Hildebrand, industry leader, dies at 63

Alfred P. Hildebrand died Oct. 20 at hhis home in Palo Alto, CA from cancer.

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.

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