JPL DESCANSO - Deep Space Communications and Navigation Center of Excellence



Dan M. Goebel

Dan M. Goebel received a B.S. degree in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1977, an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from UCLA in 1978, and a Ph.D. degree in applied plasma physics from UCLA, in 1981. While a student, he received the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Graduate Student Achievement Award in 1979, and was named the Outstanding Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA in 1981.

Dr. Goebel joined the research staff at UCLA in 1982 where he invented the PISCES plasma device that provided the first experimental laboratory simulation of fusion tokamak edge and divertor plasmas. The PISCES machines he developed in the 1980s are still in use at UC San Diego, and have been copied in both Europe and Japan for plasma-materials interactions research. In 1986, Dr. Goebel and two of his colleagues from UCLA spun off his plasma source technologies to form PMT, Inc., which became a $40M/yr manufacturer of plasma-processing equipment for the thin-film and semiconductor industries and is listed on the NASDAQ exchange. While working for PMT, he invented the APS plasma source, which was licensed to Leybold in Germany and is still used today in their optical coating and ion-assisted deposition systems. In 1987, he led an international fusion research program on edge-plasma characterization in the TEXTOR tokamak in Germany. In 1988, Dr. Goebel joined Hughes Research Laboratories where he led research programs on high-power plasma-filled microwave sources, plasma-cathode electron-guns and pulsed-power plasma switching devices. In 1997 he moved to Hughes EDD (which became Boeing EDD) where he was the supervisor of the Advanced Technology Group for microwave tube development and the lead scientist of the XIPS ion thruster program for commercial satellite station keeping.

Dr. Goebel is presently a JPL Fellow and Senior Research Scientist in the Advanced Propulsion Group at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Since joining JPL in 2003, he has worked on the development of high efficiency electric thrusters and other space technologies. He is a recognized expert in ion and Hall thrusters, cathodes, advanced plasma sources, microwave sources, high voltage engineering and pulsed power switches. He is also presently the Spacecraft Chief Engineer on the Psyche Discovery mission.

Dr. Goebel is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, Fellow of the AIAA, Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and a member of Sigma Xi Research Society. He is an Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at both UCLA and USC where he teaches electromagnetics, wireless communication, plasma physics, and Spacecraft Design. Dr. Goebel is the former Chairman of the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee, former Chairman of the IEEE EDS Technical Committee on Vacuum Devices, has acted as Chairman and Program Chairman for many IEEE conferences and workshops, and was an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices for five years. He has won many awards from the AIAA, IEEE, Hughes, Boeing, and JPL for his published papers, patents, and technical achievements. He is the author of over 130 peer-reviewed journal papers, over 150 conference papers, 11 book chapters, one textbook, and holds 52 patents.

Co-Author of Volumn 1 of the JPL Space Science and Technology Series:

Fundamanetals of Electric Propulsion: Ion and Hall Thrusters