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.
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)
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.
NASA Press Release (10/7/2016): MinXSS CubeSat Brings New Information to Study Solar Flares
Pre-PhD Dissertation 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.