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Headwall Receives 2019 Team Engineering Excellence Award from OSA

Teamwork and innovation rapidly created a state-of-the-art solar-induced fluorescence spectrometer for airborne monitoring of plant health

David Blair of Headwall accepts the Paul F. Forman Award for Team Engineering Excellence from OSA President Ursula Gibson

Caption: David Blair, Headwall’s director of strategic programs, accepted the 2019 Paul F. Forman Award for Team Engineering Excellence on behalf of the Special Projects Team and scientific partners from OSA President Ursula Gibson. Photo credit: OSA

Bolton, Massachusetts – September 18, 2019 –Headwall Photonics proudly announced that the Optical Society (OSA) has awarded the 2019 Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award to the company for successful development of the state-of-the-art Chlorophyll Fluorescence Sensor for airborne imaging solar-induced fluorescence (SIF).

As described in the award, the Headwall Special Projects Team is recognized for “the successful development of a compact, rugged, and lightweight imaging spectrometer, optimized for cost-effective airborne retrieval of chlorophyll fluorescence emission signatures monitoring plant health in near-real-time at simultaneously high spectral and spatial resolutions.”

OSA President Ursula Gibson said during the award ceremony in Washington, DC, “OSA is proud to honor the teamwork and innovation that created this new technology to improve the way we monitor the health of our planet’s ecosystems and global agriculture.”


The ability to take direct measurements of SIF can be used as an indicator of plant stress and crop health. It can also be used to provide more accurate estimates of species composition, seasonal variations, and physiological status.

Headwall engineers along with science partners from NASA and Brown University delivered the spectrometer just 13 months after initial project discussions and test results confirmed near-theoretical instrument performance.

Headwall also announced that the monetary portion of the award will be donated to a local high school Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) program and to a deserving student at Brown University.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award, which was established by OSA in 1989 and in 2007 was named in remembrance of Paul F. Forman, who helped raise visibility for the field of optical engineering. The team award recognizes technical achievements such as product engineering, process, software and patent development, as well as contributions to society such as engineering education, publication and management, and public appreciation of optical engineering.

About Headwall

Headwall Photonics is a leading designer and manufacturer of spectral instrumentation for remote sensing, advanced machine vision, and government/defense markets. With a worldwide base of end-user and OEM customers, Headwall enjoys a market leadership position through the design and manufacture of spectral solutions that are customized for application-specific performance. The Company is based in Massachusetts where it has two locations (Bolton and Fitchburg). European operations (Headwall BVBA) are located near Brussels, Belgium.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit

For more information, please contact:

Ross Nakatsuji, Headwall Marketing Communications

580 Main Street

Bolton, Massachusetts 01740



Original Headwall Press Release

Original OSA Press Release

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