Alfred P. Hildebrand died Oct. 20 at his home in Palo Alto, CA, from cancer. He was 63.
Hildebrand earned a BS degree in physics from Stanford University in 1963. A star athlete, he was drafted by the Houston Oilers, but cut short his NFL career to pursue a career in Silicon Valley. He became a leader in the laser and electro-optics industry, with expertise in barcode scanning, displays, and advanced photonics.
His first job with Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA) led to his contribution to the development of the barcode scanner, and in 1977 he was awarded a patent for that work. He was also responsible for the development of many of the laser applications that drove the growth of Spectra-Physics, including lasers in printing, direct-write lithography, semiconductor memory repair, and three-dimensional solid modeling. He was also instrumental in developing Spectra-Physics’ contacts in Europe that led to its strong role in the use of lasers in spectroscopy.
Hildebrand was a leader in the development of several early stage companies, including Silicon Light Machines, Inviso, Nanogear, and Iridigm Display. He was an active director of more than a dozen technology firms.