferty@nist.gov