Karen Dowling

  • Karen Dowling
    Karen Dowling

PhD Candidate, Stanford University

Gallium Nitride Based Magnetic Field Sensing for the Europa Environment

Sensors for planetary exploration are necessary for navigation and scientific data collection, but due to current limitations of silicon electronics, these need to be heavily shielded from the intense radiation and heated for thermal stability – electronics can freeze out and drift in low temperature environments (<-100C). However, materials like GaN can be used in heterostructure configurations to enable lower temperature operations. During my PhD I’ve focused on the nanofabrication, analysis, and development of silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) based sensors to operate in extreme conditions for aero-astro solutions. In particular, magnetometers that withstand high temperature range environments (-180C to 600C). This poster will cover on going work to uncover the source of high offsets in GaN hall sensors and show comparable results to leading silicon hall technology.

Karen M. Dowling received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, in 2013, and the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, CA in 2015, where she is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in the EXtreme Environments Microsystems Laboratory (XLab) under Prof. Senesky. Her research interests include the use of wideband gap materials for the development of sensors for extreme environments, in particular gallium nitride based magnetic field sensors for the Europa Environment. Ms. Dowling served as the student president of the NSF Engineering Research Center for the Power Optimization of Electro Thermal Systems and is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Research statement