Systems Engineering Seminar

The History of Microelectronics and Detector Development at Goddard - From My Perspective

Presented by:
Dr. Murzy Jhabvala, Chief Engineer,
Instrument Systems and Technology Division (Code 550)

Monday, November 19, 2018 - 1:00pm
Building 36, Room C211 (Symposium)


Dr. Murzy Jhabvala will present the history and evolution of semiconductor microelectronics development leading up to the current detector technologies at Goddard from his perspective. Murzy has been developing a wide range of semiconducting devices and instruments utilizing these devices for over 40 years starting first, in the early 1970s, with the in-house design, fabrication and packaging of the first flight-qualified CMOS integrated circuits (ICs), the development of radiation hard PMOS and CMOS ICs for NASA missions that led to the development of: single element infrared detectors and custom CCD imagers, the development of the first quantum well infrared detector arrays, the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) micro-shutters, new and novel semiconductor devices and the current development of strained layer superlattice (SLS) IR large-format detector arrays and SLS-based instruments. He will discuss the collaborations that had dramatic impacts on the microelectronics development at Goddard including advising the Department of Commerce on memory chip trade issues in the 1980s, helping the FBI with fingerprint digitization and collaborations with the medical industry. You are invited to listen and to also participate in this presentation.


Dr. Murzy Jhabvala was born and raised in Manhattan, NY in 1951. He received his BS in Engineering Science, from the University of Rhode Island, 1973; Master's in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, 1974; and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, 1980. He has been with the Goddard Space Flight Center since 1974. During this time he has worked on a wide range of projects spanning the technology spectrum of integrated circuit design and fabrication to managing international detector development projects for NASA science missions.

In the early years he designed, fabricated, and flight qualified integrated circuits he provided to numerous NASA missions. He was the co-inventor of infrared sources used on the Spitzer Space Telescope project; he lead the team for the design, fabrication, and delivery of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) detector assembly; he participated in the detector evaluation for multiple instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope; he managed the development and delivery of both the anode array and the cross delay line detector assembly for Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO); he developed the internal reference calibrator and scatterometer instruments for the Cosmic Background Explorer; he lead the custom CCD imager development for the Earth Observing MODIS-T project; he co-developed the first gallium arsenide long wave Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) array and camera development, and was the Principal Investigator for the development of the gallium arsenide Hyperspectral Imaging System; he lead the team for the development of the world's first one- and four-megapixel gallium arsenide QWIP arrays, he led the development and qualification of the microshutter arrays for the James Webb Space Telescope project and was co-lead for the detector development for the NASA New Horizons Mission (to Pluto and beyond); he led the development of the infrared detector system for the Landsat 8 mission. He was Co-Investigator with the US Geological Survey to evaluate infrared imaging of caves in the Mojave Desert as a precursor to finding caves on Mars. He currently is leading the development of strained layer superlattice detector arrays, the detector characterization for the international Euclid project and the development of the Compact Thermal Imager that will be installed on the International Space Station.

From 1985 to 1990 Dr. Jhabvala also served as the Technical Advisor for the administration of the US-Japan Semiconductor Trade Agreement. He later assisted in the dumping investigation of memory chips from Taiwan and Korea with the US Department of Commerce.

Dr. Jhabvala was inducted into the US Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2001 for his contribution to the development of quantum well detector technology. He has received the Presidential Rank award, four NASA medals for exceptional engineering achievements and outstanding leadership, the NASA Moe Schneebaum Award for Engineering, the Distinguished Service Award from the Government Microelectronics Application Committee, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium "Excellence in Technology Transfer" Award. He is also the recipient of over 50 NASA Certificates of Recognition, Special Achievement, and Outstanding Performance awards. He was appointed a Goddard Senior Fellow in 1992. He is the author or co-author of more than 150 technical publications and the author of policy papers on the cost allocation of research and development in the Semiconductor Industry for the Dept. of Commerce. Dr. Jhabvala holds patents for a number of unique semiconductor and medical devices.


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