The National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, has presented its 2000 Samuel Wesley Stratton Award to Robert D. McMichael, of Gaithersburg, Md.
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.
McMichael, a physicist in NIST's Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, is being recognized for several breakthroughs in the design of thin-film magnetic materials and devices, which can improve thermal stability and reduce power consumption. Many of his innovations are based on the use of specially shaped patterns in magnetic thin films to control magnetism as a foundation for developing better sensors and memory devices. Computer hard drives that use magnetic thin-film sensors play a dominant role in the way computers store and retrieve information.