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NIST Presents Stratton Award to Egelhoff for Pioneering Means of Increasing Computer Disk Storage

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has presented the Samuel Wesley Stratton Award to William F. Egelhoff Jr. The Stratton Award, established in 1962, recognizes an unusually significant research contribution to science or engineering that merits the acclaim of the scientific world and supports NIST’s objectives.

Egelhoff is recognized for world-leading developments in the science and engineering of "giant magnetoresistance" (known as GMR), a phenomenon at the heart of a new class of electronic devices that promise to dramatically increase the storage density of computer hard drives and improve the performance of video equipment.

Egelhoff’s work is helping industry fully exploit the potential benefits of GMR, which is beginning to be used to design devices that are extremely sensitive to magnetic fields within tiny regions. When such GMR devices are incorporated into the read heads of hard drives and video equipment, the heads can pick up magnetically stored data in smaller units than is possible with conventional technology. The GMR technology almost certainly will lead to a 10-fold increase—and could eventually lead to a 100-fold increase—in hard-disk capacity, as well as a wide range of electronics innovations, including pocket-size camcorders and super-sensitive magnetic detectors with industrial and military applications.

Egelhoff is a resident of ROCKVILLE, Md.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released December 9, 1998, Updated November 27, 2017