Dr. Jonas Zmuidzinas, Center Chief Technologist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Jonas Zmuidzinas has served as the director of JPL’s Micro Devices Laboratory since 2007. His research focuses on astrophysics at submillimeter and far-infrared wavelengths, including the development of superconducting detectors and multiplexing techniques as well as instruments for ground-based, airborne and space telescopes.
He has collaborated closely with JPL scientists since he joined the Caltech faculty an assistant professor of physics in 1990. The first collaboration involved the development of superconducting tunnel-junction receivers for high-resolution submillimeter-wave spectroscopy, a project that ultimately led to flight hardware for the HIFI instrument on the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory.
Dr. Zmuidzinas currently serves as Caltech’s project scientist for the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope, a proposed 25-meter telescope in Chile that will survey the distant universe using submillimeter cameras and spectrometers enabled by the superconducting detector arrays under development at the Micro Devices Lab. Dr. Zmuidzinas has focused on upgrading the laboratory’s equipment and infrastructure, increasing the visibility of the laboratory and its work, and establishing an external advisory Visiting Committee.
The Merle Kingsley Professor of Physics at Caltech, Zmuidzinas received his B.S. in physics from Caltech in 1981 and his Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley in 1987. He became a Caltech associate professor in 1995, professor in 2000, and Merle Kingsley Professor in 2010.
Dr. Zmuidzinas has deep roots at Caltech and JPL. As a boy, he attended JPL’s Open House with his father, who received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Caltech and spent his career at the Lab. As an undergraduate at Caltech, he worked in the Space Radiation Laboratory Group led by professors Robbie Vogt and Ed Stone, the former JPL Director, which again brought him to JPL in the summer of 1979 during Voyager 2’s flyby of Jupiter.