M. Jalal Khan

A portrait photograph of Jalal Khan.

Dr. M. Jalal Khan is an assistant head of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Tactical Systems Division at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Khan joined Lincoln Laboratory in 2004 as technical staff in the Active Optical Systems Group. He quickly demonstrated his ability to apply emerging technology to new application areas through his development of a sensor for standoff detection of trace explosives using terahertz (THz) radiation. He and his team prototyped and patented the world’s most sensitive room-temperature THz receiver and demonstrated a wideband spectroscopic ladar capability that exceeded the state of the art by more than 30 dB. Next, Khan became deeply involved with the group’s early work to demonstrate and field operational laser radar systems that leveraged Laboratory-developed Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode receivers and new laser sources to enable high-resolution, highly accurate 3D mapping over very large areas. He played key leadership roles in a series of operationally field-tested aircraft systems, including the Airborne Ladar Imaging Research Testbed (ALIRT) wide-area mapping system and the Multi-look Airborne Collector for Human Encampment and Terrain Extraction (MACHETE) foliage-penetrating laser radar system fielded for U.S. Southern Command.  

Khan was promoted to assistant and associate group leader in 2011 and 2015, respectively, and to group leader in 2015. After briefly leading the Advanced Capabilities and Systems Group, Khan returned to lead the Active Optical Systems Group, where he continued to oversee the development of wide-area 3D ladar systems, including the MACHETE 2.0 system and the new PHOton Exploration and Novel Imaging eXperiments (PHOENIX) High-altitude Collaborative Airborne System for Tactical Lidar Experimentation (High CASTLE) test bed. This test bed is being flown on a U.S. Army aircraft to demonstrate world-record long-range 3D imaging capabilities. The group has supported prototyping of numerous optical systems across the Laboratory; collaboration with the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems Group provided ladar capability for hurricane recovery assistance in Texas, Puerto Rico, and the Carolinas in 2017 and 2018. Khan has also led the group to expand its pursuit of disruptive capabilities for new domains, including the first small-form-factor, space-qualifiable laser radar system to serve as a potential landing aid for future NASA planetary missions. Under his leadership, the group has been recognized with multiple R&D 100 Awards and Laboratory Team Awards. 

Khan has been an active member of the Laboratory’s Group Leader Forum. He is a member of the Optical Systems Line committee and co-leads the Technology Committee for the new Civil Space Office. Externally, Khan serves on the Military Sensing Symposium Active Electro-optical/Infrared Conference Committee and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency 3D Capabilities Working Group. 

 Khan holds SB (1994), SM (1996), and PhD (2002) degrees in electrical engineering from MIT. Prior to joining the Laboratory, he worked as a research and development engineer for Clarendon Photonics.