Mahmooda Sultana has been named the 2017 “IRAD Innovator of the Year,” an award bestowed annually on those who achieve significant results creating technologies under the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Internal Research and Development, or IRAD, program.
Mahmooda Sultana received the award for her groundbreaking work advancing nanomaterials and processes to create small, potentially revolutionary detectors and devices for use in space.
The annual reward is presented by NASA Goddard’s Office of the Chief Technologist in Greenbelt, Maryland. The organization funds and manages the development of promising, potentially breakthrough technologies that could advance the agency’s scientific and exploration goals and benefit others.
“Mahmooda has distinguished herself as a tenacious, creative thinker, impressing virtually everyone with her technical acumen and drive,” said Goddard Chief Technologist Peter Hughes in his announcement.
“In her relatively short time here, she has successfully competed for 10 awards under our IRAD program, compiling an impressive list of accomplishments, including the creation of advanced sensors for which a patent is pending,” he continued. “Perhaps most notable is her emergence as one of NASA’s experts in nanotechnology. I can only imagine what she’ll do in the future. She embodies the very essence of innovation.”
Within a few months of joining NASA in 2010, Sultana had become the lead in the development of graphene-based sensors — efforts that led to the filing of a still-pending patent application. Graphene, which is just one atom thick and composed of carbon atoms arranged in tightly bound hexagons best visualized as atomic-scale chicken wire, is 200 times stronger than structural steel and highly sensitive and stable at extreme temperatures.
“When I came to NASA Goddard in 2010, no one at the center was doing substantial work on graphene, but there was a lot of excitement,” Sultana explained. “Everything was still at a very early stage; people around the world were coming up with new applications of graphene every day. I wanted to explore what graphene had to offer for space applications.”
Reproduced from Media Sources