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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics


CCLDAS is committed to educating and training the next generation of lunar scientists and engineers. In pursuit of this goal, CCLDAS employs students in all aspects of our research, from computer modeling to hands-on experiments in the lab. Students even have opportunities to participate in professional-level NASA missions, including the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).

If you are a student and are interested in working with CCLDAS, please contact us.

Current Students

Photograph of Chris Anaya

Chris Anaya

Chris is a senior Physics major at CU-Boulder. A native of Houston, Chris is currently working for Tobin Munsat and Andrew Collette on the dust accelerator. In his spare time Chris enjoys the Colorado outdoors.

Photograph of Nicholaus Beaty

Nicholaus Beaty

Nicholaus is a second-year undergraduate Physics major at CU-Boulder. He is currently working for Zoltan Sternovsky on a signal filtering circuit for the beamline. In his spare time he enjoys riding his bike and being outdoors.

Photograph of Nick Boschert

Nick Boschert

Nick graduated from Broomfield High School in May, and will enter CU-Boulder this fall as a Physics major. He aspires to pursue a career in theoretical physics, and loves wearing fedoras.

Photograph of Spenser Burrows

Spenser Burrows

Spenser is a fifth-year undergraduate at CU-Boulder majoring in Engineering Physics and minoring in Chemistry. He is currently working on the dust accelerator project and has contributed to several interlock and control systems on the beamline. Spenser also enjoys flying and has a private pilot’s license.

Photograph of Akaxia Cruz

Akaxia Cruz

Akaxia Cruz will be entering her junior year at CU-Boulder in the fall and is double majoring in Physics and Mathematics. She has been working with Sascha Kempf analyzing data acquired from Cassini flybys since May 2012. She enjoys contemplating the intricate structure of the universe and is an enthusiastic learner.

Photograph of Shannon Dickson

Shannon Dickson

Shannon is a fifth-year undergraduate at CU-Boulder pursuing a major in Engineering Physics and a minor in Astronomy. She is studying the properties of the photoelectron sheath created by photoemission from the lunar surface in areas where it is uniformly exposed to ultra-violet radiation from the Sun. In the lab, these conditions are simulated by a lunar dust simulant exposed to a high power UV light source with a peak emitted wavelength of 172 nm.

Photograph of AJ Gemer

AJ Gemer

AJ works with CCLDAS as an undergraduate student in Aerospace Engineering at CU-Boulder. He works with Zoltan Sternovsky, Keith Drake, Nicole Duncan, and Jeremy Salter on the design of the next-generation Dust Trajectory Sensor (DTS). He has previous experience working with the same team on the Large Area Mass Analyzer (LAMA), and performed mechanical engineering design and fabrication on instrument projects for CCLDAS.

Photograph of Joao Gabriel Moreira Hooks

João Gabriel Moreira Hooks

João is a senior Astrophysics major at CU-Boulder and has been working with CCLDAS since February 2012. He works on Cassini Time of Flight (TOF) mass spectroscopy for the Jovian and Saturnian systems. He is currently working on PDS data analysis and preparation. João is a native of Brazil and California. He enjoys traveling throughout Colorado and the world in search of exotic, diverse, and culturally rich locations; exploring the mind of humans in its most fundamental and intricate realities; and unlocking the marvels of the expanses of space and the functioning of matter at both the nanoscopic and macroscopic levels. João is most fundamentally a seeker of truth, the ideal, and the highest reality of man.

Photograph of Maximilian Kempf

Maximilian Kempf

Max studies Industrial Engineering in Berlin and is in Boulder for a five-month internship. He works on the small accelerator and runs a long-term test to better understand the behavior of the accelerator settings.

Photograph of Huy Le

Huy Le

Huy is an undergraduate in the Aerospace Engineering and Electrical Engineering departments at CU-Boulder. He is working with Zoltan Sternovsky on a number of projects in the CCLDAS DDPL lab.

Photograph of Sean Metzger

Sean Metzger

Sean is entering his senior year at Fairview High School. He aspires to pursue a career in astrophysics or renewable energies. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, soccer, and jazz saxophone.

Photograph of Paige Northway

Paige Northway

Paige is in her senior year at CU-Boulder working on an Engineering Physics degree and German minor. She is currently developing a storage and transportation system for dust samples to be used with the LEIL Dust Particle Accelerator and will continue to be further involved with the dust injection system.

Photograph of Leela O'Brien

Leela O’Brien

Leela is a first-year graduate student in the Aerospace Engineering Department at CU-Boulder. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Nevada, Reno, and started research at CCLDAS in the spring of 2012. She is focusing on the development of space instruments and is currently working with Zoltan Sternovsky on the Nano Dust Analyzer, which is a linear time-of-flight mass spectrometer. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, traveling, and dancing/performing (after being trained as a ballet dancer for many years).

Photograph of Marcus Piquette

Marcus Piquette

Marcus is a fourth-year undergraduate in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at CU-Boulder. He currently works on simulations of the photoelectron sheath and dust dynamics on the lunar surface.

Photograph of Emily Randall

Emily Randall

Emily graduated this spring from Fairview High School, and will be entering her first year at CU-Boulder in the Engineering Physics program. Emily is an avid reader and enjoys LARPing, swordfighting, and creative writing.

Photograph of Anthony Rasca

Anthony Rasca

Anthony is a fifth-year graduate student from the Applied Mathematics Department at CU-Boulder. He’s working with Mihaly Horanyi on modeling solar wind interactions with interplanetary dust near the Sun.

Photograph of Anthony Shu

Anthony Shu

Anthony is a third-year graduate student in the Physics Department at CU-Boulder, with an emphasis in experimental plasma physics. He works with Tobin Munsat on the LEIL dust accelerator project. Anthony is currently designing the particle selection circuitry and the vacuum interlock circuitry, and he is building the high-voltage controller for the small accelerator. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009, where he researched Laser Plasma Accelerators under Wim Leemans.

Photograph of Jordan Stern

Jordan Stern

Jordan recently graduated from Niwot High School, and will be entering his first year at CU-Boulder in the Engineering Physics Program. He is interested in pursuing a career in astrophysics or aerospace engineering and enjoys playing jazz guitar in his free time.

Photograph of Jamey Szalay

Jamey Szalay

Jamey is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Physics at CU-Boulder. He works with Mihaly Horanyi on the Lunar Dust EXplorer, which will be on board NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) when it launches in early 2013. Jamey also works on the Student Dust Counter on the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

Photograph of Evan Thomas

Evan Thomas

Evan is a graduate student in the Department of Physics at CU-Boulder. He is currently working on the electronics and field programmable gate array (FPGA) code for the dust detectors in the beamline of the dust accelerator.

Photograph of Christopher Warren

Christopher Warren

Chris is a senior at CU-Boulder, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with minors in Quantitative Economics and General Applied Mathematics. Chris is working under the guidance of Andrew Collette and Zoltan Sternovsky, helping with dust impact experiments in the ultra high vacuum chamber and creating a database management program.

Photograph of Jianfeng Xie

Jianfeng Xie

Jianfeng is a fourth-year graduate student in the Physics Department at CU-Boulder. He currently uses the Zemax to analyze the effect of ultraviolet light from the sun on detectors.

Former Students

Photograph of Mark Coffman

Mark Coffman

Mark was born and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado. After graduating high school, Mark took a couple of years off before attending the New Mexico Military Institute with intentions of transferring to the Air Force Academy. After a change of heart, he transferred to CU-Boulder as an open option student. Mark chose the Aerospace Engineering program due to its challenging nature, interesting subject matter, and career possibilities. Mark plans on starting a career in the fields of test engineering, manufacturing, or software engineering.

Photograph of Adrienne Dove

Adrienne Dove

Adrienne received her doctorate from the CU-Boulder. Her research involved collaboration with Ball Aerospace to evaluate the effects of surface treatments on dust adhesion by using a centrifuge technique to measure adhesion forces in vacuum. She is also studied the impact of UV illumination of the motion of dust.

Photograph of Nicole Duncan

Nicole Duncan

Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the CU-Boulder and worked on the Dust Trajectory Sensor (DTS) project. She worked in the Dusty Plasma Group from January 2007-June 2010. Nicole is now a graduate student in physics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Photograph of Spencer LeBlanc

Spencer LeBlanc

Spencer worked as an undergraduate with CCLDAS. He is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lived his whole life before attending CU-Boulder. Spencer designed and built both small and large accelerators in Tobin Munsat’s lab. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, reading, and plasma physics.

Photograph of Andrew Poppe

Andrew Poppe

Andrew received his doctorate in Physics from CU-Boulder. His research included simulations of the lunar photoelectron sheath with a particle-in-cell code in order to understand observed lunar dusty plasma phenomena. In addition to his lunar simulations, he worked on the Student Dust Counter on the New Horizons mission, NASA’s first satellite to the Pluto-Charon system. He currently has a postdoctoral position at the University of California, Berkeley.

Photograph of Michael Wagner

Michael Wagner

Michael was an undergraduate student in Engineering Physics at CU-Boulder and worked on the CCLDAS dust particle accelerator. He also helped to build and design pulsing electronic circuits to control high voltage, and fiber optic control systems and voltage read-outs to be used with the high voltage.

Photograph of Tyler Wingfield

Tyler Wingfield

Tyler worked with CCLDAS as a junior at CU-Boulder pursuing a degree in Engineering Physics. He helped to design and build the Particle Selection Unit for the LEIL Dust Accelerator. This unit will allow scientists at CCLDAS to select the mass and charge of the micrometeorites they accelerate. In his free time he likes to hike, climb, ski, backpack, and participate in all other outdoor activities.