Congratulations Dr. Jacob Banasek

Jacob earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Wright State University in 2013.  After graduation, he attend Cornell University and joined the Laboratory of Plasma Studies, where he spent most of his time developing various plasma diagnostics.  Now that he has defended his Thesis, “Development of a Thomson Scattering Diagnostic on a Pulsed Power Machine and its use in Studying Laboratory Plasma Jets Focusing on the Effect of Current Polarity”, he is continuing as a postdoc in the lab before starting as a postdoc at UCSD in 2020.

Graduate Students spend 2 days at the Laboratory of Laser Energetics at UofR

LPS graduate students Jacob Banasek and Sophia Rocco attended a two-day International Workshop on Optical Thomson Scattering hosted by the University of Rochester at the Laboratory of Laser Energetics (LLE). Participants shared recent advancements in diagnostic development at their various institutions, the labs of which span a large range of interesting plasma conditions, from picosecond laser-produced plasmas to the nanosecond-scale pulsed-power plasmas at Cornell. Jacob and Sophia both presented talks on their work in developing the Thomson scattering diagnostic in use at Cornell (“Thomson scattering on Laboratory Plasma Jets to Study Current Polarity Effects” and “Thomson scattering as a tool for differentiating sources of spatial velocity distributions in gas-puff z-pinches,” respectively). The collective expertise in the room was incredible, and Cornell came away with some new perspectives and fresh ideas about how to approach both Thomson collection and analysis in improved ways.

Undergraduate Paul Beck works in the LPS lab for the Summer of 2019

Over the Summer Paul worked with Dr. Sander Lavine and Professor Bruce Kusse to design a capacitor bank. The capacitor bank will deliver strong axial magnetic fields via a Helmholtz coil during the plasma Z pinch. This effect can be used in multifarious experiments to explore different properties of plasma.

Paul used SOLIDWORKS to finish modeling the capacitor layout, current path, bank housing, and physical framing of the capacitor bank. Then explored circuit simulators which helped estimate the circuit’s transient response, aiding the diode selection process. The diode stack is necessary in order to stultify voltage reversal on the capacitors; any significant voltage reversal could damage or even destroy them. He then advised a main cable for the capacitor bank to conduct the pulse, and confirmed it could handle the high current and voltage at the given frequency of the circuit.

Currently, Paul is investigating the proposed snubber circuit and what components would be sufficient for its proper functioning.

Undergraduate Jake Lawson’s Summer 2019 work in the LPS Lab

This summer he has been working with Dr. Sander Levine and Professor Bruce Kusse investigating why PLIF is not consistent day to day and coming up with a solution to improve the reproducibility and accuracy of PLIF. This has led him to develop a new calibration method for calibrating gas puff data from PLIF.

PLIF data is used to understand the data that comes out of COBRA, so for COBRA to be accurate the PLIF data must be accurate.

Jay Angel, Chiatai Chen and Tommy Hentschel attend HEDS Summer School 2019

July 28 – August 10, 2019

UC San Diego campus, La Jolla, CA

This 2-week summer school will promote scholastic development through technical lectures given by field experts as well as professional development sessions aimed at early-career researchers in HEDS fields of study.

The summer school is jointly organized by the by the Center for Frontiers in High Energy Density Science and the new NNSA Center for Excellence: Center for Matter Under Extreme Conditions.

Euan Freeman interns at LPS Summer 2019

Euan graduated from the University of Evansville (’19) and is at LPS this summer studying plasma spectroscopy in order to be able to perform visible light spectroscopy experiments, and assisting senior researchers and graduate students with their work in order to learn how to run experiments on COBRA. Euan will join Cornell as a graduate student Fall 2019.

Thomas Schmidt from the University of New Mexico spends Summer 2019 at LPS

Taking measurements of radiation spanning the millimeter-wave range up to the near infrared range. Making measurements of turbulent density fluctuations with a proposed Thomson scattering diagnostic which operates in the Bragg scattering limit.

This summer so far: 

  • Developed a 94 GHz microwave radiometer along with three infrared (IR) radiometers at 1100, 1310, and 1550 nm.
    • Implemented these instruments on COBRA, with measurements taken for various plasma conditions (gas puff, single wire, gas puff + wire, varying gases)

What is planned for the rest of the summer: 

  • Understand the current set of measurements of COBRA plasmas.
    • Determine whether a black body spectrum is apparent in the IR measurements. If so, temperatures can be derived.
    • Further analyze the microwave measurements to derive the absolute intensity of the emissions – this will help (along with IR measurements) to determine the total energy expended into radiation the imploding plasma.
  • Continue developing a collective Thomson scattering system, allowing for insight into how energy is expended into turbulence in an imploding gas puff plasma.

Tommy Hentschel interns at Sandia National Lab – Summer 2019

Sandia National Laboratory

Working with Dr. Stephanie Hansen at Sandia National Labs computing dielectric functions and stopping numbers for materials and plasmas that have high temperatures but that are dense enough that quantum mechanics must be considered in the interactions between electrons. Stopping numbers are useful quantities because they can tell us how particles lose energy as they travel through these plasmas. Dielectric functions are important because you can calculate the so-called dynamic structure factor of these warm, dense materials from them. The structure factor can be measured by Thomson scattering, which is one of the experimental probes used at LPS. This provides a nice link between the theory I am doing and the experiments performed at Cornell.

Jacob Banasek & Sophia Rocco spend time at Weizmann Institute Winter 2018

While at Weizmann Institute they worked with Marko Cvejić, Tal Queller and Dmitry Mikitchuk.to learn about their various research projects and techniques.  Mainly focusing on getting hands-on experience with their Zeeman polarimetry technique and neutral gas interfromety. In addition, time was also spent discussing other spectroscopic interests of the lab.