The American Physical Society (APS) has named National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) physicist Kent Irwin as the recipient of the society's 2007 Joseph F. Keithley Award For Advances in Measurement Science. The award recognizes "physicists who have been instrumental in the development of measurement techniques or equipment that have an impact on the physics community by providing better measurements."
Irwin, project leader for NIST's Quantum Sensors Project, was recognized "for the development of SQUID multiplexers used in large-format arrays of superconducting transition-edge sensors that have impacted such fields as particle physics, astronomy, materials analysis, cosmology, and nuclear physics." Irwin developed the use of the SQUID (for "superconducting quantum interference device") in a mode where it functions as a supersensitive detector for electromagnetic signals. More recently his group has developed methods to assemble large arrays of the devices to detect extraordinarily faint electromagnetic signals, with applications ranging from astronomy, and materials research to the detection of nuclear materials for homeland defense applications. The award will be presented at the 2007 meeting of the APS in Denver, Colo.