Dr. John Burke




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DARPA, Microsystems Technology Office (MTO)

Dr. John Burke

Dr. John Burke joined DARPA as a Program Manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) in August 2017. His research interests include the development of high-stability, low-noise sensors and frequency synthesis to enable new positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) and remote detection capabilities. He is particularly interested in the integration of modern atomic physics techniques (e.g. laser cooling and trapping) with photonic circuits and atom chips to reduce the complexity, cost, and size of these techniques while increasing their robustness and reliability for use outside of a laboratory environment.


Dr. Burke is currently on detail from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico where he was a Senior Research Physicist. Dr. Burke led a research team developing atomic clocks, optical time transfer, and cold atom measurement techniques for use in space applications such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). The AFRL optical atomic clock uses a frequency comb, stable laser, and atomic vapor cell to generate a frequency tone that enables GPS satellite clocks to be accurate to nanosecond levels for long periods of time. Dr. Burke also led the Air Force’s contribution to the NASA Cold Atom Laboratory for the International Space Station (ISS), and optical time transfer development under two defense programs. Dr. Burke won the AFRL Early Career Award and Senior Leadership Award.


Dr. Burke received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Centre College and his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in physics from the University of Virginia. His thesis work was on atom interferometry with guided matter waves sourced from a Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC), which won the University of Virginia Award for Excellence in Scholarship in Science and Engineering.