Allan Carswell

Optech Pty Ltd

Allan Carswell graduated in 1960 from the University of Toronto with a B.A.Sc degree in Engineering Physics and a Ph.D. in Physics. He studied the following year on a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the University of Amsterdam. On his return to Canada Dr. Carswell joined the RCA Victor Research Laboratories in Montreal. In 1965 he was appointed Director of the RCA Optical and Microwave Research Laboratory and led the group undertaking research on millimeter microwave systems, gas discharge lasers and their applications.

In 1968 Dr. Carswell joined the faculty of York University in Toronto where he continued his laser research as a Professor of Physics. His work at York included investigations of the properties and applications of high-power lasers and the application of laser radar (lidar) techniques for remote sensing and environmental diagnostics. At York Dr. Carswell was Laboratory Director, Chairman of the Technical Program Committee and Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Space and Terrestrial Science, a Canadian Centre of Excellence in Space Science. Dr. Carswell was Laboratory Director and Principal Investigator in the international Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change (NDSC) responsible for the operation of Lidar Atmospheric Observatories in Toronto and at Eureka in the Canadian High Arctic. He served as Co-Investigator of the MAD DAWG lidar instrument accepted by NASA for inclusion in the original 2003 Mars lander mission. Although this mission was aborted, the lidar instrument development work was continued as part of the NASA/CSA supported MATADOR program. In MATADOR, field lidar measurements were conducted in the Arizona desert in 2001 and 2002 and the results clearly demonstrated the capabilities of lidar for atmospheric studies on Mars.

In 1974 Dr. Carswell founded Optech Incorporated as a "spin-off" from his university research to enable an increased emphasis on the more practical applications of lidar systems. With the company he has developed lidar systems and applications using advanced electro-optical technology. Optech has grown to become a world leader in the provision of lidars for airborne surveying, 3-D imaging, atmospheric measurements, process control applications and space systems. Optech has over two hundred employees serving the international lidar market from its locations in Toronto and at Stennis Space Center.

Dr. Carswell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute. He is a member of the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Optical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union and the Professional Engineers of Ontario. Dr. Carswell has served in a number of senior professional capacities, including President of the Canadian Association of Physicists and Vice President of the Canadian Academy of Science. He is a Board member of several research institutes and industrial corporations. He is author of over one hundred scientific and technical publications and has won awards for achievements in R&D, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He currently serves as a Canadian Co-Investigator on the Phoenix Science Team for the MET instruments.