Tobin Munsat
Professor • Chair

Office: DUAN F827

Research Interests:

My research is in the general area of space plasma physics, cosmic dust, and planetary science.  My primary work takes place at the Institute for Modeling Plasmas, Atmospheres, and Cosmic DusT (IMPACT,, where we have several parallel experimental and modeling efforts related to plasma/surface interactions at airless bodies, the evolution of planetary surfaces, the dynamics of cosmic dust, the physics of hypervelocity impacts at small scales, and the development of flight instruments for the detection of cosmic dust.  The centerpiece experimental facility is the Colorado Dust Accelerator, a 3 MV linear electrostatic accelerator capable of accelerating micron-sized particles up to 10's of km/s into a variety of targets.  Recent experiments involve accelerating hypervelocity particles into frozen icy targets in order to study the production and survivability of organic materials.  A second significant experiment, The Colorado Solar Wind Experiment, is a large-area flowing plasma device to model the interaction of the Solar Wind with airless surfaces in the laboratory. Close collaborators at IMPACT include Mihaly Horanyi (Physics), Sascha Kempf (Physics), Zoltan Sternovsky (Aerospace Engineering), Jordy Bouwman (Chemistry), and Xu Wang (LASP).

Selected Publications:

  1. Zach Ulibarri, Jia Han, Mihaly Horanyi, Tobin Munsat, Xu Wang, Guy Whittall-Scherfee, and Li Hsia Yeo, “A large ion beam device for laboratory solar wind studies,” Review of Scientific Instruments 88(11) 115112 (2017).
  2. M. DeLuca, T. Munsat, E. Thomas, and Z. Sternovsky, “The ionization efficiency of aluminum and iron at meteoric velocities,” Planetary and Space Sciences, 156 111-116 (2018).
  3. Evan Thomas, Mihaly Horanyi, Diego Janches, Tobin Munsat, Jonas Simolka, Zoltan Sternovsky, "Measurements of the Ionization Coefficient of Simulated Iron Micrometeoroids," Geophysical Research Letters 43 3645–3652 (2016).
  4. A.O. Nelson, R. Dee, M.S. Gudipati, M. Horanyi, D. James, S. Kempf, T. Munsat, Z. Sternovsky, and Z. Ulibarri, "New experimental capability to investigate the hypervelocity micrometeoroid bombardment of cryogenic surfaces," Review of Scientific Instruments 87 024502 (2016).
  5. S.E. Zemedkun, S. Che, Y. Chen, C.W. Domier, N.C. Luhmann, Jr., T. Munsat, S.E. Parker, B. Tobias, W. Wan, and L. Yu, "Spatially resolved measurements of two-dimensional turbulent structures in DIII-D plasmas," Physics of Plasmas 22 122508 (2015).
  6. S.J. Zweben, W.M. Davis, S.M. Kaye, J.R. Myra, R.E. Bell, B.P LeBlanc, R.J. Maqueda, T. Munsat, S.A. Sabbagh, Y. Sechrest, D.P. Stotler, and the NSTX Team, "Edge and SOL turbulence and blob variations over a large database in NSTX," Nuclear Fusion 55 093035 (2015).
  7. A. Collette, K. Drake, A. Mocker, Z. Sternovsky, T. Munsat, C. Anaya, and M. Horanyi, "Time-Resolved Temperature Measurements in Hypervelocity Dust Impact," Planetary and Space Science 89 58-62 (2013).
  8. A.D. Light, S.C. Thakur, C. Brandt, Y. Sechrest, G.R. Tynan, and T. Munsat, "Direct extraction of coherent mode properties from imaging measurements in a linear plasma column," Physics of Plasmas 20 082120 (2013).
  9. P. Northway, S. Auer, K. Drake, M. Horányi, A. Mocker, T. Munsat, A. Shu, Z. Sternovsky, E. Thomas, and J. Xie, “Characteristics of a new dust coordinate sensor,” Measurement Science and Technology 23 105902 (2012).
  10. A. Shu, A. Collette, K. Drake, E. Grün, M. Horányi, S. Kempf, A. Mocker, T. Munsat, P. Northway, R. Srama, Z. Sternovsky, and E. Thomas, “3 MV Hypervelocity Dust Accelerator at the Colorado Center for Lunar Dust and Atmospheric Studies,” Review of Scientific Instruments 83(7)  075108 (2012).
  11. Y. Sechrest, T. Munsat, S.J. Zweben, R.J. Maqueda, D. Russell, D.A. D’Ippolito, and J.R. Myra, “Flow and Shear Behavior in the Edge and Scrape-off Layer in NSTX L-Mode Plasmas,” Physics of Plasmas 18 012502 (2011).
  12. T. Munsat, C.W. Domier, X. Kong, T. Liang, N.C. Luhmann, Jr., B.J. Tobias, W. Lee, H.K. Park, G. Yun, I.G.J. Classen, and A.J.H. Donné, “Electron Cyclotron Emission Imaging in Tokamak Plasmas,” Applied Optics 49(19) (2010).
  13. T. Munsat, H.K. Park, I.G.J. Classen, C.W. Domier, A.J.H. Donné, N.C. Luhmann Jr., E. Mazzucato, M.J. van de Pol, and the TEXTOR team, “Localization of the magnetic reconnection zone during sawtooth crashes in tokamak plasmas,” Nuclear Fusion 47(11) L31-L35 (2007).
  14. T. Munsat and S.J. Zweben, “Derivation of time-dependent two-dimensional velocity field maps for plasma turbulence studies,” Review of Scientific Instruments 77(10) 103501:1-13 (2006).
  15. H.K. Park, N.C. Luhmann, Jr., A.J.H. Donné, I.G.J. Classen, C.W. Domier, E. Mazzucato, T. Munsat, M.J. van de Pol, Z. Xia, and the TEXTOR team, “Observation of high-field-side crash and heat transfer during sawtooth oscillation in magnetically confined plasmas,” Physical Review Letters 96(19) 195003:1-4 (2006).
  16. T. Munsat, E. Mazzucato, H. Park, B.H. Deng, C.W. Domier, N.C. Luhmann Jr., J. Wang, Z.G. Xia, A.J.H. Donné, and M. van de Pol, “Microwave Imaging Reflectometer for TEXTOR (invited),” Review of Scientific Instruments 74(3) 1426-1432 (2003).