Pran Mukherjee is an engineer and programmer with a broad background and diverse experience. His expertise in silicon nanofabrication combined with advanced knowledge of space instrumentation enabled him to become the first researcher at the University of Michigan to merge the two disciplines to build space-based sensor components. His primary hardwareresearch interests are silicon process engineering, plasma etch technology, sensors, and alternative energy, and his software expertise lies in computer vision, machine learning, and web applications.

Dr. Mukherjee received a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1996. He spent the next seven years working on large-scale software engineering projects including, among others, a battlefield-scale target designator using synthetic aperture radar, a vehicle passenger detector for airbag deployment, an immersive 3D jetski simulator for the Coast Guard, and others. In 2004 he was the first student to graduate from the University of Michigan's experimental Master's of Engineering program in Integrated Microsystems. He went on to complete his M.S. ('05) and Ph.D. ('08) in Space and Atmospheric Science under Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen in the Solar-Heliospheric Research Group. He won two prestigious NASA Graduate Student Research Program grants as primary funding for the work, as well as an ancillary grant for laboratory funding.

His Ph.D. dissertation included the modeling of inner heliospheric pickup ion populations and examination of instrumentation necessary to measure them. Extremely efficient and mechanically robust filters are required to block the abundant vacuum ultraviolet light while allowing atoms and molecules through for measurement. Dr. Mukherjee designed, fabricated, and tested freestanding ultra-high aspect ratio silicon nanogratings as the first step toward such a filter. A subsequent NASA grant based on his research enabled the continuation of the project by other students with the intent of flying the gratings on the Solar Probe Plus mission in 2015.

Dr. Mukherjee's most recent research at MIT was an extension and amplification of his graduate work. He has achieved record-breaking geometries for his silicon nanogratings, nearly tripling the results obtained during his PhD research. In addition, he designed a process for an industrial study of quantum-dot enhanced solar cells on glass, created a technique to enable efficient cooling during the etching of thin membrane silicon devices, and has shouldered some of the duties of lab management for his group.

Since leaving MIT, Dr. Mukherjee has attained a lifetime registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, built a detector for human-scale motion in a Python-based home security application, and worked on two other web projects in Python/Django.