John Burnett has been a physicist at NIST since 1994. His principal area of research is experimental studies on the optical properties of solids and liquids, for wavelengths from vacuum ultraviolet through mid-infrared. Particular focuses have been on the index and birefringence properties of optical materials important for the semiconductor lithography industry and the infrared optics communities. He is presently leading a program of remeasuring and publishing the index of refraction of technologically important optical materials at substantially higher accuracies than available in the literature, especially in the infrared. This is made possible by the development of a unique refractometer system that enables diffraction-limited measurements for wavelengths from 0.12 µm to 15 µm. This program is directed at assisting in the development of more advanced optical imaging systems.
He is a member of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, SPIE, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
His awards include: U.S. Department of Commerce 2000 Silver Medal Award for Scientific Achievement, 2002 Arthur S. Flemming Scientific Award, U.S. Department of Commerce 2002 Silver Medal Award for Scientific Achievement, NIST 2006 William P. Slichter Award. He has been awarded 1 patent.