🌌 JPL Postdoctoral Fellow- - Infrared Detector Development


Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources. Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before. JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology. They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to contribute to and lead team efforts. We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration's challenges. The postdocs at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare, and other aspects of living in southern California.

Sensor systems based on high performance infrared (IR) detectors can make significant contributions to NASA’s Earth Science (e.g., observables related to Surface, Biology, and Geology, Landsat) and Planetary Science missions (e.g., Venus, Mars, and Ocean Worlds), and to science in general. IR detectors are ubiquitous to almost all areas of measurement, and detector arrays flown on space missions have provided exquisite visual and scientific images, instrumental in advancing our understanding of our home planet and the universe around us. The goal of this opportunity is to pursue the development of emerging IR detector technologies which promise extensions in sensitivity, resolution, array size and other figures of merit relevant to the full set of NASA quests, while simultaneously decreasing their size, weight and power requirements (SWAP) so critical for space missions, as well as their cost.


The general area of research is to develop infrared detectors, avalanche photodiodes, focal plane arrays (FPAs), and focal plane array subsystems and systems architectures for Earth and planetary science applications.  Special interest in studying meta materials, nano-structures and novel “artificial” band-gap materials for infrared and detectors and imaging FPAs.  The specific research objectives include:

1.            Perform trade study to determine the best approach for the detector using advancements such as III-V heterostructure engineering

2.            Determine key metrics for success such as spectral range, SNR, operating temperature, pixel uniformity, operability, etc.

3.            Develop the necessary analysis and simulation to justify that the proposed approach has a reasonable chance of meeting the key metrics

4.            Develop and demonstrate proposed approach that is consistent with the analysis/simulation results. This include test detectors

5.            Analyze how environmental variables such as vibration, radiation environment, etc. may limit the usefulness of these IR detector in space environments

6.            Pursue in development of novel detector approaches to achieve single photon counting

7.            Integration of nanostructured flat lens technology and other meta-surfaced components such as filters and polarizers into FPAs to increase performance and reduce SWAP


Ph D in Physics or Electrical/Electronic Engineering

Electrical and Opto-electrical characterizations: photoluminescence, AFM, SEM, profilometer, spectral response, quantum efficiency, X-ray diffraction, Raman and IR spectroscopy, XPS, k-PEEM, SIMS, Voltage vs capacitance measurements…

Cleanroom processes: photolithography, RIE-ICP etching, PECVD, general chemistry, wet etching, surface preparation, surface passivation TCAD modelling: Silvaco Labview, Matlab, VBA, Python, C-TRIM, SRIM: basic notions Excel, Origin: optimization, analyses, and data visualization

The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, Sarath Gunapala, resulting in publications in the open literature.

Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests.

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

EEO is the Law.

EEO is the Law Supplement

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.

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United States, JPL Campus, Pasadena, California
Posted 15d ago
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