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Otterbein grad researches new commercial and military applications for lasers

Otterbein grad researches new commercial and military applications for lasers

This article is from the Spring 2016 edition of Otterbein Towers magazine, out now. Read more articles from the latest edition online.

Sean McDaniel ’10, an electro-optical engineer, is in charge of developing lasers for a variety of applications for the military at Leidos in Beavercreek, OH, just outside Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“My role focuses on developing laser sources for a variety of medical and military applications, mainly focusing on mid-infrared lasers,” McDaniel said. “I work on basic research, but the end result of this type of work ends up in missile defense systems, lasers used for glaucoma surgery and even laser hair removal.”

McDaniel majored in physics at Otterbein and was a member of Lambda Gamma Epsilon and the American Physical Society. He also served as a lab assistant, setting up laboratory experiments for the introductory and advanced physics courses.

Although both of his parents, Ann Backer McDaniel ’75 and Scott McDaniel ’75, had attended Otterbein, McDaniel looked at a lot of different schools before he chose Otterbein.

“On my admission’s visit, I was able to meet with the physics faculty, including Professor David Robertson. I thought the faculty was excited about teaching — something I didn’t see at other schools.”

Looking back, McDaniel feels Otterbein has prepared him well for his future career in the sciences.

“Otterbein gave me a vast working knowledge of physics and a very good general education,” McDaniel said. “The large selection of in-department courses allowed for a broad overview of all areas of physics. Of those courses, electricity and magnetism prepared me for my graduate work in electro-optics. I was well prepared when I started my graduate work.”

McDaniel received his master’s degree in electro-optical engineering from the University of Dayton in 2012. He served as a graduate assistant at Dayton and worked as an engineering technician in the Air Force Research Laboratory.

He joined Science Applications International Corporation, which later became Leidos, right out of graduate school. McDaniel is currently working on his doctorate in electro-optical engineering at Dayton, while working full-time at Leidos.


Learn more about the Department of Physics at Otterbein.