Graduate students within CASPER's experimental group are supported either by the department, outside funding, research contracts or some combination of the above. In addition, NASA/Texas Space Grant Consortium Fellowships are also available for both graduate and undergraduate students pursuing a degree at Baylor University in any of the areas within the Center. Information concerning openings within the ASSTG, EUCOS or the HIDPL or the possibility of collaborative efforts with either should be directed to Truell Hyde. Information concerning the possibility of either faculty or student openings on the TSTC technical support team should be directed to Carliss Hyde, Director of External Resource Development.
CASPER scientists within the HIDPL/SSL conduct research in a variety of areas. Specific areas of current interest include:
Complex Plasmas / Collidal Systems. Micron, meso or nanosized dust immersed in a plasma (where the individual grains interact through a Yukawa or screened Coulomb potential) is known as a complex plasmas. Within such plasmas, the grains can form an ordered structures (crystalline, clusters or balls) when the ratio of the kinetic energy of the dust grains to their potential energy is small. CASPER's HIDPL (Hypervelocity Impacts and Dust Plasma Lab) offers a complete experimental facility for the study of such systems. The primary instrument for examining complex plasmas is a GEC RF Reference Cell modified to allow the formation of dust crystals. CASPER's two (2) GEC RF cells (one of which is equipped with a Zyvex S100 nanomanipulator system) are currently being used to study such effects as micro, meso and nanoscale structure formation, size distributions of nanoparticles, wave propagation through crystalline lattices, dispersion properties of the system and interparticle forces between individual grains. All of these areas are of interest in the new field of nanoscale science, particularly nanofabrication and manipulation.
Low Velocity Impact Studies. Space craft and satellites in orbit around the earth are subject to impacts with dust traveling at speeds ranging from a few meters per second to a few kilometers per second. At the HIDPL, a Light Gas Gun, Linear Accelerator, and several laser hypervelocity impact simulation systems are used to study impact craters, the design of impact and particle trajectory sensors, and the durability of materials used in space. This equipment also serves as a test bed for dust detector design for deep space probes. Hypervelocity impact capability is also available through CASPER's partnerships with the two-stage light gas gun facility located at NASA JSC.
- Accretion Shock Studies
- Dusty Plasmas/Plasma Crystal Studies
- Grain charging within coulomb crystals
- EM propagation through dusty plasmas/coulomb crystals
- Transient Heating Events in dusty plasmas/coulomb crystals
- Determination of new penetration equations (ceramics)
- Determination of oblique impact equations
- Basic Studies in the Laser Simulation of Hypervelocity Impacts
Flight Materials Certification Studies
- Advanced Shielding Development Studies
- Basic Hypervelocity Impact Studies
- Laser Simulation of Hypervelocity Impacts
Engineering/New Program Development Studies
- Spatially resolved optical emissions spectroscopy
- Development of new shielding techniques/materials