Dr. Steven Patterson

Dr. Steven R. Patterson

SPX Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte NC 28223

Research Interests

Precision Machine Design, Material Stability


  • M.A., Biblical Studies (with honor), Dallas Theological Seminary, 2013.
  • Ph.D., Applied Science, University of California at Davis, 1987.
  • M.S., Applied Science, University of California at Davis, 1982.
  • B.S., Physics (with honor), California Institute of Technology, 1970.

Professional Experience

  • SPX Distinguished Professor of Engineering – University of North Carolina at Charlotte, July 1993 – present.
  • Associate Director for Engineering – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, August 2003 – September 2007.
  • Project Manager, National Ignition Facility – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, March 1993 – July 1993.Established the framework for the conceptual design, negotiated a memorandum of understanding between the four major constituent laboratories and established deputies and project teams at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics and the University of Rochester.
  • Program Leader, Brilliant Pebbles Test Program – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, January 1991 – present.Was responsible for all aspects of the development and test efforts, which included the technical direction of approximately 200 personnel, management of all contract activity, coordination of Brilliant Pebbles activity with the Department of Defense Strategic Defense Initiative Office and coordination of flight test activities with NASA.
  • Division Leader, Materials Fabrication Division – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, June 1987 – January 1991.Duties comprised technical and administrative management, including responsibility for facilities, equipment, training, salaries and the direction of discretionary research activity.
  • Associate Program Leader for Research, Precision Engineering Program; Staff Scientist, Materials Fabrication Division – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, January 1985 – January 1987.Defined and conducted research in the area of measurement science, mechanisms of material removal and novel applications of diamond turning.
  • Section Leader, Fabrication Technology, Materials Fabrication Division – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, October 1983 – January 1985.Responsible for the technical and administrative management of a staff of 60 professionals who were working on optics, metrology, machine tool development and the large optics diamond turning machine. Was also designated as the technology leader within the Engineering Directorate at LLNL for precision engineering. This position entailed coordinating discretionary research activities in the precision engineering area with the directorate budget and other LLNL program activities.
  • Deputy Project Leader, Large Optics Diamond Turning Machine – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, April 1979 – October 1983.Originally joined as a staff engineer in 1979 and subsequently became deputy project leader. Was responsible for all optical and electronic systems, as well as maintaining schedule, budget and DOD interfaces. Also served as project leader for related precision fixturing project which developed the mathematical and technical approaches required for repeatable fixturing of annular optics. This work included the construction and testing of 0.01 micron accuracy roundness measuring machine.
  • Chief, Optical Physics Group, Laser Development Division – Air Force Weapons Laboratory, December 1977 – April 1979.Responsibilities included technical evaluation of contractor proposals, design of diagnostic equipment and maintenance and operation of resonator design computer codes. Most of the hands-on technical work was devoted to the development of modal adaptive optical systems and cooled mirrors.
  • Chief, T-37 Academic Section, 47th Pilot Training Wing – Laughlin AFB, Texas, April 1973 – December 1977.Was responsible for the supervision of a staff of 16 instructors engaged in all phases of academic instruction of 800 foreign and American students in the T-37. Activities included platform and cockpit instruction in addition to developing course materials, scheduling classes and counseling students.
  • Project Officer – Air Force Weapons Laboratory, June 1970 – April 1973.Responsible for the development of an advanced Nd:Glass and pulsed carbon dioxide laser system. These systems were used for the production of intense laser plasmas.
  • Electronics Engineer – The Kennedy Company, August 1969 to June 1970.Designed power and servo control subsystems for digital magnetic tape drives.

Military Service

  • Active duty with USAF. Stationed at Kirtland AFB, NM and Laughlin AFB, TX, 1970 – 1979.
  • Reserve duty associated with the Air Force Weapons Laboratory (Kirtland, NM) and the Air Force Wright Aviation Laboratory, Dayton OH, 1980 – 1991.

Retired from the US Air Force Reserve with the rank of Major, 1991.

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • Member, ASME B5-TC52 standards committee (Machining Centers).
  • Fellow, Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).
  • Charter Member, American Society for Precision Engineering (ASPE).


  • Air Force Commendation Medal – awarded three times.
  • IRD Award (now the RD 100 Award) as a member of a relatively large development group.
  • ASME Computers in Engineering Division Certificate of Appreciation (for LODTM development).
  • ASPE Lifetime Achievement Award.

Unclassified Publications (partial list)

  • Cold Cathode Electron Beam Controlled Carbon-dioxide Laser Performance, with L. McKee; AFWL-TR-74-163 (1974).
  • “Improvement of absolute accuracy for a multiple bounce reflectometer through a detailed effort to reduce systematic errors”, with M. Wetzel, T. Satio; Applied Optics 12,7 1558-1563 (1973).
  • “Diamond machining and mechanical inspection of optical components”, with R. Donaldson and D.Thomposn; Proceedings of the SPIE 316, 32-41 (1981).
  • “Precision support of annular optics”, with J.Roblee, D.Stillman; Proceedings of the SPIE 433, 76-83 (1983).
  • “Design and construction of a large, vertical axis diamond turning machine”, with R. Donaldson; Proceedings of SPIE 433, 62-67 (1983).
  • “Design and testing of a fast tool servo for diamond turning”, with E. Magrab; Precision Engineering 7,3 123-128 (1985).
  • “Development of precision turning capabilities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory”, Proceedings of the Third Biennial International Machine Tool Technical Conference 12, 147-159 (1986).
  • “Wavefront correctors by diamond turning”, with A. Meinel, M. Meinel, J.Stacy, T. Satio; Applied Optics 25,6 824-825 (1986).
  • Interferometric Measurement of the Dimensional Stability of Superinvar, UCRL-53787 (1988).
  • “Diamond Turning Wavefront Correctors: Opening New Optical Design Flexibilities”, with A. Meinel, M. Meinel, J.Stacy, T. Saito; Proceedings of the SPIE 676, 1016 (1986).
  • Inspection of the Large Optics Diamond Turning Machine, UCRL-97696 (1987).
  • Diamond Turning of Silicon for Optics, with J. Taylor, C. Syn, R. Donaldson; UCID-21187 (1988).
  • Direct Machining of a Non-Axisymmetric Phase Corrector, with R. Schenz, T. Satio; UCRL-99581 (1988).
  • “Capacitance gauges for contour measurement”, LLNL Engineering Research FY’89 (1989).
  • DOE requirements for the next generation controller, with V. Gross, T. Williams; UCRL-ID-103766 (1991).


  • Phase Measurement System Using a Dithered Clock – U.S. Patent No. 5,019,786.

Phone : (704) 687-8207

email : spatters@uncc.edu