Once the United States officially joined Allied forces in the war, tensions ran high as the country struggled to develop new military technology to help defeat their enemies on the battlefield. One important optics contribution (among many) that came from Rochester were the multi-layer low reflecting coatings that Friedlander developed during her tenure at the Institute of Optics. These multi-layer films were used in military rangefinders and several other defense applications. Friedlander’s work in optics also contributed to solving another very critical issue for the U.S. Military: how to land in hostile territory in complete darkness without being detected by the enemy.
For more information on Mary Banning Friedlander’s career and achievements in optics, head over to read an in-depth article by Sarah Michaud and Stewart Wills at The Optical Society of America website.