Nibir Dhar

Dr. Nibir K. Dhar
Convergence Lab Director
Prof. & Director of VMC

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

College of Engineering

Nibir K. Dhar, PhD.

Dr. Dhar received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park with a major in Microelectronics and a minor in Electro-physics. He received a BSEE degree in electrical and computer engineering from the George Mason University. In 2021 he joined Virginia Commonwealth University as a full professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He is currently the director of Virginia Microelectronics Center and director of the Convergence Lab Initiative (CLI) at VCU. He is the recipient of the 2023 National/International Recognition Award (NIRA). He founded the CLI center and initiated several R&D programs including STEM and workforce development programs, US Army ASPIRE and US Air Force A-STAR. Dr. Dhar is also a Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) eminent scholar and serves on various committees and initiatives.

Prior to joining VCU he served the US Department of Defense for thirty-three years. He led the EOIR research and technology for the US Armed Forces with a focus on Army and USSOCOM applications and product development. Dr. Dhar joined Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD, now C5ISR Center RTI) in April of 2014 as the Chief Scientist for science and technology to advance the R&D portfolio and technology maturation efforts. At NVESD, he was involved with the R&D programs in electronics, photonics, materials, detectors, FPAs, optics, processing, EOIR systems, AI/ML, and applications in the imaging science and technology area. As part of his strategy to increase research and STEM portfolio at NVESD, Dr. Dhar initiated the innovation platform called, "Innovative Discovery Science Platform" (iDISPLA) focusing on advanced R&D, education, workforce & outreach, collaboration and technology maturation. He worked in the areas of artificial intelligence in imaging, electronics and photonics technologies through the iDISPLA initiative.

Prior to joining NVESD, Dr. Dhar served as the program manager in the Microsystems Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). He had a large technology portfolio worth several hundred million dollars, addressing some of the key capability gaps in the Department of Defense imaging science area. His programs such as AWARE, LCTI-M, PIXNET etc. demonstrated some of the breakthrough solutions to the fundamental challenges in detectors, FPAs, electronics, imaging and photonics systems. His research involved new infrared camera architectures to address wide field of view, large and very small form-factors, computational imaging, and bio-inspired imaging designs for a variety of applications. These activities included heterogeneous materials integration, metamaterials, nanotechnology, photonics, sensors, wafer scale sensor manufacturing, novel optical designs, camera design, image processing and integrated circuits.

His research activities culminated into multi-front advances in the infrared imaging science, microelectronics, photonics, and related technologies, and have set a new trend in the IR detectors and system design. His research addressed tactical wavelength bands from ultraviolet to 14 microns. At DARPA he developed various innovative technologies and transitioned several products to the US military and industry. One of his key programs in uncooled FPA technology led to new manufacturing processes to reduce cost and enabled integration of infrared (microbolometer) cameras in smartphones, and opened doors for innovation in various military and commercial products. His other programs in cooled infrared systems also produced new capabilities for the warfighter, and started a new trend in infrared pixel scaling leading to Nyquist limited pixels.

He made significant impact in nanotechnology and photonics, and served on the review panel for the US initiative for American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics started by President Obama. His efforts added significant value to the Army and to the scientific community at large. Prior to DARPA he worked at Army Research Laboratory as the branch chief and team lead in EOIR technology. At ARL he served on panels for several Army institutes such as Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology, Institute for Collaborative Biotechnology and Micro-Autonomous Systems Technology.

Dr. Dhar is a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) and Optical Society of America (OPTICA). He received the US Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service in 2014, Henry Levinstein lifetime achievement Award in 2016 and Army Technical Excellence award in 2018. He received numerous R&D achievement awards, technology transition awards and industry awards for his technical contributions in the area of infrared science. He is a senior member of IEEE, lifetime member of Eta Kappa Nu IEEE honor society and Golden Key honor society. He served as an adjunct professor and on PhD thesis review panels at the George Mason University, University of Maryland, University of Illinois at Chicago, Virginia Commonwealth University, and mentored more than twelve Ph.D. students in various subjects. He published numerous technical papers and book chapters. He also served on the Old Dominion University Engineering Industrial Advisory Board, and currently serving as an executive board member for the Virginia Microelectronics Consortium. He is the Virginia Alliance for Semiconductor Technology lead for VCU node.