GPS Jammer Detection, Localization, and Mitigation using Automatic Gain Control

  • Student Recipient: Ryan Blay, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Dennis Akos
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of my project is to use automatic gain control from GPS/GNSS receivers to detect, localize, and then mitigate signal jamming. Signal jamming happens often, whether it be from personal privacy devices that truck drivers use or malevolent jamming events against airports. This is very important to ensure reliable GPS communication which many people depend on. For example, aircraft need reliable location data continuously and the military depends on it. By detecting it, we would at the very least know not to trust the data. However, by localizing and mitigating the jamming device, jamming would become harder to deploy.

Data analysis of DPOAE Mapping as an In-Flight Measure of Intracranial Pressure in Space

  • Student Recipient: Keith Covington, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Allison Anderson
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Many astronauts, when exposed to prolonged microgravity, suffer visual impairment—suspected to be caused by increased intracranial pressure due to the redistribution of bodily fluids during spaceflight. Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to measure intracranial pressure in space. With long duration human spaceflight in the near future, it’s vital that this subject is further researched to understand and eventually prevent this visual impairment for the sake of future and current astronauts. Understanding is the first step, hence the goal of this project: this project aims to practically obtain intracranial pressure data via mapping distortion product otoacoustic emissions from the inner ear.

Space Suit Protective Devices and Force Distribution

  • Student Recipient: Kayla Gehring, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Allison Anderson
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The student will create synthetic testing substrates to mimic joints or sections of the body (e.g., thigh bone, knee) in order to test load distribution through the analogous body part. This project fits into the mentor’s larger space suit project, which aims to understand pressure points caused by wearing the space suit that may cause injury and discomfort. Protective devices (built for use inside the space suit) and padding will be laid over the simulated joints, and the student will test load distribution by way of a compression machine, aided by force detectors imbedded throughout the “muscle tissue.”

Mechanical Counter-Pressure Spacesuits

  • Student Recipient: Andrew Kerr, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Allison Anderson
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The project seeks to create the foundations of the next generation spacesuit. Utilizing mechanical pressure instead of gas pressure in a EVA suit will enable greater human access and habitation of space, and allow for the colonization of Mars and other planets. This project will be focused on creating testable hardware for a prototype MCP Spacesuit, and testing the hardware in a vacuum chamber, with the end goal of working hardware and a workable full suit architecture, with the primary challenges of a counterpressure design addressed and overcome.

Effect of Intracranial Pressure on Microgravity Ocular Syndrome

  • Student Recipient: Sevi Senavinin, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Allison Anderson
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Astronauts that return from long duration spaceflights experience globe flattening, which produces refractive visual changes, a condition called 'microgravity ocular syndrome'. This project aims to understand the effects of both gravitational changes and fluid shifts on the eye and cerebrovascular hemodynamics. This can help the research team understand how visual changes occur, and create necessary equipment to prevent harmful conditions from occurring for future astronauts.

Joint Angle Measurement of Spacesuit User for Quantification and Prevention of Crewmember Injury During Extravehicular Activity

  • Student Recipient: Shaylah Wood, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Allison Anderson
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Currently, working in extravehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits carries a relatively high risk of injury for crewmembers, with some injuries sustained being chronic, cumulative, and in time, requiring surgery in many cases. The research team is working to create a sensor system capable of quantifying the kinematics and dynamics of human-spacesuit interactions over nearly the entire body. Careful study of these interactions, characterized by force and joint angle measurements, will provide insight into how injuries happen within a spacesuit, allowing designers to develop safer spacesuits. Safe EVA is mission enabling for future planetary exploration missions.

Development and Validation of a Tactor Belt to Improve Standing Balance Performance

  • Student Recipient: Carson Brumley, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of the project is to develop and test a wearable belt that assists people with vestibular disorders by providing tactile cues that aid in the perception of vertical posture. Most vestibular disorders arise from disease, injury and old age causing people to take fatal falls every year. Astronauts returning to a gravity-rich environment such as Earth or Mars experience similar vestibular dysfunction due to sensorimotor adaptations that occur during orbital or interplanetary flight. A local company is currently designing the belt, and for this project, I would complete the testing and verification phase of the prototype belt design.

Development and Evaluation of a Novel Achievability Limit Display for Crewed Planetary Landing

  • Student Recipient: Elliott Davis, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate a display interface that will assist astronauts during landing on the Lunar or Martian surface. Human subject testing will be used to evaluate the most effective implementation for this display. When landing astronauts must identify a suitable landing site based on terrain, scientific interests, safety, etc. Specifically, the display will provide information, in real-time, regarding the “achievable” landing areas with the remaining amount of fuel. We aim for the display interface to reduce workload, increase situation awareness, and improve landing and flight performance during this critical mission phase.

Effects of Rotationally Simulated Gravity on Plant Growth and Behavior

  • Student Recipient: Justin Fay, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Microgravity is one of the many challenges facing long distance human spaceflight today. The most commonly proposed solution is constructing a toroidal spacecraft capable of rotating to produce artificial gravity. It’s very likely that plants will fly along with humans on these vessels. The purpose of our project is to study the effects of rotationally simulated gravity on plant growth, reproduction, and general usefulness to sustainable human spaceflight. This research will contribute to the development of long term manned space missions.

Determining human retention of the resistance to spin rates in a simulated micro-gravity.

  • Student Recipient: Marcos Mejia, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The objective of this project is to determine if humans can build and retain a tolerance to the Cross Coupled Illusion (CCI), which is an effect to the vestibular system that causes nausea and disorientation after a human has been in a centrifuge and moves their head out of axis of rotation. The human would be in a centrifuge because it simulates artificial gravity and counteracts some of the medical issues astronauts face in space. If a human is able to retain tolerance to the CCI at higher spin rates then longer space flight duration could be possible.

Long Term Human Adaptive Capabilities to The Cross-Coupled Illusion

  • Student Recipient: Thomas Mitchell, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: For humans to reach further into space it’s necessary to combat the effects of physiological deconditioning caused by prolonged exposure to micro-gravity. A promising method to accomplish this is through the use of a centrifuge to produce artificial gravity via centripetal acceleration. This however creates what’s called the cross-coupled illusion, which occurs when the semicircular canals within the inner ear misinterpret head movement during constant rotation, and cause an illusory spinning sensation. This project aims to gain insight into the long term adaptability of humans to this illusion and contribute more information to the pursuit of longer duration space missions.

Predicting Individual Differences In Cross-Coupled Adaptation

  • Student Recipient: Varun Seth, Neuroscience
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My project's objective is to observe and predict individual differences in cross-coupled adaptation. In past testing, there has been a vast distribution in data as to what extent people can adapt to the cross-coupled effect. I aim to find why certain people adapt to the cross-coupled effect faster than others, and if there are any identifiable reasons. This project highlights how long and to what extent future astronauts could adapt to the cross-coupled effect. This value will help determine the design for a centrifugal spacecraft that could be used to create artificial gravity for long duration missions.

Achievability Limit Display for Piloted Planetary Landing

  • Student Recipient: Edward Zuzula, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Torin Clark
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Planetary landing is a critical phase in a space mission, and any miscue can result in a failure of the mission. The project goal is to develop an achievability limit display that will display an achievable closed curve that will inform the pilot of the remaining locations they can safely land without running out of fuel. I will be working on the development of the algorithm that will simulate the dynamics of the flight and calculate the closed curve of achievable landing locations. The ALD will help aid pilot decisions, increase mission safety, and minimize the risk involved in landing.

Developing Improved Turbulence Models For Complex Flow Problems

  • Student Recipient: Ryan Aronson, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Evans
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The modeling of turbulent flows is ubiquitous throughout engineering and science applications. Currently, large eddy simulations are used to model turbulence, but these have serious shortcomings and are not able to accurately model flows with characteristics such as transition. The goal of the mentor’s project is to develop new models that can more accurately model complex turbulent flows. To validate these models they will be applied to a Taylor-Couette flow, which features rotation. If these models are confirmed to be more accurate than existing models it would obviously benefit anyone who has a need for accurate models of complex flows.

Design Space Exploration

  • Student Recipient: Lucas Calvert, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Evans
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of this design space exploration project is to create a robust software package that can be added to existing computer aided design software packages to aid in early stage design, by quickly and efficiently approximating the solution to systems of partial differential equations (like those of structural mechanics and heat transfer). The use of an isogeometric analysis framework allows for real-time exploration and visualization of the full-system response. This methodology will greatly benefit engineers in the early-stage design phase by providing an efficient means to understand and control the effect of geometric variation on system response.

Advanced Discretization Methods for Magnetohydrodynamics

  • Student Recipient: Thad Gleason, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Evans
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is the study of magnetically and electrically conducting fluids. It applies to a diverse range of fluids, from liquid metals to space plasmas. In order to simulate such fluids, one must solve for both the fluid flow as well as the magnetic field. This project would focus on extending the work being done in hybridized discontinuous Galerkin (HDG) methods to include MHD. By leveraging a structure preserving higher order numerical method we can seek to improve upon state of the art MHD methods by making them more accurate, more efficient, and more robust.

Geometrically Exact Mesh Generation for Finite Element Analysis

  • Student Recipient: Nicholas Moore, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Evans
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: An important part of engineering design process is to generate a mesh for numerical simulation from a given Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. The purpose of the mentor’s project is to use technologies from isogeometric analysis to create geometrically exact meshes for Finite Element Analysis (FEA). The goal of this project is to simultaneously improve the accuracy and computational cost of FEA and enable streamlined shape optimization. Those who stand to benefit are those who use FEA to solve engineering problems such as fluid dynamics, structural analysis, and electromagnetic problems.

Development of Separated Three-Dimensional Flow over Control Surfaces on a Swept Wing.

  • Student Recipient: Jose Cardenas Abedrop, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Farnsworth
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of this research project is to better understand the three-dimensional development of separated flow over control surfaces, like flaps and rudders, on swept wing surfaces. This research will help guide future research focused on finding novel methods for re-attaching these separated flows utilizing various aerodynamic flow control techniques. Wing flaps and rudders are commonly used for aircraft flight control, however deflecting these surfaces at high angles can cause flow separation, reducing the lift, or lateral force produced, and increasing the drag on the vehicle.

Continuation of Sweeping Jet Actuator Research

  • Student Recipient: Karston Christensen, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Farnsworth
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: This project aims to replicate the research done by others regarding sweeping jet actuators so that sweeping jet actuators can be added to the arsenal of flow devices being tested in the lab. It is a continuation of "Sweeping Jet Actuator Research Initiation", another project which I applied for over the Summer. Other flow activation devices are being researched by the lab. Although other groups have explored a single type of flow control actuator, there has not been a great deal of rigorous and high-quality research done at any one lab directly comparing different flow control devices to each other.

Low speed unsteady flow modeling

  • Student Recipient: Emanuele Costantino, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Farnsworth
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The overall purpose of the research is to test a two-dimensional NACA 0015 airfoil section in an unsteady, periodic freestream velocity and compare our results to those of other researchers (Strangfeld JFM 2016) and to the basic theory proposed by Theodorsen. Our goal is to better understand influence of amplitude, frequency, angle of attack, and other parameters on the aerodynamic performance. This research will help improve the control of small aircraft in low speed unsteady situations, such as drones encountering gusts in the atmosphere. As a result, future small unmanned vehicle designs could greatly benefit from this research.

Skywalker X-8 Wind Tunnel Model for Static Pressure-Based Relative Wind Estimation

  • Student Recipient: Grant Dunbar, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Farnsworth
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of my project is to design, construct, and test a wind tunnel model of a Skywalker X-8 sUAV. The model will be equipped with a set of static pressure ports for the purpose of determining the relative wind angle, composed of both angle of attack and sideslip angle. The data collected with the model in the wind tunnel will be compared to flight test data from missions flown by the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV). The end goal is to be able to predict the behavior of RECUV’s X-8 aircraft in flight.

Investigation of vortex pairing in round orifice synthetic jets

  • Student Recipient: Yuma Yagi, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Farnsworth
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objective of this research is to determine whether vortex pairing, predicted by a low-order inviscid simulation, occurs in a synthetic jet and if so at what operating conditions. If this does occur, it would change the way that researchers collect and analyze experimental data associated with synthetic jets. Ultimately, the result of this phenomena would influence how synthetic jets are utilized in several industrial applications in the future. Specifically, the application of synthetic jets on airfoils has been shown to delay flow separation and stall, which increase the efficiency of the airfoil.

CU Design Build Fly

  • Student Recipient: Donald Palomino, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Donna Gerren
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The project is to design an RC aircraft within a set of given requirements to participate in a yearly competition. Over a hundred universities across the world come to participate in it. The requirements vary each competition, which encourage new and innovative designs. Additionally, a preliminary design proposal and technical report are required for participation. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in aerospace engineering participate in the university's team. The project encourages problem solving, applying concepts learned in the classroom, and building team skills, all of which are skills necessary to succeed in the engineering industry.

CAT Scan to Finite Element Analysis Facilitation

  • Student Recipient: Jacob Vendl, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Kurt Maute
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My purpose of my project is to establish an avenue for CAT scan data to be translated into three-dimensional positional coordinates so that the contents of the scan can be identified and a finite element analysis can be performed on them. The larger project which this is embedded is the mentor's continued research into applications of finite element analysis (FEM). The project is relevant to my undergraduate education because FEM is an extremely common engineering tool that I would be able to use for a senior project. I stand to benefit by gaining realistic experience with the FEM program.

Closed-Loop Algal Oxygen Production in Low Pressure and Variable Environments for Life Support Systems

  • Student Recipient: Ryan Wall, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: James Nabity
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The focus of this project is to explore the viability of algal photobioreactor systems in space exploration atmosphere (8.2 psia, 34% oxygen). This project will deal with the development and testing of an algal photobioreactor system that allows for testing algal oxygen production, metabolism, and growth rates while in space exploration atmosphere. This project aims to add literature to a previously unknown system to hopefully promote the viability of bio-regenerative life support systems for use on future human space flight missions. The results of this project will benefit those interested in developing or pursuing environmental control and life support systems.

Smart Adaptive Thermal Interface Design Using Machine Learning Methods

  • Student Recipient: Lee Huynh, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Sanghamitra Neogi
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This project is to develop machine learning methods to enable efficient discovery of new smart materials, focusing on materials with novel thermal properties. In 2015, NASA identified thermal management technologies as a critical component for future space missions. Effective thermal management systems would be able to maintain temperatures of sensors, components, instruments, spacecraft, or space facilities regardless of the environment or thermal loads from operations. This project will develop machine learning methods to investigate sintered silver nanoparticles as an effective thermal interface material. Additionally, this project will lay a foundation for using machine learning processes to discover new materials.

Characterizing the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases: Public Health Databases vs Google Trends Model

  • Student Recipient: Christopher Arehart, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Vanja Dukic
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This study examines the utility of internet protocol (IP) as a tool in disease surveillance. In a previous UROP (2016), I used Google Trends data to compare the spread of pertussis with interpolated CDC data and then modeled disease counts for individual states. A major effort involved reconciling discrepancies in Google Trends data and in CDC databases. The next steps are to use these data to further develop the state models to consider the role of demographic factors (e.g. household income), testing the model on different diseases (e.g. mumps), and writing a manuscript to submit for peer review.

Neptune Upper Atmosphere Heating

  • Student Recipient: Carlos Bicas, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Benjamin Brown
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My goal for this project is to understand why it is that Neptune has an unusually hot upper atmosphere, especially given that it is very far from the Sun. I will analyze a phenomenon called gravity wave dissipation, which might be the cause of this heating. My research will connect to current research and analysis of gas giants in the APS department at CU Boulder. It will help atmospheric scientists in the department understand how gravity wave damping and breaking works in the Neptunian atmosphere, and also may be applicable to exoplanets known as Mini-Neptunes.

Computational Modeling of MHD Shocks: An Analysis of Psuedo-Spectral vs. Finite Difference Methods

  • Student Recipient: Christopher Panella, Physics / Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Benjamin Brown
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Computational modeling of fluid is critical to many areas of astrophysics, and a number of software frameworks have been developed for implementing mathematical models of fluids. Dedalus is an open-source simulation framework that is relatively unique in that it employs pseudo-spectral decomposition methods instead of the more common finite-difference algorithms. I plan on leveraging Dedalus to look for differences between simulation techniques, specifically in plasma shock-waves. Discovery and characterization of any discrepancies between approaches to plasma simulation will be essential in designing new schemes to more accurately capture shocks in astrophysical simulations

Non-linear Internal Gravity Waves Numerical Simulation

  • Student Recipient: Yun Wen, Physics / Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Benjamin Brown
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Our research studies internal gravity waves in the atmosphere of the sun. We are trying to find out how there waves transport energy in the atmosphere. Our research are theoretical, based on both analytics method and computer to make nonlinear simulation. This program will help explain why the chromosphere of the sun is hotter than the surface.

Galactic winds through an inhomogeneous medium

  • Student Recipient: Jacob Moss, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Shull
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Our goal is to develop a model that describes the kinematics of Galactic Winds by considering the ram pressure of the outflows, the confining pressure of the gas outside the disk (CGM) and the effects of a cloud distribution in this area. This will help describe the largescale movement of gas in the galaxies where winds are prevalent, which may lead to insights into, the evolution of galaxies, the structure of the CGM, and metal concentrations inside/outside galactic disks. All above information will be useful to galactic astronomers and may alter the textbook picture of the extent of galaxies.

Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Ocean Acidification

  • Student Recipient: Abigayle Clabaugh, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Kristopher Karnauskas
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is a project composed of science-driven platforms and sensor systems deployed across several regions of the world ocean. By tracking the physical, chemical, geological and biological properties from the seafloor to the air-sea interface, the OOI project now enables scientists around the world an unprecedented opportunity to study ocean processes. The student’s project will utilize the vast data streaming from the OOI project to develop empirical models that quantify and predict effects of climate change on ocean acidification. It is crucial that ongoing environmental changes due to climate change are quantified to inform policy decisions.

The Future of Our Heartland

  • Student Recipient: Lucy Rieves, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Kay
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The objective of this project is to study how the U.S. farming industry will interact with and be affected by a changing climate. Through interviews and climate model generated predictions, an article relaying successful practices for efficient resource use and what type of conditions to suspect will be written and published for the farming community. This will hopefully help farmers mitigate a shocking crop loss such as the estimated $30 billion hit the agricultural sector took due to the 2012 drought.

Power Spectra of LIDAR Measurements in and out of Wind Turbine Wakes

  • Student Recipient: Patrick Murphy, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences / Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Julie Lundquist
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of the project is to better understand the effect that wind turbines have on the downstream atmosphere. The turbines create wakes that affect the flow of the air that travels through them. We want to study these wake effects, particularly the creation and propagation of turbulence. We believe that these turbulent wakes may affect the downstream environment and plant growth there. To conduct the analysis, I will create power spectra for different atmospheric stratification conditions upstream and downstream of the wind turbines. I will use LIDAR data already gathered by my mentor's team.

A Study of Dark Matter Halos around Evolving Galaxies in the Very Early Universe

  • Student Recipient: Ezra Huscher, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Ben Oppenheimer
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Dr. Mentor has conducted extensive research simulating the formation of galaxies within the last few billion years, analyzing the gas and dark matter abundance in the surrounding environments. My objective is to continue this work with further hydrodynamic simulations, but instead focusing on galactic formation 10+ billion years in the past. These galaxies would have evolved much differently, as the Universe was more dense and new stars formed more easily. Comparing these two types of galaxy formation will provide cosmologists a better understanding of unexplained astronomical observations, and provide clues to understanding dark matter’s role in our Universe.

Motivating observations of gas flows with state-of-the-art simulations

  • Student Recipient: Conor Evans, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Benjamin Oppenheimer
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: My project is based around creating light emission maps that will be used by many astrophysicists currently and in the future. I am helping my mentor to make these maps that will be used for many satellite and observing proposals such as the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) space telescope and the Keck Telescope in Hawaii. A central reason for these simulations is to comprehend how different types of gases flow in and out of galaxies. We plan to use this project to understand how galaxies assemble out of the primordial building blocks of giant gas reservoirs.

Using APOGEE Data to Analyze Exotic Emission Line Stars

  • Student Recipient: Andrew Boyle, Astrophysics / Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to evaluate high-resolution near-infrared spectra taken by the APOGEE spectrograph used by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Spectra need to be plotted and assessed to start, and interesting objects of certain classes of interest are then categorized for further study. Techniques to be learned include measuring radial velocities of absorption and emission lines, measuring equivalent widths of the lines, and identifying the lines to their elemental species. Learning these techniques will be the focus during the summer. Application to a larger data set and investigating the physics will occur during academic year.

Using APOGEE Data to Analyze Exotic Emission Line Stars

  • Student Recipient: Andrew Boyle, Astrophysics / Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to explore previously unanalyzed data taken by the APOGEE spectrograph used by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This data will be analyzed to categorize and determine the stellar parameters of exotic astronomical objects. From these parameters, the scientific community will gain insight into the physics occurring in these exotic objects. This project is situated within my mentor's ongoing project of observing stellar objects using ARCSAT at Apache Point Observatory. The purpose of the larger project is to gather data on interesting astronomical objects while helping undergraduates learn how to take meaningful observations.

Observation and Data reduction on Stellar variability

  • Student Recipient: Suphawit Duangphumek, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: My mentor's research involves understanding the physics underpinning stellar variability by obtaining repeated observations of the stars. Some physical origins of stellar variability manifest signatures on short time scales (weeks to months), while others involve time scales of years, requiring and creating large datasets. I will learn how to perform observations on remote operable telescopes, and how to reduce the data taken to prepare it for scientific analysis; the goals of the Summer-2017 UROP. I will hone these skills by continuing observing and data reduction in a subsequent academic year UROP, positioning me as a valuable ongoing research assistant.

Photometric and Spectroscopic Variability of Young Stars

  • Student Recipient: Raman Mukundan, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: In anticipation of data from the Kepler/K2 campaign that will take place from March 8 through May 27 in 2017, mentor has obtained photometric and spectroscopic data from the 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory, New Mexico for young variable stars. Student will work to calibrate and correct the APO 3.5m data so that it is rendered scientifically useful and can later complement data from the Kepler space telescope to provide valuable information about how these young stars are forming. During this process, student will develop knowledge of fundamental aspects of observational astronomy research.

Photometric and Spectroscopic Variability of Young Stars

  • Student Recipient: Raman Mukundan, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: In anticipation of the coordinated ground- and space-based Kepler/K2 campaign that will take place in March 8 through May 27 in 2017, mentor has obtained photometric and spectroscopic data from the APO 3.5 meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory, New Mexico for young variable stars. Student will work to combine APO data with the reduced data from the Kepler space telescope to provide valuable information about how these young stars are forming through analysis of potential phenomena such as periodicity in their variability. During this process, student will develop knowledge of fundamental aspects of observational astronomy research.

Observation and Photometric Analysis of Star-Forming Regions

  • Student Recipient: Sara Reitz, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: This project will explore the astronomical properties of select star-forming regions. The student will take images of select star-forming regions with a 0.5-m telescope. This data will be processed and analyzed to determine the regions' fluxes, and measurements taken over the course of the past few years will be assessed for time-variance. This builds a comprehensive picture of the way these star-forming regions vary with time, and this information contributes to a larger picture of stellar formation and evolution.

Transient Star Time Variability Study in Near-Infrared – Summer 2017

  • Student Recipient: Samuel Settlage, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My mentor studies stars which undergo changes on time scales ranging from days to years. My mentor has raw IR data stretching back a number of years from multiple highly-regarded IR telescopes around the world. This data needs to be reduced to yield scientifically useful information. My goal is to investigate how to carry out the reduction of these data sets and to extract photometry from near-infrared images. Reduction of the large amount of data and learning how to extract the science information is an extended process that will take the summer to learn, and the academic year to apply.

Transient Star Time Variability Study in Near-Infrared – Fall 2017

  • Student Recipient: Samuel Settlage, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Guy Stringfellow
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My mentor studies stars which undergo changes on time scales ranging from days to years. My mentor has raw IR data stretching back a number of years from multiple highly-regarded IR telescopes around the world. This data needs to be reduced to yield scientifically useful information. After hopefully getting the Summer grant, I will have reduced the multiple data sets that my mentor has. I will use that data to construct time-series light curves for objects of interest and attempt to explain their features. I will draw heavily on published research from other scientists in my analysis.

Developing a non-surgical nanotherapy for AVS

  • Student Recipient: Michaela Wenning, Chemical and Biological Engineering / Biochemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Kristi Anseth
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objective is to find a non-surgical treatment for aortic valve stenosis (AVS). AVS affects more than 2% of adults over 65, and surgical replacements are not always an option due to the age of the patients or the risks associated with surgery. We seek to develop a non-surgical therapeutic using nanoparticles to slow or reverse AVS progression in these patients. We hypothesize that nanoparticles of varying stiffness can manipulate the diseased valvular cell phenotype back to a healthy state. We seek to test the effects of nanoparticle stiffness on valvular cell phenotype in vitro.

Developing a non-surgical nanotherapy for AVS

  • Student Recipient: Michaela Wenning, Chemical and Biological Engineering / Biochemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Kristi Anseth
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objective is to find a non-surgical treatment for aortic valve stenosis (AVS). AVS affects more than 2% of adults over 65, and surgical replacements are not always an option due to the age of the patients or the risks associated with surgery. We seek to develop a non-surgical therapeutic using nanoparticles to slow or reverse AVS progression in these patients. We hypothesize that nanoparticles of varying stiffness can manipulate the diseased valvular cell phenotype back to a healthy state. We seek to test the effects of nanoparticle stiffness on valvular cell phenotype in vitro.

Synthesis and Assembly of Click Nucleic Acid Containing PEG-PLGA Nanoparticles for DNA Delivery

  • Student Recipient: Xilal Rima, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Cha
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objective behind my mentor’s project is finding a novel way to deliver chemotherapy drugs to cancerous cells by overcoming the cancerous cells’ ability to resist drugs. Although the PEG-PLGA copolymer has been successfully used in the delivery of chemotherapy drugs, they have not been as successful in binding to DNA, since these drugs are often hydrophobic and DNA is hydrophilic. My mentor’s novel approach is to incorporate CNA (click nucleic acids), a synthetic form of DNA, to the copolymer. This will allow for the drug to both be delivered and overcome the cell’s resistance to drugs.

Realistic Modelling of Calcium Silicate Hydrate

  • Student Recipient: Darice Guittet, Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Hendrik Heinz
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Cement production is energetically expensive and accounts for 5-7% of global carbon dioxide production. In order to reduce the environmental burden, supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) can be added to prepare a blend that contains less calcium oxide content, obtained from the dissociation of limestone, the major source of CO2. However, SCMs complicate the hydration process, thus subsequent use of admixtures becomes essential. The goal of this project is to build a virtual realistic all-atoms model of calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) in order to understand its interactions with such additives. This study will allow more control over cement/concrete properties.

Dynamics and Interactions of PMMA and CNT Bundles in Solvated Systems

  • Student Recipient: Marcus Sharp, Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Hendrik Heinz
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Reinforced carbon nanotube (CNT) composites exhibit desirable mechanical, thermal and electronic properties which are highly useful in aerospace and commodity applications. The difficulty in optimizing the composite properties is the debundling of CNT’s in the polymer matrix. The mentor’s project aims to understanding the mechanisms resulting in CNT debundling using polymer chains of poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA). Molecular and multiscale computer simulations will be used to understand the conditions in which these polymers are able to separate bundles of CNT’s. The results will assist experimental collaborators in selecting materials and procedures to create high strength and light weight carbon materials.

Understanding Trends in Oxygen Reduction Reaction on Cubic Perovskites

  • Student Recipient: Matthew Jankousky, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Charles Musgrave
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are a promising technology for renewable electricity generation, but their practical application has been limited by high operating temperatures. The need for high temperatures has been attributed to the energy required for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), occurring at the cathode of the fuel cell. We will use quantum chemistry to calculate the ORR mechanism to gain a fundamental understanding of the most influential material properties. From these calculations, we will develop a set of principles that will enable the rational design of improved low-temperature SOFC cathode materials.

A Standard Test Set for Computational Materials Science

  • Student Recipient: Jay Saunders, Chemical Engineering / Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Charles Musgrave
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Recent work in the field of computational materials science has demonstrated the ability to predict intrinsic material properties using models developed from data mining and machine learning. Although they have proven their significance, further progress can only be made if a standard for model development and comparison is established. Model performance is commonly assessed with respect to an excluded ‘test set’ of compounds, but this set is often arbitrarily chosen. To streamline future model development in this field, we propose to develop a standard test set, a subset of materials and their properties, that is statistically representative of all materials.

Improving molecular simulation and computational property prediction

  • Student Recipient: Megan Becker, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Shirts
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Our research project is to understand the chemical interactions that result in structural plasticity in flexible protein-peptide binding systems. We will use accelerated molecular dynamics techniques to improve conformational sampling, utilizing the GROMACS simulation software and the Summit supercomputer. We will predict the binding conformations of these complex systems using these techniques, something unattainable using standard approaches. We will focus on investigating the PLC1 SH2 domain and its multiple binding partners, which the Wuttke group (CU Biochemistry) has experimentally shown exhibits structural plasticity. This will improve our understanding of molecular recognition events that are of clinical significance.

Understanding and predicting thermodynamics of crystalline solids

  • Student Recipient: Marcus Hock, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Shirts
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: My project focuses on utilizing various computations models to more effectively predict thermodynamically favorable crystal structures (polymorphs) of small organic molecules. Currently, the research group has focused on organic polymorphs with less than 60 atoms/molecule. Pharmaceutical molecules of interest contain up to 150 atoms/molecule, and better predictions of these polymorphs will reduce cost and simplify the FDA approval process. Therefore, I will investigate polymorphs with 60-100 atoms/molecule over the summer, using the group’s current methods. I will test the accuracy of several approximations for polymorph stability developed in the group for these bigger molecules.

Solar Thermal Splitting of Water

  • Student Recipient: Iryna Androshchuk, Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Alan Weimer
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: An ideal redox material (which drives the process) to split water using concentrated sunlight has not yet been developed. Hence, this project has the goal of developing new spinel and perovskite metal oxide materials (Ph.D. student supervisor) having ideal thermodynamic, kinetic, and long-term reactivity. The UROP student will synthesize materials using a citrate gel process, characterize the materials using XRD, BET, ICP, and SEM, and test materials in a well-instrumented stagnation flow reactor at CU to measure hydrogen production capacity and reaction rates; and work with the Ph.D. student to develop reaction rate expressions for both oxidation and reduction steps.

3D Printing Using High Thermal Conductivity Particle ALD Materials

  • Student Recipient: Alexa Horrell, Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Alan Weimer
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of the project is to use atomic layer deposition (ALD) to coat aluminum nitride (AlN) particles with yttrium oxide sintering aid, to synthesize a colloidal gel using these coated particles, and to 3D print an optimized UV-LED heat sink from the gel, which is then fired into a dense part and tested for heat transfer. AlN is highly thermally conductive, is an electrical insulator and is unaffected structurally by UV light. The benefit of the project is to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of UV-LED lighting through effective heat removal and minimized AlN use (part design).

Atomic Layer Deposition for the Synthesis of Novel Fuel Cell Catalyst

  • Student Recipient: Audrey Linico, Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Alan Weimer
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The project is concerned with making lower cost, but highly active Pt/Ni catalyst for fuel cell electrodes. Cost is reduced by making an alloy of Pt with Ni which is deposited as small catalyst nanoparticles (larger surface area per volume using less Pt based on particle size - catalytic activity is dictated by metal surface area) by atomic layer deposition (ALD). Catalyst cost will also be reduced if we can prevent catalyst deactivation by depositing an ALD TiO2 film which will reduce sintering of the metal nanoparticles together during fuel cell operation. Synthesis, testing and characterization will be at CU.

Atomic Layer Etching of Silicon Nitride

  • Student Recipient: Anand Ode, Chemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Steven George
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The main objective of the project I will be assisting with is performing atomic layer etching of silicon nitride using trimethyl aluminum and hydrogen fluoride. This allows for the thickness of the surface to be precisely controlled on the atomic layer. The end goal of the project is to perfect this process. At this time, this process is used in the miniaturization of semiconductor construction. However, since this is still a relatively new technique, not all of its applications are yet known.

Bulky Metal Acetylacetonates and Applications

  • Student Recipient: Sebastian Krajewski, Chemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Marshak
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The goal of this project is to synthesize, characterize, and explore the novel properties of new metal acetylacetonate complexes. In particular, this project will focus on the usage of especially bulky ligands, which can allow for the formation of new monomeric/Lewis acidic complexes. These complexes have promising applications to catalysis, such as the enabling of mechanistic studies, the isolation of reactive intermediates, and the functionalization of various transition metals.

Application of Benzyne in the Synthesis of Biphenyls in Sterically Hindered B-Diketonate Ligands

  • Student Recipient: Logan Schwanz, Biochemistry / Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Marshak
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to develop a benzyne-based alternative to Suzuki Cross-Coupling in the synthesis of biphenyls in sterically hindered β-Diketonate ligand production. Using this alternative would be a cheaper and safer alternative to the Suzuki Cross-Coupling reaction. Also, by extension, the synthesis of sterically-hindered β-diketonate ligands would also be optimized, for they would be able to be performed with less cost or risk to health. In the short term, researchers stand to benefit from the optimized process. In the long term, the aid to develop new catalysts will lead to new, cheaper, more efficient and safe reactions.

Anthraquinone Fuel Cell

  • Student Recipient: Hadley Tallackson, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Marshak
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: This research focuses on improving fuel cells so they can be prevalent in industry, providing sustainable electricity. Using the properties of anthraquinones addresses many current problems. Fuel cells typically require an external fuel processor and a catalyst to provide H2 and initiate the reaction, respectively. Anthraquinones can extract H2 from biomass supplied by plant agricultural waste without the use of a catalyst. Anthraquinones can be a redox mediator with almost any electrode, allowing for use of less expensive materials. Additionally, this system requires only two phases of state in the fuel cell instead of the typical three, reducing manufacturing hurdles.

Investigating other heavy metals as alternatives to other OLED emitters.

  • Student Recipient: Niamh Brown, Chemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Micheal Marshak
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) are useful for digital displays, but currently the organic semiconductor utilizes an expensive and toxic metal- Iridium. The purpose of this project is to add ligands to Bismuth, a cheaper, less toxic element to see if these new combinations will be able to emit in the visible range. Future goals of the project will be to explore other transition metals to see if they will be able to emit in the visible range. OLEDs will allow future displays to be thinner and more flexible with better quality images, power efficiency and response times.

Design of Advanced Materials using Organocatalyzed Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization in a Continuous Flow Reactor

  • Student Recipient: Logan Beck, Chemistry / Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Garret Miyake
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The goal of the proposed project is to synthesize functional complex polymeric architectures using organocatalyzed atom transfer radical polymerization (O-ATRP) in a continuous flow reactor (CFR). O-ATRP allows for control over molecular weight, polymer compositions, and chain-end groups while eliminating metal toxicity in the polymer product. Previous investigation developed O-ATRP as a robust system for synthesis of simple homopolymers using a CFR, allowing scalability, control of molecular weight, and application to industrial uses. O-ATRP has not yet been applied to the synthesis of complex polymeric architectures, which have applications in industry, medicine, and computer technology.

Liquid Crystal Research

  • Student Recipient: Joseph Klecker, Biochemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: David Walba
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of my research will focus on exploring different structure property relationships of liquid crystals. On the liquid crystal itself I will focus on the different properties of changing the structure of one of the tails. The liquid crystals I will work with are in phase, SMAPf, which is a brand-new phase published in science in 2011. Potential applications of this liquid crystal are in television and 3D holographic displays. A specific area of interest is making this liquid crystal stable at a wide enough temperature range to be used in commercial products.

Convergent Total Synthesis of Potent Thiopeptide Antibiotics; Lactocillin, Micrococcin P1, and Thiocillin

  • Student Recipient: Wyatt Powell, Chemistry / Biochemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Maciej Walczak
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This project objective is to develop a convergent synthetic strategy for preparing three naturally occurring thiopeptide antibiotics; lactocillin, micrococcin p1, and thiocillin. This research objective contributes to a larger project that aims to develop new antibiotics by studying the biology of the three targets, so additional therapeutically useful analogues can be generated using the convergent synthetic strategy. This proposed project is responding to an increasing need for investigation of new antibiotics as antibiotic-resistant bacteria are rapidly emerging, threatening millions of people worldwide.

Efficient Synthesis of Antimicrobial Drugs

  • Student Recipient: Kenneth Wilson, Chemistry
  • Faculty Mentor: Maciej Walczak
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The overarching objective of this project is to develop new methods to efficiently synthesize antimicrobial molecules from inexpensive, commercially available materials. New catalysts, reagents and reaction conditions will be screened to bring about this optimization. As for relevance, the project is of potentially global importance, as bacterial infections that are treatable with antimicrobial drugs are extremely common. Unfortunately, many types of bacteria have developed biological resistance to such drugs. It is my mentor’s vision that the production of these materials could be optimized to the point where the rate of production exceeds the rate of development of resistance.

Activated Carbon and Biochar for Enhanced Direct Membrane Filtration

  • Student Recipient: Evan Valencia, Environmental Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Sherri Cook
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Greywater is water collected from showers and sinks; it can be treated and reused on-site to reduce water demand. This project will research sustainable greywater treatment to promote water recycling and combat water scarcity. Previous studies have found that activated carbon, an adsorbent commonly used for water treatment, can remove pollutants. Biochar is a novel adsorbent with lower costs and environmental advantages (e.g., carbon sequestration) over activated carbon. Therefore, I will test the effectiveness of biochar for greywater treatment. Researching and developing this innovative technology will increase the cost-effectiveness and operational feasibility of greywater reuse and mitigate water scarcity.

Slope Stability of Bridge Site

  • Student Recipient: Katara Ziegler, Engineering Plus
  • Faculty Mentor: Shideh Dashti
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This summer, the student will travel to an isolated, rural community in Bolivia to help the local community build a footbridge with Bridges to Prosperity (B2P). The site is composed primarily of fractured rock and a layer of gravelly soil, a cause of concern for slope stability on the site. Soil type plays an important part of having strong foundations, which leads to a longer lasting and more stable bridge that will serve the Bolivian community. This research will aid future B2P projects by determining the accuracy of assumed design standards in the corporation’s design manual.

UV/LED Applications for Disinfection Of Small Water Systems

  • Student Recipient: Ryan Keliher, Environmental Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Karl Linden
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Controlling potable water quality at the point of entry to aircraft from possible bacterial contamination remains difficult. One viable solution is using a point-of-use water treatment system onboard. The research I will be helping to conduct will involve designing and testing a point-of-use UV/LED water treatment reactor. Commissioned by an aerospace company, the final design will be implemented on aircraft in order to provide clean water for public use in lavatory and galley sinks. Such a system will also help to ensure that U.S airlines meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national potable water quality standards.

Bridges to Prosperity Risk Assessment

  • Student Recipient: Alison Jarvis, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Keith Molenaar
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The objective of this proposal is to assist the organization Bridges to Prosperity in accurately determining the risks associated with the construction of a pedestrian footbridge in Bolivia. A variety of probabilistic schedules will be developed determining potential timelines for completion of the bridge. Data will then be collected concerning the actual timing of the construction process and compared to the predicted timing. This will allow Bridges to Prosperity to control and mitigate risk, maximize resources, and improve safety procedures in future projects. Bridges to Prosperity will be able to update and utilize these schedules for years to come.

Volatile Organic Compound Adsorption Through Air Cleaning Artwork

  • Student Recipient: Adam Nguyen, Architectural Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Lupita Montoya
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are found in many indoor environments, including occupational environments such as nail salons. Currently, VOCs are removed from the indoor air with ventilation systems and activated carbon filters. However, the cost of air cleaning systems, as well as their operation and maintenance can be high. The goal of this project is to develop a ceramic material that contains low-cost adsorbent materials such as biochar and coco coir, which can passively remove VOCs from the air. The ceramic will be incorporated into aesthetically pleasing, artistic designs, meant to appeal to nail salon owners.

Variability in Cement Properties from Different Countries

  • Student Recipient: Madison Philips, Civil Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Wil Srubar
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose is to investigate the chemical variability of cements from developing countries. Our hypothesis is that the cement chemistry may be comprised by inert fillers in countries without strict quality control standards. The quality of foreign cements ultimately affects concrete durability in construction projects abroad. This project is relevant because there are currently several different international projects being conducted with the assumption that the cement being used is of identical quality to cement manufactured in North America. Knowing more about the stated vs. actual (in-field) properties of cements could allow engineers to build safer, lasting infrastructure for developing communities.

Economic Impact of Changing Water Temperatures on Thermoelectric Power Generation Along the Colorado River

  • Student Recipient: Jake Silverman, Mechanical Engineering / Economics
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Walker
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The Colorado River is the source of cooling water for many thermoelectric power plants that provide energy to a large portion of the country. Increasing river water temperatures can have negative impacts on the efficiency and fuel consumption of these plants. The intent of this project is to model the effect that rising river temperatures have on the plant performance along the Colorado River. This model will evaluate the impact of future water temperature, fuel cost and electricity price projections on the economic performance of thermoelectric plants.

Designing a Low-Mass, Low-Cost Particle Detector to Characterize Cosmic Rays in the Stratosphere

  • Student Recipient: Jamie Principato, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Christopher Koehler
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The project objective is the development of a low-mass, low-cost, stratospheric, cosmic ray detector. The detector will characterize particles from cosmic rays according to their energies. The detector will be flown on a high altitude balloon to measure energies of detected particles with changing altitude. Ultimately, the detector will compare cosmic rays detected during the day vs. at night to better understand differences between particles from solar and deep space sources. The development of a low-mass, low-cost cosmic ray detector with these capabilities will greatly increase accessibility of atmospheric and space science for smaller STEM organizations and institutions.

Project Miura

  • Student Recipient: Dawson Beatty, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Brian Sanders
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This project is a large payload that will fly on the NASA Balloon Program Office’s 2017 High Altitude Student Platform. The mission is to prove the viability of reusable, extendable soft-shell structures (SSS) for future space flight. Current designs tend to be single use and are not capable of folding back into the organized and space-efficient form in which they were launched. The project will controllably extend, sustain, and retract a soft-shell structure multiple times while recording and monitoring the process to assess the viability of reusable, collapsible structures for space flight.

Project Miura Soft Structures

  • Student Recipient: Anastasia Muszynski, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Brian Sanders
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The student team will research and develop the materials necessary to construct a soft-sided space module in development for flight on a NASA high altitude balloon. The module operates on a unique origami-based folding design. To develop an effective design and identify a durable material that can withstand repetitive folding in the harsh near space environment, extensive research and materials testing must be conducted. This research will both enable the success of the project team and advance knowledge in the fields of aerospace materials and expandable space structures.

MIURA

  • Student Recipient: Andrew Pfefer, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Brian Sanders
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The project focuses around developing and testing new deployment mechanisms for spacecraft. Specifically, the team’s research will be on a screw drive deployment system. A screw drive is a threaded rod which allows movement up and down the rod. The objective is to test the effectiveness of extendable and retractable, multi-use soft shell structures, for which the screw drive is the main component. The development of these new mechanisms can help benefit the aerospace industry by allowing companies to reuse materials, improving cost efficiency and reducing environmental impacts.

Wireless Source Localization

  • Student Recipient: Aaron Park, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Nikolaus Correll
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: By integrating sensors and microcontrollers into a material sheet, the project aims to detect interactions between the material and the exterior world. The microcontrollers will decipher the details of the interaction, including location, frequency, and sensation through the use of a machine learning algorithm. Communication and powering of the microcontrollers will be wireless. Successful execution of the detection and communication aspect of the project will benefit numerous industries and technologies, including motor vehicles, manufacturing/assembly, theft detection, system monitoring, and system diagnosis. Successful execution of the wireless power aspect could benefit all hardware currently powered by a battery.

Collaborative and Intelligent AI for Natural Human-Robot Interaction

  • Student Recipient: Sumeet Batra, Computer Science
  • Faculty Mentor: Bradley Hayes
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Robots have traditionally been used for fixed, repetitive, and unintelligent tasks, making them non-ideal partners for humans in more natural, unstructured task settings. Our goal is to make a collaborative AI that allows robots to interact with humans on a broader range of more intelligent tasks by learning to adapt to new situations using prior knowledge. By using data to make generalizations about certain human behaviors in a well structured task hierarchy, our aim is to have robots act as efficiency multipliers for humans engaging in a broader range of intelligent tasks, specifically tasks the robots have not seen before.

Creating AI that can use reasoning to predict assistive actions.

  • Student Recipient: Karen Eleanor Rawlinson, Chemical and Biological Engineering / Integrative Physiology
  • Faculty Mentor: Bradley Hayes
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The proposed work will design and implement a predictive system for human-robot collaboration, using modern Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques to autonomously infer human intent and provide assistance using the Kinova MOVO mobile robot platform. By observing human behavior (e.g., verbal communication -- "I'm thirsty"), the developed system will infer which task the human intends to accomplish (e.g., "drink a cup of water") from a known corpus of tasks and subsequently execute a supportive behavior (e.g., "deliver cup to human") to aid the human in accomplishing its goal.

Mapping and Documenting Glacial Boundaries using Satellite Data

  • Student Recipient: Pim Maydhisudhiwongs, Geological Sciences
  • Faculty Mentor: Bruce Raup
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) is an international project which monitors the extent and properties of glaciers throughout the world using satellite imagery. I will assist my mentor by creating and packaging maps of glacial boundaries from newer satellite data to add to the GLIMS project database, which is publicly available through an interactive mapping website. This dataset will be used by researchers to analyze glacial changes caused by a changing climate and to detect potential natural hazards.

Code optimization for simulation and analysis of three-dimensional electromagnetics

  • Student Recipient: Hugo Stetz, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Melinda Piket-May
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Electromagnetic wave analysis has multifarious important applications, especially as our technologically advanced society continuously becomes more interconnected and reliant on electronics and wireless data and communication. Historically, however, it has been difficult to model electromagnetic fields due to their complexity and scale even in a relatively small system. My research will focus on taking advantage of new computing capabilities in order to make processes for analyzing electromagnetic fields more effective, efficient, and feasible. This will provide opportunities for better and more focused design and optimization of the electromagnetic systems that we rely on both every day and in specialized applications.

Cooperative energy pooling upconversion in organic semiconductors

  • Student Recipient: Cody Sharp, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Sean Shaheen
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal is to study cooperative energy pooling upconversion in organic semiconductors. Once enough data has been collected I would like to add a layer of this material to a photovoltaic device and increase the visible light absorbed by the photovoltaic device. For example this layer would absorb infrared light and emit light in the visible spectrum, thus increasing the overall light absorbed by the system.

Color compensation in IR proximity calibration for sensory feedback in a neural integrated upper limb prosthetic

  • Student Recipient: Humsini Acharya, Engineering Plus
  • Faculty Mentor: Jacob Segil
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: I will be working within a larger project that has designed and manufactured a myoelectric-controlled hand prosthetic. The device contains embedded fingertip sensors that output to electrodes on the socket interface to provide tactile feedback to the amputee. The fingertip sensor utilizes barometer and infra-red readings to configure force and distance, respectively. Due to limited barometer resolution, IR readings compensate for tactile events between contact and registered force. Because IR reflects differently on different colors, my research project is to color correct the sensor. This would allow users to accurately feel forces from different colored objects in that 0-1N range.

Finding Design Inspiration in Nature

  • Student Recipient: Katelyn Sector, Environmental Design
  • Faculty Mentor: Kim Drennan
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Biomimetic Architecture is an innovative approach that emulates natural processes in order to find solutions to human challenges from nature. Architecture is the leading source of energy consumption and contributes to 40% of today's energy use. The purpose of the students' project is to better understand how biomimicry can combat these issues to create healthier, resilient, energy-efficient buildings specific to Colorado's climate. The local community of Boulder would benefit from this projects because currently biomimicry is being used internationally and through larger firms but not at the local scale as much because it is such a complex process.

Architectural Lighting Health Implications in Rural and Urban Environments

  • Student Recipient: Michael Anthony, Architectural Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Marianne Holbert
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The built environment has various impacts on our lived experience and health. New research in Architectural Lighting has shown that the developed world may be suffering from impaired circadian stimulus due to our exposure to indoor light rather than sunlight. By traveling to a village in Bolivia where access to architectural lighting is limited, I will be able to quantify the difference in circadian stimulus present for community members. I will study the accessibility, use, and equipment associated with architectural lighting in Bolivia and compare this to typical architectural lighting designs in the developed world.

Architectural Best Practices for Shared Educational and Community Spaces: Community Based Schools

  • Student Recipient: Sara Taketatsu, Environmental Design
  • Faculty Mentor: Betsy Johnson
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: I am exploring the question: what are the architectural “best practices” that can be found in community based k-12 educational spaces around the world, and how might they be translated into a design for a school situated in a low income community in the United States that is emblematic of these practices? A study in this context would represent a number of communities and the resulting guidebook would be a resource for the specific community, other communities, and professionals looking to complete similar projects. The project will be presented and defended as a thesis for the ENVD Thesis Honors Program.

Measuring and Analyzing the Success and Impact of Olympic Architecture and Planning

  • Student Recipient: Erick Gudvangen Sherwood, Environmental Design
  • Faculty Mentor: Danielle Rivera
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My project focuses on unpacking the positive and negative impacts Olympic Games have on their respective host cities. While each city is different, a common concern is that the venues and infrastructure created for the Games will go to waste after they end. This project compares host cities from the past, and determines the successes and failures of each. This analysis provides precedents for what should be taken into account for future Olympic host cities to create a paradigm of urban growth, improvement and development that lasts long after the Games leave a city.

Comparative Analysis of Environmental Justice and Hurricane Disasters in Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast

  • Student Recipient: Rebecca Randolph, Environmental Design
  • Faculty Mentor: Danielle Rivera
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Five months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, approximately 20% of the population still does not have access to electricity among other necessities. Hurricane Maria highlighted environmental justice issues, which can be addressed through city planning. I will be researching this for my honors thesis: “How did Hurricane Maria expose environmental justice issues in Puerto Rico as compared to environmental justice issues Hurricane Katrina exposed in New Orleans? Knowing this, how can Puerto Rican cities be reconfigured to create a more resilient home?” I intend to expand on my mentor’s research and bring awareness to these injustices.

A 5x5’ Living Green Wall Pilot Project : Improving CU Boulder's Ecology, Health and Well-Being

  • Student Recipient: Robbie Gershon, Environmental Design
  • Faculty Mentor: Seth Wilberding
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Constructing a CU living green wall pilot project would support the health and well-being of university students, faculty, staff and visitors and improve the ecological health of the campus. Living walls have been demonstrated to enhance visual aesthetics, improve air quality, mitigate stormwater runoff and attract important bees, butterflies and other pollinator species. Living walls also dampen noise, reduce building heating and cooling loads, lower energy costs, and could help CU earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits. In addition, this project would serve as a proof-of-concept in encouraging CU to construct permanent living wall applications.

CASA Biochar/Odor

  • Student Recipient: Alexander Nolan, Environmental Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Sherri Cook
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: It’s estimated that over 50 million trees died in California in 2017 due to drought and beetle-infestation. The massive amount of dead trees pose a forest fire risk, exacerbated by the dry climate. Unfortunately, this wood has very limited uses, but innovative market-based uses are being explored. When the wood is pyrolyzed it can simultaneously produce renewable energy and a carbon-sequestering material, called biochar. Biochar can serve as a low-cost, environmentally sustainable alternative to activated carbon in air and water treatment. Our objective is to determine the most cost-effective biochar to replace activated carbon for odor control at wastewater facilities.

Water Quality Mapping for Sustainable Infrastructure

  • Student Recipient: Abigail Weeks, Environmental Engineering / International Affairs
  • Faculty Mentor: Karl Linden
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The mentor’s project is focused on holistic water quality testing and watershed mapping within a larger drone mapping team in Kalinchowk. Flow rate and water quality measurements collected by the student will be integrated into the additional supervisor’s drone land survey to create a functional GIS model. This model will support the construction of a water distribution system (furthering the Nepali government’s initiative to provide a tap stand to each household), determine appropriate water treatment methods based on contaminants present, and analyze landslide risk. The 3,000 community residents will benefit both in improved health and stability of infrastructure.

Microplastic Distribution

  • Student Recipient: Ryan Fontaine, Environmental Studies
  • Faculty Mentor: Atreyee Bhattacharya
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The main objective is to investigate sinks of microplastic (plastic products sizes less than 1 mm) along continental shelves; more specifically, I am investigating (a) what are the dominant types of microplastics (for example, PVC or PE), (b) shapes of microplastics derived from commonly used microplastics, (c) is there specific locations (for example floating in water column vs settling ocean floor along the continental shelves, which would be the first places where one might expect microplastics (that are delivered via river systems or from beaches) typically and finally, (d) is there any marine environmental preference between light and heavy microplastics.

Nutrient Uptake and other Environmental Science Methods

  • Student Recipient: Kaelen Williams, Studio Arts
  • Faculty Mentor: Eve-Lyn Hinckley
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: This grant will enable me to provide the laboratory analysis of nutrient uptake data for long-term ecological research (LTER) projects at Niwot Ridge, Colorado and the McMurdo research station in Antarctica. I will focus primarily on testing water samples from these locations for ammonium uptake, but will participate in other tests routinely performed at the Arikaree Environmental Lab, such as dissolved organic carbon, conductivity, and acid neutralization capacity. This long-term data is essential to studying the ongoing effects of anthropogenic climate change in these fragile ecosystems. I also hope to use this grant money to gain valuable field research experience.

Erosion Due to Visitor Based Trail Interactions on Colorado's Fourteeners.

  • Student Recipient: Rilyn VandeMerwe, Environmental Studies
  • Faculty Mentor: Stefan Leyk
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Erosion degrades the majority of trails on fourteen thousand-foot peaks in Colorado leading to increased ecological disturbance and decreased visitor experiences. This project will provide the data for my honors thesis that aims to quantify trail widening due to visitors' interactions with obstacles such as snowfields and mud puddles. I will be working closely with Colorado Fourteener's Initiative (CFI) who has been collecting erosion data and building trails on the majority of fourteener trails throughout the state. Using this data, CFI will be able to build more sustainable trails that enhance visitors' experiences and reduce impact on the ecological system.

Using a Classifier to Globally Predict Snow Bedforms

  • Student Recipient: Adam Rubin, Environmental Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Robert Anderson
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Snow can cover up to 33% of the earth’s surface. In modeling, snow appears as a flat surface, however, snow self organizes into bedforms. A study currently being conducted on Niwot Ridge in the Front Range has been able to create a softmax classifier program capable of predicting and analyzing these bedforms. My project will take data from this study and various sources from around the globe to see of these classifiers are capable of predicting these bedforms globally. The results from this project will therefore be both new, and immediately useful to other researchers in the field.

Investigating the Impact Histories of Meteorites

  • Student Recipient: Evan Tucker, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Carolyn Crow
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal of this project is to understand the thermal and impact histories of meteorite samples using argon (Ar) isotopic dating methods. The project will be conducted in two stages: (1) create a MATLAB program to model Ar-Ar thermochronology data and (2) conduct a large meta-analysis of existing meteorite data to determine the thermal and impact histories. The first stage will be completed in summer 2018, and the second stage will be completed during academic year 2018-2019. The results of this project will establish proof of concept for a proposal to analyze more meteorite samples.

Water Use in Colorado's Energy Exploration and Development

  • Student Recipient: Toby Halamka, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Shemin Ge
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to identify the sources and amounts of water used in Colorado’s energy exploration and development. The objective of the larger project is to investigate the impact of energy development on water resources. My research for this term will focus on the purchasing of water for hydraulic fracturing. Our goal is to make research on energy and water accessible to the public. The research will be specific to Colorado and offer new insight on future water demands from the oil and gas industry and help address growing water scarcity concerns due to Colorado's population growth.

Thermochronology of upper crustal rocks in the Wood Hills, Nevada: Documenting the transition from contraction to extension in the U.S. Cordillera

  • Student Recipient: Nicole Gonzalez, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: James Metcalf
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This project will determine a continuous, approximate 100 million year long cooling and exhumational history of the Wood Hills in northeastern Nevada. Data from this upper crustal record will be combined with other data sets acquired from the surrounding Ruby Mountain and East Humboldt Ranges, and thus document a crucial period in the geologic evolution of western North America. This data will address our fundamental knowledge of mountain building processes, and help us better understand orogens around the world.

Thermochronology of the deep crust in the northern Ruby Mountains, NV.

  • Student Recipient: Carlton Mueller, Geology / Education
  • Faculty Mentor: James Metcalf
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This study will use multiple thermochronometers, in conjunction with field geology, structural relationships, and other radiometric dating techniques to constrain the timing of a major tectonic reorganization in the western US Cordillera. The rocks exposed in the field area include some of the deepest and oldest metamorphic rocks in Nevada, and this study will provide the first comprehensive data to track the journey of these deep rocks to the surface through the mid and upper crust. Results from this study will help guide our understanding of similar regions around the world, including the Andes, Himalaya, Alps, and Appalachian mountains.

Determining Diffusion of Deuterium Excess in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core to Better Understand Paleo Climate Change

  • Student Recipient: Wyatt Hansen, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Gifford Miller
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Our goal is to be able to assess the average amplitude of varying frequency bands using deuterium excess measured on the WAIS Divide ice core (WDC). The WDC is annually dated to 31 thousand years ago, and preserves year-to-year climate variability. This record is pertinent since it records climatic data on timescales that humans can experience. Ultimately we want to compare this data from the WDC to results obtained using global circulation models. Our objective is to better understand past climate change on an annual to centennial scale. The project benefits anyone who studies paleoclimate changes on human timescales.

Revisiting the Geologic vs Geodetic Mismatch in the Eastern California Shear Zone: New implications from 3D Restorations of Alluvial Fans

  • Student Recipient: Joseph Gomora, Geology / Geography
  • Faculty Mentor: Karl Mueller
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: This project uses digital elevation data to measure the distance alluvial fans are offset across active faults in California. These faults accommodate 20% of the motion in the San Andreas system during large (7.3) earthquakes. I will work with Professor Mueller to develop a new method for measuring fan offsets. His work suggests existing measurements based on offset stream channels is incorrect - leading to an enigmatic difference between these slip rates and rates determined by GPS satellites. My work is aimed at determining the correct rate of slip on these faults, perhaps resolving differences with GPS measurements.

Cost Analysis of Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal

  • Student Recipient: Alexis Ahlert, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Katherine Pfeiffer
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Wastewater injection wells are used by oil and gas industries to dispose of produced water. The economic impacts of disposal and the feasibility of increased well spacing to avoid induced seismicity is unknown. My goal is to determine the economic impact of wastewater injection wells through cost analysis. The costs will be broken down into components like transportation, energy, operation, maintenance, and labor costs. This analysis can mitigate induced seismicity through optimizing the construction of disposal wells in the Denver basin. This work, along with other hydrogeologic models, will allow for improved disposal strategies.

Pliocene paleoclimate of the eastern cordillera of Colombia: An analog for a future warm world

  • Student Recipient: Nina Kentwortz, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Julio Sepulveda
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The Pliocene Epoch had global temperatures similar to those predicted for the 21st century. Little land around the equator has been studied to give us an idea of temperature during the Pliocene, and we hope to remedy that. By analyzing the paleoclimate of the eastern cordillera of Colombia during the Pliocene, we can improve our knowledge of how terrestrial ecosystems may respond in a warmer world, giving us insights into our possible future. We are focusing on a small section of the Tropical Andes, and will add our findings to those of others working in other nearby locations.

Constraining Evaporation and Infiltration in the critical zone

  • Student Recipient: Sierra Baker, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Snell
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to collect water isotopes through an automated soil sampler created in summer 2018, while learning how evaporation and infiltration affect the Betasso Preserve Critical Zone Observatory. The measurements of isotopes will be used for understanding their influences of daily variations of temperature and precipitation during fall 2018 and early spring 2019. This will contribute to previous studies in Betasso Preserve, that measured the soil moisture and temperature on a monthly basis and will provide constraints on groundwater recharge and vegetation transpiration in the foothills.

Paleoaltimetry of the Antero Formation in South Park, Colorado

  • Student Recipient: Alejandro Murillo, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Snell
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My project will use stable isotope analysis of carbonate rocks from the Antero formation in central Colorado to determine elevation, and climate at time of deposition. These findings will help us gain a better understanding of the timing of uplift in the Rocky Mountains and thus allow for a better interpretation of the mechanisms that caused the uplift 34 Ma. This formation also coincides with the Eocene-Oligocene boundary which is a time of rapid climate change, and this data will provide insight into the terrestrial response to this event.

Paleoaltimetry of the Antero Formation in South Park, Colorado

  • Student Recipient: Alejandro Murillo, Geology
  • Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Snell
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My project will use stable isotope analysis of carbonate rocks from the Antero formation in central Colorado to determine elevation, and climate at time of deposition. These findings will help us gain a better understanding of the timing of uplift in the Rocky Mountains and thus allow for a better interpretation of the mechanisms that caused the uplift 34 Ma. This formation also coincides with the Eocene-Oligocene boundary which is a time of rapid climate change, and this data will provide insight into the terrestrial response to this event.

The Terrestrial Expressions of Early Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events in the US Cordillera and Their Possible Correlation to Global Climate Change

  • Student Recipient: Anna Todd, Geology / Anthropology
  • Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Snell
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Using high-resolution carbon isotope data, I propose to find terrestrial expressions of Early Cretaceous ocean anoxic events. This research will improve chronologic constraints on my mentor’s project and provide insight into how global carbon cycle changes are expressed in terrestrial environments. This undertaking will complement my mentor’s work as he/she/they uses paleoaltimetry to test if surface uplift was coupled to crustal thickening in Nevada during the Early Cretaceous. This study will provide critical supporting data for one of the oldest paleoaltimetry studies in the US Cordillera and insight into terrestrial climate during greenhouse climate conditions of the Mesozoic.

The Terrestrial Expressions of Early Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events in the US Cordillera and Their Possible Correlation to Global Climate Change

  • Student Recipient: Anna Todd, Geology / Anthropology
  • Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Snell
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Using high-resolution carbon isotope data, I propose to find terrestrial expressions of Early Cretaceous ocean anoxic events. This research will improve chronologic constraints on my mentor’s project and provide insight into how global carbon cycle changes are expressed in terrestrial environments. This undertaking will complement my mentor’s work as he/she/they uses paleoaltimetry to test if surface uplift was coupled to crustal thickening in Nevada during the Early Cretaceous. This study will provide critical supporting data for one of the oldest paleoaltimetry studies in the US Cordillera and insight into terrestrial climate during greenhouse climate conditions of the Mesozoic.

Explorations of Terrestrial Expressions of Cretaceous Ocean Anoxic Events in the US Cordillera and Their Correlation to Climate Change

  • Student Recipient: Anna Todd, Geology / Anthropology
  • Faculty Mentor: Kathryn Snell
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The objective of this project is to determine if fluctuations in the global carbon cycle and climate during the mid-Cretaceous were recorded in the terrestrial sedimentary record. Using carbon isotope data (δ13C), this research will provide insights into how global carbon cycle changes are preserved in a small depositional basin in central Nevada. Preliminary analyses produced encouraging results, but higher resolution sampling and compound specific carbon isotope analyses are needed to better understand how fluctuations in the mid-Cretaceous carbon cycle impacted terrestrial systems. Additionally, this study may provide additional age constraint for paleoaltimetry studies in the US Cordillera.

Three Dimensional Digital Mapping of Potential Bridge Sites

  • Student Recipient: Samuel Wasserman, Chemical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Willis
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My project aims to use high resolution photos of various locations in Swaziland to map out sites where my club, Bridges to Prosperity, would be building bridges in the summer of 2017 and for years to come. The project I am working on is connected with a larger project to build a footbridge in either Moneni or Edlangeni, Swaziland. Moreover, my endeavor would serve to enormously benefit the many communities in Swaziland that would be helped out by building footbridges in their localities and aid our club in making it possible to more easily design bridges to be built there.

Programming an Arduino to Achieve Real-Time Signal Processing

  • Student Recipient: Elise Morgan, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Thomas Perkins
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This projects aims to eliminate the large optical interference artifact present in our force spectroscopy measurements in real-time. Currently, when using small cantilevers this artifact obscures the biophysical data and must be removed post processing. I will program a microcontroller to remove the interference artifact during the AFM measurement. This microcontroller must interface seamlessly with our commercial AFM in order to execute complex mathematical functions that are best suited for eliminating the artifact. Finally, I will begin to fit the artifact and perform accurate and fast fits in order to eliminate the artifact during our force spectroscopy experiments.

Comparison of DSMC Model of Enceladus Jet Velocities to UVIS

  • Student Recipient: Courteney Monchinski, Astrophysics
  • Faculty Mentor: Ganna Portyankina
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to model water vapor jets that erupt from Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The student will use DSMC model to track water molecules from Enceladus’ surface into space and compare model’s outcome to actual observational data collected by Cassini’s UVIS instrument. This project is situated within an ongoing study of Enceladus’ jets that aims to understand the processes that create them. Enceladus’ jet system is the best candidate for extra-terrestrial life detection, and this project will add to the growing scientific knowledge about this satellite and bring us a little closer to comprehending this icy world.

3D Printing Cartilage Growth Plate Repairs

  • Student Recipient: Talley Cain, Engineering Plus
  • Faculty Mentor: Virginia Ferguson
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objectives of this project are to create and test a 3D printed bone and cartilage graft that would repair epiphyseal growth plate fractures. This would ensure that children who have broken their growth plates have the best chance to grow normally. There are currently no repairs for fractured growth plates, so if a child has a growth plate fracture, the option is to try and fill the gap with fat tissues, but this usually results in a bony bar connecting the top and bottom of the plate, forcing the bone to stop growing, resulting in major deformations.

Image Processing and Geometric Analysis of Osteocyte Lacunar Cells Using Dragonfly Pro

  • Student Recipient: Liam Fisher, Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Virginia Ferguson
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: A network of cells, osteocytes, are located in lacunae (spaces) throughout bones to sense strain and coordinate cellular responses. Lacunar structure changes when exposed to disruptions including disease or unloading. Using a Xradia 3-D X-ray instrument, I will collect 2-D images of mouse bones and, using Dragonfly Pro software, compile these images into 3-D reconstructions. I will write code (using Python) to quantitatively assess lacunar geometries and orientations to gauge effects of different stressors (e.g., microgravity). Additionally, my Python code can later be incorporated as extensions to Dragonfly to enable others to complete these evaluations more quickly in the future.

Raman spectroscopy to quantify changes in collagen structure caused by oxidative stress

  • Student Recipient: Gabrielle Melli, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Virginia Ferguson
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Articular cartilage is important for healthy joint biomechanics. Oxidative stress can induce chemical changes to collagen, a major structural component of articular cartilage, causing damage that can lead to osteoarthritis. Oxidative stress, which is linked to aging and metabolic diseases, increases the presence of reactive oxygen species in the body. My hypothesis is this alters the hydrogen bonding of the collagen polypeptide, causing conformational changes that inhibit cartilage function. By investigating the differences between ex vivo and in vivo induced oxidation, and the role of antioxidants in preventing oxidation, I can compare the extent of conformational changes through Raman spectroscopy.

Next Generation Peano-HASEL Actuators

  • Student Recipient: Eliza Beisher, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Peano-HASEL Actuators are a form of muscle-mimetic technology that simulates muscle contraction. The objective of this project is to create a new form of actuators by improving on areas such as prototyping and the limits of actuators. The completion of this project will result in a journal publication. A primary benefit of these actuators and improving upon them is the application of them in robotics and prosthetics. The implementation into prosthetics is what initially interested me. These actuators will allow prosthetics to more closely resemble a human body parts because they could potentially be softer and lighter than current materials.

Artificial Muscle Powered Prosthetic Hand

  • Student Recipient: Madison Emmett, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Star Wars fans remember Vader chopping off Luke’s hand and revealing he is Luke’s father. Luke’s hand is replaced by a soft robotic version; a seemingly unobtainable technology. However, in this project, we will work to combine the mechanics of prosthetic hands, like Bebionic hands, with Hydraulically-Amplified-Self-Healing-Electrostatic (HASELs) Actuators to produce prosthetics which will be activated using HASELs, and will include fingertip pressure sensing capabilities. This project will further advance prostheses, will prove the potential of HASEL Actuators in prosthetics, and bring us closer to creating artificial limbs like Skywalker’s, benefitting many in the engineering, medical, and scientific fields.

Bio-Inspired Soft Robotics Based on Thunniforms

  • Student Recipient: Madison Emmett, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Fish propel themselves through water in various ways. Some of the most energy efficient swimmers are marlin and tuna, which are thunniforms. These are high-speed, long distance swimmers that move using almost only the sideways movement of their tail. This motion has caught the attention of our research lab. Using soft, self-healing actuators, we will pursue the goal of creating artificial thunniforms using Hydraulically-Amplified-Self-Healing-Electrostatic (HASEL) Actuators. These actuators deform under applied voltage and can be designed to achieve many different types of motion. We plan to harness these properties to create a fish-like form that could move efficiently in water.

Automated Variable Supercapacitor System

  • Student Recipient: Alexandra Jaros, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The growing energy demand requires the world to seek out new green energy sources which rely on mechanical to electrical energy conversion. This project serves to advance a newly developed technique of using supercapacitors to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. The eventual application of this system is to capture oceans waves’ mechanical energy and convert it to electrical energy. Specifically, this project aims to replace a manually controlled system and introduce active controls in which all components react to random mechanical energy sources while maximizing the energy conversion rate, thus making the project better simulate a real world environment.

Multiple Supercapacitor Cells

  • Student Recipient: Alexandra Jaros, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The increasing energy demand requires the world to seek out new green energy sources which convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. A new idea of using supercapacitors for this conversion already works in the lab with possible future application in converting ocean waves’ mechanical energy, a completely untapped energy source with huge global potential, to electrical energy. Specifically, this project aims to link multiple low voltage variable supercapacitors in series to increase the overall operating voltage and advance this projects towards producing data relevant to estimating performance of grid scale electricity generation.

Soft, Sensitive Capacitive Sensor

  • Student Recipient: Madeline King, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Sensors made of soft, stretchable materials could have extremely useful applications in the biomedical industry as they have the capability to conform to different shapes and sustain large deformation. The purpose of this project is to create a capacitive sensor consisting of stretchable ionic conductors and a liquid-filled elastomer dielectric layer that has the ability to sense the location and pressure of an applied force. The sensor will be able to self heal, and thus can be applied to biomedical devices to measure pulse, blood pressure, or internal loadings within prosthetics which must last for extended periods of time.

Enhanced Soft Muscle-Mimetic Actuators

  • Student Recipient: Trent Martin, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to develop a reliable fabrication method for high efficiency Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic (HASEL) actuators, and characterize their mechanical performance. The laboratory recently developed muscle mimetic soft actuators capable of forces and strains similar to natural muscle. These actuators can self-heal from electrical damage, increasing durability and scalability. These actuators have applications in biomedical engineering, industrial processes, soft robotics, etc. HASEL actuators need optimization in elastomer rigidity, electrode design/material, oil viscosity, etc. Each variable will be tested until stroke and force is optimized.

Mult-mode dielectric elastomer actuator

  • Student Recipient: Miles Radakovitz, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: christoph keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Most man-made machines are heavy, rigid, and rely on motors to move. This is in stark contrast to biological machines, such as muscle, which are lighweight, soft, and driven by direct conversion of chemical to mechanical energy. Research into soft machines and artificial muscle actuators is motivated by these energy-dense and efficient biological machines. The research group I am involved with has created a new kind of artificial muscle actuator that is reliable and has potential for diverse modes of actuation. I plan on using this type of actuator to create a novel artificial muscle capable of multiple actuation modes.

Bending-HASEL Actuators

  • Student Recipient: Garrett Smith, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Christoph Keplinger
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: This project aims to create a new type of industrially-scalable soft actuator that operates on electrostatic and hydraulic principles, and is capable of unique and useful bending/curling modes of actuation. For reasons outlined below, this actuator will serve as a useful tool in applications such as soft grippers that are capable of safely handling delicate and irregular objects. The design will build off our lab’s newly developed Peano-HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Soft ELectrostatic) Actuators, which use electrostatic forces to pump a hydraulic fluid and cause linear contraction on command. These “bending HASELs” will open up broad applications for soft robotics.

Study and Optimization of Sulfur-Phosphorus Solid-State Electrolyte System

  • Student Recipient: Simon Hafner, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Sehee Lee
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: In a cooperative effort between Lab A (based at CU Boulder) and Lab B, this research project will study the sulfur-phosphorus solid-state electrolyte (SPE). A wide range of characterization techniques will be used to better understand how the electrolyte works and how systems can be optimized to increase ionic conduction, reduce dendrite growth, and enhance cost effectiveness. The project will provide for the continuation of a collaborative, productive relationship between Lab A and Lab B while allowing an undergraduate researcher (me) to strengthen research skills, develop a professional network, and contribute to the knowledge base the of solid-state batteries field.

Robotic Capsule Endoscope

  • Student Recipient: Blake Biskner, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Mark Rentschler
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Despite its treatability in early stages, colorectal cancer (CRC) is projected to kill over 50,000 United States citizens in 2017. Endoscopy is the clinically preferred procedure for screening CRC; however, its painful nature makes it unpopular among patients. Consequently, a research team at CU has been developing a robotic capsule endoscope (RCE) to actively explore a patient’s colon. As of now, the RCE design is too large and is constrained solely to forward and backward motion. My project would involve developing and testing a new RCE design with improved maneuverability and reduced dimensions.

Water Content Measurement in Biological Tissue for Tissue Fusion

  • Student Recipient: Hyun Kim, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Mark Rentschler
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Conmed’s Altrus thermal fusion device utilizes both heat and pressure to ligate arteries during surgery. When heat is applied to the artery wall, water is vaporized and driven out of artery wall. Current theories suggest that as heat evaporates the water in the artery wall hydrogen bonding sites open generating bonding between the arterial walls (Cezo and Kramer). Recent research shows that the water content in the arteries is important to the structural integrity of the fusion (Cezo and Kramer); however, current methods of measuring water content are limited to collecting data before and after fusing the tissue.

Extracellular Matrices Fabrication and Characterization

  • Student Recipient: Cameron Graves, Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Wei Tan
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My goal for this project is to increase understanding of the relationship between extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironments and the progression of cardiovascular diseases. This will be accomplished through the usage of a 3-D cell array for in-vitro studies of endothelial cell functions. The 3-D cell array’s fibrous structure should more accurately simulate the ECM in-vivo, leading to an increased understanding of the effects of ECM factors on disease progression. This knowledge will lead to the development of new therapies for cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

Research Lab Assistant

  • Student Recipient: Daniel Ho, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Wei Tan
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Vascular grafts are of essential importance in medical clinics. Vascular grafts of the multicomponent kind can promote cellular growth. However, these vascular grafts are created from poly-ε-caprolactone (PCL) and genipin-crosslinked collagen–chitosan (GCC), which behave differently. The layer adheson between the two layers will be further investigated from further studies. Investigations on porosity of PCL intersurface, increasing hydrophobicity, and other qualities will be adjusted and studied in order to achieve optimal quality. These qualities are high compliance, desired permeability, and others.

Effect of laminar flow over high throughput 3D matrix

  • Student Recipient: Cassidy Maly, Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Faculty Mentor: Wei Tan
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Stem cell research is a prominent field right now because of its promise in regenerative medicine and biomedical applications. My mentor’s lab has created a high throughput 3D matrix environment that can be printed with proteins to manipulate stem cell fate and viability. This 3D matrix is more applicable than the traditional 2D gel method of creating microenvironments because it better mimics the environment in the body. In order to use the matrix for vascular engineering applications, the growth activity of stem cells on the matrices under physiologically flow conditions must be studied further.

Decoding Monogamy using Computational Neuroscience

  • Student Recipient: Elliott Saslow, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Zoe Donaldson
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: In the Lab, I will be investigating the monogamous species of prairie vole, and specifically how the brain is activated when they are interacting with their monogamous partner versus a novel opposite sex con-specific. In the long-term, this research can help us to better understand the underlying cause and effects of monogamy and hopefully how to help people cope with a loss of a loved one. This is a completely novel line of research within the field of social neuroscience.

Tracking Microtubules and Labwork

  • Student Recipient: Nicolas Santander, Engineering Physics / Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Meredith Betterton
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: In the lab, we study yeast cells and how they undergo mitosis. During mitosis, the cell makes use of microtubules in the spindle assembly, which is necessary for successful chromosome segregation. Knowing how microtubules behave during cellular division is an important area of current research. The tracking program we are working on building and validating would greatly assist in expanding our understanding of the dynamics of these objects, and allow us to better determine the dynamics of mitosis.

The Influence of Magnetic Fields on Convection

  • Student Recipient: Mitchell Krouss, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Calkins
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The overall goal of the project is to improve the theoretical understanding of the physics of the Earth’s liquid iron outer core through simulations and modeling efforts. Hydromagnetic turbulence regimes that are relevant in the Earth’s core are poorly understood. I will utilize one particular class of models that allows for investigating regimes that have not been previously accessible to study. Ultimately, this project will allow for the development and understanding of more accurate models for the evolution of the geomagnetic field. The broad geophysics, astrophysics and planetary science communities will all benefit from this study.

Search for the Z' mass

  • Student Recipient: Aidan Bohenick, Engineering Physics / Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Cumalat
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The main objective of this project is to improve the technique for searching for a beyond the Standard Model (BSM) particle called a Z′. In searching for new physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics, there are models which postulate hypothetical gauge bosons. In this study, we will concentrate on a third generation dominance in which the Z′ decays predominantly to tau+ and tau- particles. The technical goal is to improve the mass reconstruction technique used for the Z′ particle. We will start by using a published algorithm, then try to improve on it.

Increased accuracy in reconstruction of di-Tau masses.

  • Student Recipient: Aidan BOHENICK, Engineering Physics / Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: John Cumalat
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The main objective of this project is to better understand the mitigating force when a Z-prime particle decays into Tau+Tau-. The first step in doing this will be obtaining an improved accuracy in reconstruction of Tau particles. This will be done by improving the accuracy of the analyzer created by Li-Gang Xia combined with analyzer produced by Fermilab. We care about this because decay of Tau leptons provide an important experimental signature for analyses. Searches for supersymmetry, leptoquarks, W’ and Z’ bosons, as well as other non-SM Higgs bosons benefit from the high performance Tau reconstruction capabilities.

Superconducting Properties of Quaterphenyl and Related Molecules

  • Student Recipient: Maria Carilli, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Dan Dessau
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Potassium doped para-terphenyl has been shown to have superconducting properties at temperatures significantly higher than conventional superconductors, with low energy gaps observable up to temperatures near 120 Kelvin. Cooper pairs have also been observed, but no zero resistance has yet been recorded. This project hopes to address several issues that may be the cause of this in order to better understand the mechanisms of high temperature superconductors and increase the superconducting properties of these molecules. Development of room temperature superconductors would dramatically increase energy storage and transmission efficiency, revolutionizing the fields of electronics and transportation.

Quantum Spins of Sr2RuO4 Cooper Pair

  • Student Recipient: Fredy Ramirez, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Daniel Dessau
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of the “Quantum Spins of Sr2RuO4 Cooper Pair” project, is to understand the electron spin within the Sr2RuO4. In this sample it is believed that at low temperatures around zero Kelvin the superconductor displays a two spin up Cooper pair. The goal for this project is to get a precise understanding of the superconductor’s nature at cold temperatures. Final project results will be exhibited at the end of the summer and presented to the lab research team, mentor and UROP committee.

Formation of Heteronuclear Feshbach Molecules in Microgravity

  • Student Recipient: Kirk Waiblinger, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Jose D'Incao
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: My mentor’s project is to study the association and dissociation of heteronuclear Feshbach molecules in a microgravity environment. Such project is relevant for dual species atom-interferometry studies to be performed at NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory aboard the ISS. For our UROP project, we propose to perform a comparative study of different schemes of magnetic field ramping, in order to optimize the rate of Feshbach molecule production. These studies will benefit the community’s understanding of the major processes that can limit the realization of interferometry in space, and provide me an excellent introduction to the academic research process and peer-review publication.

Anisotropic Measurement of Magnetoresistance in SrAs3 and Single-Crystal Synthesis

  • Student Recipient: Andrew Treglia, Physics / Astrophysics / Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Minhyea Lee
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: My main goal is to understand anisotropic electrical transport properties measurements, which includes the magnetoresistance and Hall effect, and thermoelectric transport properties of novel semimetal materials. In recent years, a scientific “race” around the world has begun to characterize transport properties of newly discovered 3 dimensional topological semimetal, which shows much interesting behavior under an external magnetic field. Through this process, I will learn the processes of high quality single-crystal synthesis and characterizing their properties , as well. Recent research of the novel transport properties of these new materials has been geared towards a variety of applications.

Creating a Better 118nm Laser Light Source using a Neon-Xenon Mixture

  • Student Recipient: Benjamin Saarel, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Heather Lewandowski
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal of my project is to create a better source of 118nm laser light by frequency tripling 355nm light with a Xenon-Neon mixture. At high intensities of incident 355 nm light, a Xenon-Neon mixture could be much more efficient at producing 118 than the current Xenon-Argon mixture. The new gas system would give physicists that use 355nm ND:YAG lasers more 118nm light for their experiments.

Light speed plasma structure reconstruction by using multi-object-plane imaging

  • Student Recipient: Xiang Chen, Physics / Philosophy
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Litos
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal of the project is to develop a plasma density profile diagnostic for a Plasma Wakefield Accelerator (PWFA) plasma source based on the phase retrieval of a low intensity, ultra-short laser pulse that is passed directly through the plasma. This technique will provide a high-resolution, instantaneous density profile of the plasma source that will provide critical feedback for use in the optimization of the shape of the long plasma filament. By adding a delay to the laser pulse, a complete four-dimensional (3 spatial, 1 temporal) profile of the plasma source can be obtained.

Stark Broadening

  • Student Recipient: Shao Xian Lee, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Litos
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project is to develop a plasma diagnostic with the capability of measuring laboratory plasma filament profiles on a nanosecond timescale. This diagnostic tool will be used specifically for a plasma wakefield accelerator (PWFA) plasma source to eventually be implemented in experiments at a national particle accelerator laboratory. PWFA is a next generation accelerator that aims to miniaturize high energy physics experiments, reducing the size from kilometers to tens of meters. This project will provide an accurate and reliable plasma profile in order to help improve the performance of PWFA experiments.

Extended Thomson Scattering Diagnostics for a Laboratory Source Plasma

  • Student Recipient: Joshua Portnoy, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Michael Litos
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The primary objective of this project is to develop a plasma density profiler as part of a multi-functional diagnostic setup for a laboratory plasma source. This diagnostic will act in service of the plasma wakefield accelerator (PWFA), an advanced form of particle accelerator capable of greatly reducing the budget and size of future high energy physics particle colliders. The PWFA plasma source is a meter long filament of plasma that lasts for only nanoseconds, making diagnosis particularly challenging. This project will attempt to extend well know Thomson scattering techniques to capture the full plasma profile in a single shot.

Developing Diamond Detectors for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

  • Student Recipient: Nicholas Johnston, Physics / Applied Math
  • Faculty Mentor: Alysia Marino
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal of this project is to design and characterize Diamond muon detectors (DMDs). DMDs are a novel detector type, grown to meet specific requirements. These diamonds will eventually be installed in the DUNE beamline at Fermilab to assist beam alignment and provide safety checks. The primary purpose of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is to investigate neutrino masses, which could help explain why there is significantly more matter than antimatter in the known universe. This project will benefit many fields of research, particularly those focused on matter/antimatter asymmetry, and many other regions of particle physics research.

Characterizing Custom Diamond Detectors for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

  • Student Recipient: Nicholas Johnston, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Alysia Marino
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The goal of this project is to characterize custom Diamond muon detectors (DMDs) and compare them to other muon detectors. Last year I built a DMD, and am currently building a Silicon detector for comparison, both of which will be installed in a muon beamline at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory this summer to perform a comparison study. This DMD design is intended to be used in the LBNF beamline for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will investigate neutrino masses and mixing. Improving our understanding of neutrino properties could help explain the matter/antimatter asymmetry in the known universe.

Gas Cherenkov Muon Monitor

  • Student Recipient: Max Weiner, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Alysia Marino
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: The proposed Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment will precisely measure neutrino oscillations so as to pin down oscillation parameters. A neutrino beam will be produced at Fermilab in Illinois and detected 1300 kilometers away in South Dakota. For every neutrino generated, a muon is created. Therefore, measuring muons will help constrain the neutrino flux. My project involves the detection of these muons with a gas Cherenkov detector. Muons are charged particles which means they exhibit Cherenkov radiation. Because neutrino and muon beams have the same direction, monitoring these muons ensures the neutrino beam is aligned and working as expected.

Quantum Many Body Localization and Thermalization

  • Student Recipient: Branton DeMoss, Physics / Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Rahul Nandkishore
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: We intend to simulate various strongly interacting disordered quantum many body systems, in order to characterize their properties and in particular the phase transitions between localized and thermalizing states. Localized states can locally retain information about initial conditions, as opposed to thermalizing states whose long time limits do not depend on initial conditions. Hence, these localized systems can potentially act as a source of quantum information storage.

Coupling Light into Sub-Micrometer Waveguides

  • Student Recipient: Randall Ball, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Cindy Regal
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: A major goal in my mentor’s research group is to study the fundamental interaction between single atoms and photons (light particles). For this, individual atoms are trapped next to a suspended sub-micrometer scale optical waveguide, in order to interact with the electric field of the photons propagating in this waveguide. In order to observe this interaction, it is important to minimize any loss of photons as they are coupled into and out of this waveguide. The purpose of this project is to develop a setup that allows for coupling light into the waveguide in a vacuum chamber from free space.

Fabrication and Measurement of Phononic Bandgaps via Intricate Silicon Nitride Patterning

  • Student Recipient: Dylan McNally, Engineering Physics / Applied Mathematics
  • Faculty Mentor: Cindy Regal
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: A promising technique for high-resolution nanoscale spin is acute magnetic force sensing. Precise force detection and high bandwidth sensing are possible with the use of Silicon Nitride (SiN) membrane resonators with a magnetic tip attached. The research team aims to advance the SiN resonators to improve force sensing by achieving high frequencies and improving the quality factor. The research requires theoretical design of the membrane structures, nanoscale clean-room fabrication of the resonators, and experimental testing both at room and ultra-low temperatures.

Calibration of Mechanical Motion of Optical Waveguides on a Chip

  • Student Recipient: Gregory Miller, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Cindy Regal
  • Grant Information: 2018 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: Mentor’s research relies on the coupling of light into photonic crystal waveguides (PCW). The current setup to couple light into the PCWs has many drawbacks. Primarily, the chip-vacuum chamber system cannot be baked to enhance the vacuum. The research team has developed a method to directly couple light into the chip using carefully selected lens pairs, but the mechanical motion of the PCWs on the newly designed chip is currently not understood. Studying the mechanical motion of the PCWs would greatly benefit the lab as it would allow for more precise calibration of the scientific data.

Extreme Optical Filters for Single Photon Readout

  • Student Recipient: Remington Ruyle, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Cindy Regal
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objective of this research project is to build an optical cavity to prepare light for probing nanomechanical objects. The optical cavity I will construct will act as an optical filter where certain frequencies of light are reflected and others are transmitted through the system. The final product is to couple the optical cavity and the vibrating nanomechanical objects to isolate single photons and study their quantum properties. Understanding the quantum properties of photons is integral to creating quantum informational systems.

Investigation of the effects of Fabry Perot cavity geometry in optomechanical systems

  • Student Recipient: Remington Ruyle, Physics / Spanish
  • Faculty Mentor: Cindy Regal
  • Grant Information: 2018-19 Academic Year, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The objective of this research project is to investigate different optical cavity designs to better prepare light for probing nanomechanical objects. The optical cavities I will be researching vary in geometrical design from the cavities previously used. Changing cavity geometry may have significant impacts on the cavity’s ability to act as an optical filter dictating the efficiency of the system. The final product of the coupling of the optical cavity and the vibrating nanomechanical objects is to isolate single photons and study their quantum properties. Producing cavities with more desirable optical properties is a step towards creating quantum information systems.

Dynamics and Topological Defects of Frustrated Chiral Nematic Liquid Crystal

  • Student Recipient: Julianna Bourgeois, Engineering Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Ivan Smalyukh
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: Liquid crystal is becoming ubiquitous in modern technologies. Any further advancement of understanding and control of liquid crystalline systems has not only immediate technological application and importance, but also furthers the understanding of fundamental physical and biological systems. For the current project the dynamics and topological defects of two particular types of chiral nematic liquid crystal will be explored and characterized, while under the influence of various external stimuli such as voltage, photonic energy, or temperature. The relevance of the project is to further both fundamental understanding of these unexplored substances, and to identify potential applications of them.

Multidimensional printing of stimuli-responsive cellulose-based particles

  • Student Recipient: Andrew Funk, Physics
  • Faculty Mentor: Ivan Smalyukh
  • Grant Information: 2017-18 Academic Year, Individual Grant
  • Project Description: In my UROP-sponsored undergraduate research project, I will use 3D printers to print 4D structures. When exposed to external stimuli, the printed structures’ morphologies are altered in a pre-configured manner, enabling facile mechanical responses in real time. Time spent on this project will provide the methodology required to optimize the process of printing with an aqueous cellulose dispersion so that a hydrogel with pre-configurable macroscopic structure may be formed from microscopic molecular ordering. From this point, the goal is to transform the stable hydrogel into an aerogel with preserved macroscopic and microscopic ordering for synergistic stimuli-responsiveness.

The Behavior of Diamond and Thin-Silicon Particle Sensors with the Latest Read-Out Chips

  • Student Recipient: Drew Megura, Physics / Film Studies
  • Faculty Mentor: Stephen Wagner
  • Grant Information: 2017 Summer, Assistantship
  • Project Description: The purpose of this project will be to explore the behavior and overall effectiveness of low charge-output particle sensors made of either bump-bonded diamond or very thin silicon with new read-out chips developed by PSI. If after extensive testing these sensors prove useful for particle detection, then they will latter be put to use in the Large Hadron Collider. Additionally, since the previous sensors, which used bump-bonded diamond and the older read-out chips, were not sufficient for particle detectors, we will be comparing the behavior of these new sensors against that of the previous generation.