Previous Research

Diverse Projects 

My previous research experiences include an array of projects involving, technology development, instrumentation, observation and data modeling, and comparisons to 3-dimentional simulations. All of these arenas are necessary to push the progress of science. In general, technology can improve the capabilities of the instruments conducting measurements, the data from these observations can be compared to models and numerical simulations to both assess how well we understand physics of certain systems and to understand the ability of observations to infer properties of systems.

The background is a photo of

Dr. Christopher S. Moore in the Clean Room at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with a Terahertz emitter, that

he fabricated on a silicon wafer.

PhD Dissertation Projects

(UV Coatings to X-Ray Satellites)

UV Mirror Coatings 

As a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow (NSTRF),  now called the NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO), I received funding in conjunction with the Micro Devices Lab at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to help develop, fabricate, laboratory test and space flight test new Ultra-Violet (UV) optical coatings for future NASA satellite missions. This research consists of developing, fabricating and testing of atomic layer deposition (ALD) thin film optical coatings to enhance the intrinsic reflectivity of metals for use as the next generation mirrors on future major space missions. Under the guidance of my advisor Kevin France at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy (CASA). The coatings are to be space verified on a future Sounding Rocket flight. I mentored and worked with many undergraduate students on this project including but not limited to Christian Carter, Liam O'Connor, and Nick Renninger. This research resulted in many publications that are listed in my Skinny CV on the CV page.

  • UV Reflectance Goal: Create an UV-Vis-IR transparent overcoat to protect the underlying Aluminum reflective layer from deterioration while in space on a telescope mirror. (see Figure below)

  • Theoretical Predictions: Very thin (a few nanometers) layers of metal fluorides are desirable, with aluminum fluoride (AlF3) being the prime candidate. (see figure below from Moore et al. 2016) 

MinXSS CubeSat  

Half of my dissertation research involved assisting in the characterization of the detector, writing the data processing software, and data analysis of the Minature X-ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) CubeSats at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The twin MinXSS  CubeSats measure the amount of X-ray radiation from the Sun roughly every ten-seconds. With supervision from P.I. Tom Woods, we will use these data to learn more about the outer atmosphere of the Sun, specifically the Solar corona. The outer atmosphere of the Sun is believed to be one of the main locations where magnetic energy can accelerate particles and be converted to heat and light during eruptive events.

Pre-PhD Dissertation Projects

Many Projects 

My pre-PhD dissertation research included a Comprehensive Exam 2 (Comps 2) project and summer internships. My Comps 2 project focused on magnetic effects on the Solar abundance. My internships involved primarily Solar physics and microfabrication engineering of devices for space based applications via summer internships. I have been fortunate to be involved in the science and engineering sides of physics and astrophysics during my undergraduate career. I started participating in internships after my sophomore year at the University of Iowa with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) Summer REU conducting solar physics. I then interned at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in the Solar Physics Laboratory, Code 671. After these solar experiences, I interned again at Goddard for the next two summers, but this time as a microfabrication engineer in the Detector Systems Branch, Code 553.

Magnetic Effects on Solar Abundance Estimates and Spectral Line Shapes

January - December 2013

Solar Physics

(Numerical Simulations)

I compared synthetic spectra from simulated convective hydrodynamic (HD) flows to convective magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) flows to analyze the effects of magnetic fields on the chemical abundance in the solar photosphere. I compared a local dynamo simulation (0 net vertical magnetic flux) to a mean field (non-zero constant magnetic flux) magnetic simulation to uncover unique signatures in the spectral line shapes. I deduced the two magnetic field morpholoogies' influence on oxygen and iron abundances from visible spectral line diagnostics. This research is published in Moore, C. S. et al., 2015, The Effects of Magnetic Field Morphology on the Determination of Oxygen and Iron Abundances in the Solar Photosphere, ApJ, 799 150

Microfabication of Terahertz Emitter and Superconductors

Summers of 2010 and 2011

Material Science and Chemical 


I worked with Dr. James Chervenak and Dr. Thomas Stevenson in the Detector System Branch, Code 553, to learn the fundamentals of solid state physics, electronics and clean room processes to develop microstructure devices. My projects were to: 1. Create a terahertz (far-infrared) emitter that will operate between 4 and 20 K and calibrate a detector and 2. Test the effects of a new deposition mechanism (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) of silicon oxide SiO2 insulating layers on the critical current (maximum current a superconductor can maintain) of niobium. These devices are micro meter size (smaller than the width of your hair), so it is necessary to build them in an environment where there are few large particles, called a “clean room”. I received training on high temperature furnaces, photolithography, implantation of dopant ions, electron-beam deposition of metals, dry and wet etching and microscope usage. This experience bestowed upon me critical insight on connecting science and engineering. 

Solar Flare Thermal Plasma and Accelerated Electrons

Summer 2009

Solar Physics

I worked with Dr. Brian Dennis in the Solar Physics Branch, Code 671, and learned how to analyze X-Ray spectra and images from the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI). RHESSI is a solar X-ray imaging spacecraft with spectroscopic capabilities. I utilized IDL to analyze spectra for 30 + solar flares from the last sunspot solar cycle. I deduced the energy budgets for the accelerated electrons and the thermal plasma by fitting curves of count rate versus photon energy to physical models. The results from my first three internships are published in Emslie, A. G., Chamberlin, P. C., Dennis, B. R., Mewaldt, R. A., Moore, C. S. , Share, G. H., Shih, A. Y, Vourlidas, A. and Welsch, B. T., 2012, Global Energetics of Thirty-Eight Large Solar Eruptive Events, ApJ, 759 71. During this work, Dr. Dennis provided guidance on RHESSI spacecraft design, data acquisition and data processing.

Solar Flare Total Solar Irradiance Modeling

Summers of 2007 and 2008

Solar Physics

I worked with Dr. Phillip Chamberlin and Dr. Rachel Hock analyzing data from the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) which flies onboard NASA‘s SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) mission. The first research objective was to deduce the total amount of energy released from X-class (the most energetic) solar flares across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Solar flares are eruptions of material confined by twisted magnetic field lines. Another objective was to obtain the contribution from the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) wavelengths with the help of the Flare Irradiance Spectral Model (FISM). I used this model to decompose the solar flares into their impulsive and gradual phases. During my internship I learned the computer program Interactive Data Language (IDL). I compared FISM models of irradiance versus time to data from TIM to put constraints on the energy fluctuations in the Total Solar Irradiance due to solar flares. The results of this study are published in Moore, C. S., Chamberlin, P. C. and Hock, R., 2014, Measurements and Modeling of Total Solar Irradiance in X-class Solar Flares, ApJ, 787 32M. This experience taught me computer programming skills and the basics of analyzing data from space based facilities.

Astrophysicist, Technologist Educator, Entrepreneur

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©2020 by Christopher S. Moore, Ph.D.