Electrical and Computer Engineering

WIMS Seminar

Challenges with MEMS/NEMS Technology Development for Space Applications at NASA/JPL

Dr. Thomas George

Supervisor, MEMS Technology Group
In Situ Technology and Experiments Systems Section (384)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Micro/Nano Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS/NEMS) technologies are ideally matched to the demanding needs of space applications. These technologies promise the development of high capability devices and instruments with ultra-low mass and power consumption. However, very few of these technologies have the necessary maturity (defined by NASA's Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs)) for insertion into space missions. This talk examines some of the many challenges facing MEMS/NEMS development at JPL.

The MEMS Technology Group, in collaboration with other research groups at JPL and with outside institutions, pursues the development of a wide range of exciting MEMS/NEMS technologies. The broad classes of technologies being developed include inertial guidance devices, micro-propulsion devices, adaptive optics for telescope applications, micro-instruments, nanowire devices and nano-mechanical resonator devices. These technologies also span the range of technological maturity from low to high TRL. The group is also actively pursuing the establishment of a rapid, low-cost, space-testing program, in an effort to overcome the traditional barriers to the insertion of new technologies into space missions.

Dr. Thomas George manages the MEMS Technology Group at JPL consisting of 20 researchers working on a wide range of advanced MEMS/NEMS technologies for NASA's space missions. His own research interests lie in the areas of MEMS/NEMS-based technologies for in-situ planetary exploration and in the development of "picosat" class spacecraft for the rapid, in-space testing of MEMS/NEMS technologies. Dr. George received his Ph.D. in Materials Science Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He has co-authored over 90 publications and holds 5 US Patents.

Sponsored by

WIMS ERC Seminar Series