Jerzy (known as George)Dobrowolski was born in Poland and immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1949,where he received his Ph.D in technical Optics from the University of London.
He moved to Canada where he made significant contributions to the science and application of optical thin films.His career spanned 58 years at the National Research council of Canada ( his last position before death was Researcher Emeritus),and he published over 190 papers and 8 book chapters, and was awarded more than 30 patents.
George Dobrowolski pioneered the development of thin film technology for protecting banknotes and other important documents.In 1968, the Bank of Canada approached George and his NRC colleagues, who came up with a way to exploit a “weakness” of optical thin films that causes the reflected colour to change with the viewing angle, due to the interference effect.George and a colleauge obtained the first patent on thin film security devices in 1975.
George’s NRC group quickly proved the concept of the thin film security devices in the lab, however, for more than 15 years, they carried out intensive development work to scale it for industrial application.
Their work culminated in the successful issue of Canadian banknotes with the “thin film” patch device in 1989, and for more than 20 years,two generations of Canadian banknotes carried optical thin film security devices.
George Dobrowolski also built a world-class thin films group at the NRC involved in leading otical coaing research. This work formed the base for a successful spin-off company in 1998-Iridian Spectral Technologies.
George worked with companies small and large on aspects of optical coatings, and many of his inventions were transfered to industry
George Dobrowolski’s contributions to science, his wider contributions to his adopted country of Canada, and his contributions to the Polish community in Ottawa were widely recognized by a number of distinguished awards, including Order of Canada in 2004.