The University of Michigan
Department of Aerospace Engineering
| Plasmadynamics & Electric Propulsion Laboratory |
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PEPL Personnel
  Laboratory Director
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Alec D. Gallimore
DR. ALEC D. GALLIMORE is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and is a Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan where he directs the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory. Professor Gallimore is also the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in Michigan's College of Engineering. Professor Gallimore is on the faculty of the Applied Physics program at Michigan, is the director of the NASA-funded Michigan Space Grant Consortium, and is project director for the Michigan/Air Force Center of Excellence in Electric Propulsion. He received his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Princeton. His primary research interests include electric propulsion, plasma diagnostics, space/re-entry plasma simulation, use of plasma for energy production and environmental remediation, and nano-particle physics. He has experience with a wide array of electric propulsion technologies including Hall thrusters, ion thrusters, arcjets, RF plasma sources, 100-kW-class steady MPD thrusters, and MW-level quasi-steady MPD thrusters. Professor Gallimore has implemented a variety of probe, microwave, and optical/laser plasma diagnostics. The author of some 300 journal and conference papers on electric propulsion and plasma physics, Professor Gallimore serves on the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Electric Propulsion Technical Committee and is a Fellow of AIAA. Professor Gallimore is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Propulsion and Power and for the JANNAF (propulsion) Journal, and has served on a number of advisory boards for NASA and the Department of Defense including the United States Air Force Scientific Advisor Board (AFSAB). He was awarded the Decoration for Meritorious Civilian Service in 2005 for his work on the AFSAB.
  Affiliated Faculty
Professor Benjamin Longmier,    Department of Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor
Dr. Ben Longmier is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is developing the next generation of advanced thrusters from 10W to 200kW to enable wide access to remote destinations within the solar system. To enable this, his research interests center on electric propulsion, spacecraft and aerostat design, low temperature plasma physics, plasma materials interaction, and plasma diagnostics. Prior to coming to UM he served as the Principal Research Scientist at Ad Astra Rocket Company, and was responsible for developing experiment campaigns and new plasma diagnostics appropriate for high power engine and exhaust plume testing. He has served as PI and project manager for six NASA microgravity spacecraft technology development programs over the past eight years with six cumulative hours in microgravity. He earned his PhD in Engineering Physics in 2007 from the University of Wisconsin under Noah Hershkowitz, and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship with NASA and the University of Houston. In 2011, he was appointed Chair of the new American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics National Educator Academy-High Altitude Balloon Program to enhance student aerospace education nation-wide.
Dr. Tim Smith,    Department of Aerospace Engineering Lecturer
Tim Smith is a prior post-doctoral researcher at PEPL and presently a lecturer in the UM Aerospace Engineering department. For his dissertation research, he developed and validated a novel method for deconvolving xenon ion velocity distributions from laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) spectra, allowing unprecedented nonintrusive measurements of Hall thruster and ion engine plumes. Dr. Smith has 9 years of vacuum facility experience (with Hall thruster, ion engine, and hollow cathode tests) and 17 years of test experience with optical diagnostics for fluid dynamics, both passive (using emission spectroscopy) and active (LIF and optogalvanic spectroscopy with ring dye and extended-cavity diode lasers). Dr. Smith was the Principal Investigator on AFOSR program to design a magnetic deflector system to protect spacecraft laser communications systems from Hall thruster plume charge-exchange ions. He was also PI (in cooperation with Penn State) on a NASA effort to develop a low-intrusive fiber-optic plug for reentry vehicle TPS materials. His current research interests center around the modeling, development, and validation of advanced optical diagnostics for electric propulsion (EP) systems.
Dr. J.P. Sheehan,    Department of Aerospace Engineering Assistant Research Scientist
J. P. received his bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics in 2009 and his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics in 2012 from the University of Wisconsin - Madison (UW). At UW he studied the plasma sheath surrounding electron emitting surfaces, particularly as applied to emissive probe measurements of the plasma potential, through both theory and experiment. Currently he is working on developing the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster, a miniature plasma thruster for small satellites, and investigating the basic physics of plasma in converging/diverging magnetic nozzles.
  Graduate Students (Candidates)
Kimberly Trent,    NSF Fellow, Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellow, Ford Fellow, & NASA JPFP Fellow
Kimberly Trent graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Applied Physics and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include advanced propulsion and plasma physics. Her research focuses on measuring and characterizing the electron energy distribution functions (EEDFs) of cathode and Hall thruster plasmas and on finding ways to predictively control these distributions to increase electron populations that contribute to ionization. Thruster efficiency depends on its ability to ionize and accelerate propellant to high velocities, so increasing ionization would increase thruster efficiency, which would help enable more complex and extensive space missions. To address this research topic, Kimberly is currently conducting test cell experiments with a hollow cathode, the electron-producing component in Hall thrusters. In these experiments, she plans to investigate specific EEDF tailoring schemes to determine the most promising one, which she will then test out on a 6-kW thruster. Time-averaged EEDFs are calculated from measurements obtained using PEPL's High-speed dual Langmuir probe system (HDLP) along with upgraded data acquisition hardware.
Christopher Durot    
Chris graduated from Arizona State University in spring 2008 with degrees in physics and mathematics and then began studies in the Applied Physics program at Michigan in fall 2008. His research interests are in optical diagnostics of the plasma dynamics in Hall thrusters. He has done work on the cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRDS) and laser induced fluorescence (LIF) projects at PEPL and is currently focused on developing a time resolved LIF system at the lab.
  Graduate Students (Pre-Candidates)
Scott Hall,    NASA Space Technology Research Fellow
Scott received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University in the spring of 2012 and joined PEPL following graduation. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is a third year student whose research interest is high-power nested-channel Hall Thrusters and whose work will focus on characterizing the X3 100-kW class NHT.
Timothy Collard    
Timothy Collard graduated from the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2013. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate, his research focused on identifying ionic liquids suitable for dual-mode propulsion system and simulating their chemical and electrospray performance, as well as developing a two-phase cold gas propulsion system for microsatellites. Currently, he is working on the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster.
Ethan Dale,    NASA Space Technology Research Fellow
Ethan Dale graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2013. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate, his research focused on resonance probing of low temperature plasmas. Currently, he is working on the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster.
Frans Ebersohn,    NASA Space Technology Research Fellow
Frans received both his B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University. He joined PEPL in Fall 2013 and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. He performed research on magnetic nozzles physics for his Master's thesis and is continuing this work with specific application to the Cubesat Ambipolar Thruster. His current focus is primarily on numerical simulations of magnetic nozzles in an effort to optimize this technology for specific impulse and thrust. His research is funded by a NASA Office of Chief Technology Space Technology Research Fellowship.
Marcel Georgin    
Marcel completed his undergraduate degree in physics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. As an undergrad, his research experience included working with quantum dots, gamma ray detection, Mössbauer spectroscopy, simulation of magnetic fields in Hall Thrusters, and the development of teraHertz photonic components. His current research interests lie in the physics of advanced propulsion systems.
Sarah Cusson    
Sarah graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Astronautical Engineering in 2014. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan. During her undergraduate studies, her research focused on solid propulsion for hypersonic sounding rockets as well as the development of a methane liquid rocket engine. Her current research interests lie in advanced electric propulsion systems.
  Graduated Ph.D. Students
Michael Sekerak, Graduated University of Michigan in 2014, Ph.D.
thesis: Plasma Oscillations and Operational Modes in Hall Effect Thrusters.
status: Research Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
email: msekerak@umich.edu
Roland Florenz ,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2014, Ph.D.
Raymond Liang,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2013, Ph.D.
thesis: The Combination of Two Concentric Discharge Channels into a Nested Hall-Effect Thruster
status: Now R&D Engineer at Space Systems/Loral, LLC, Palo Alto, CA
email: rayliang@umich.edu
Adam Shabshelowitz,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2013, Ph.D.
thesis: Study of RF Plasma Technology Applied to Air-Breathing Electric Propulsion
status: Now member of the Technical Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA
email: shab@umich.edu
Laura Spencer,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2012, Ph.D.
thesis: The Study of CO2 Conversion in a Microwave Plasma/Catalyst System
status: Now Product Development Engineer, Federal-Mogul Corporation
email: l.f.spencer0@gmail.com
Michael McDonald,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2012, Ph.D.
thesis: Electron Transport in Hall Thrusters
status: Now at Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC
email: msmcdon@umich.edu
David Huang,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2011, Ph.D.
thesis: Study of Hall Thruster Discharge Channel Wall Erosion via Optical Diagnostics
status: Now Research Engineer in electric propulsion, NASA Glenn Research Center
email: wensheng.huang@nasa.gov
Ricky Tang,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2011, Ph.D.
thesis: Study of the Gasdynamic Mirror (GDM) Propulsion System
status: Now at Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright Patterson AFB)
email: tangr@umich.edu
Rohit Shastry,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2010, Ph.D.
thesis: Experimental Characterization of the Near-Wall Region in Hall Thrusters and its Implications on Performance and Lifetime
status: Now Research Engineer in electric propulsion, NASA Glenn Research Center
email: rohit.shastry@nasa.gov
Thomas M. Liu,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2010, Ph.D.
thesis: The Design Space of a Micro/Nano-Particle Electrostatic Propulsion System
status: Now a Research Engineer in the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
email: thomas.liu@aerospace.gatech.edu
Robert B. Lobbia,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2010, Ph.D.
thesis: A Time-resolved Investigation of the Hall Thruster Breathing Mode
status: Now Research Scientist in electric propulsion, Air Force Research Laboratory (Edwards AFB).
email: Robert.Lobbia.ctr@edwards.af.mil
Sonca V. T. Nguyen,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2009, Ph.D.
thesis: Hydrogen Production in a Radio-Frequency Plasma Source Operating on Water Vapor
status: Now Member of the Technical Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA.
email: sonca@umich.edu
Daniel L. Brown,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2009, Ph.D.
thesis: Investigation of Low Discharge Voltage Hall Thruster Characteristics and Evaluation of Loss Mechanisms
status: Now Research Scientist in electric propulsion, Air Force Research Laboratory (Edwards AFB).
email: daniel.brown.50@us.af.mil
Kristina M. Lemmer,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2009, Ph.D.
thesis: Use of a Helicon Source for Development of a Re-Entry Blackout Amelioration System
status: Now Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Western Michigan University.
email: kristina.lemmer@wmich.edu
website: http://www.wmich.edu/mae/faculty_and_staff.php
Bryan M. Reid,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2009, Ph.D.
thesis: The Influence of Neutral Flow Rate in the Operation of Hall Thrusters
status: Now Member of the Technical Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA.
email: bmreid@gmail.com
David E. Kirtley,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2008, Ph.D.
thesis: Study of the Synchronous Operation of an Annular Field Reversed Configuration Plasma Device
status: Now Propulsion Research Scientist at MSNW, LLC, Seattle, WA
email: dkirtley@msnwllc.com
Prashant R. Patel,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2008, Ph.D.
thesis: Automating Interplanetary Trajectory Generation for Electric Propulsion Trade Studies
status: Now Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses, Washington DC
email: ppatel@ida.org
Jesse A. Linnell,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2007, Ph.D.
thesis: An Evaluation of Krypton Propellant in Hall Thrusters
status: Now Member of the Technical Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA
email: jesse.linnell@gmail.com
Allen L. Victor,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2006, Ph.D.
thesis: Design and Utilization of a Top Hat Analyzer for Hall Thruster Plume Diagnostics
status: Now Member of the Technical Staff, Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, CA
email: allen.victor@aero.org
Joshua L. Rovey,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2005, Ph.D.
thesis: A Multiple-Cathode, High-Power, Rectangular Ion Thruster Discharge Chamber for Increasing Thruster Lifetime
status: Now Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Missouri University of Science & Technology, (formerly University of Missouri, Rolla), conducting electric propulsion research in his laboratory.
email: roveyj@mst.edu
website:http://mae.mst.edu/facultyandstaff/facultyrovey_1_08.html
Daniel A. Herman,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2005, Ph.D.
Mitchell L. R. Walker,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2005, Ph.D.
thesis: Effects of Facility Backpressure on the Performance and Plume of a Hall Thruster
status: Now Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, conducting electric propulsion research in his laboratory HPEPL
email: mitchell.walker@ae.gatech.edu
website:http://www.ae.gatech.edu/people/mwalker/
Peter Y. Peterson,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2004, Ph.D.
thesis: The Development and Characterization of a Two-Stage Hybrid Hall/Ion Thruster
status: Now and Engineerin in Electric Propulsion Systems for Aerojet – Redmond Operations, Redmond, WA
email: peter.peterson@aerojet.com
Richard R. Hofer,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2004, Ph.D.
thesis: Development and Characterization of High-Efficiency, High Specific Impulse Xenon Hall Thrusters
status: Now Research Scientist in electric propulsion, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
website:http://richard.hofer.com/
email: Richard.R.Hofer@jpl.nasa.gov
Brian E. Beal,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2004, Ph.D.
thesis: Clustering of Hall Effect Thruster for High-Power Electric Propulsion
status: Now Flight Programs Manager with the In-Space Propulsion Branch of Air Force Research Laboratory (Edwards AFB)
email: brian.beal.1@us.af.mil
James M. Haas,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2001, Ph.D.
thesis: Low-Perturbation Interrogation of the Internal and Near-field Plasma Structure of a Hall Thruster using a High-Speed Probe Positioning System
status: Now with Flight Systems Integration Branch, Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright-Patterson AFB).
email: james.haas.3@us.af.mil
George J. Williams Jr.,    Graduated University of Michigan in 2000, Ph.D.
thesis: The Use of Laser-Induced Fluorescence to Characterize Discharge Cathode Erosion in a 30 cm Ring-Cusp Ion Thruster
status: Now Research Scientist in electric propulsion, NASA Glenn Research Center
M. T. Domonkos,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1999, Ph.D.
thesis: Evaluation of Low-Current Orificed Hollow Cathodes
status: Now Research Scientist in directed energy, Air Force Research Laboratory (Kirtland AFB)
email: matt.domonkos@gmail.com
Jonathan L. Van Noord,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1999, Ph.D.
thesis: Thermal Model of an Ion Thruster
status: Lead Mechanical Engineer in Research, Space Physics Research Laboratory, University of Michigan.
email: noord@umich.edu
Frank S. Gulczinski III,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1999, Ph.D.
thesis: Examination of the Structure and Evolution of Ion Energy Properties of a 5 kW Class Laboratory Hall Effect Thruster at Various Operational Conditions
status: Now Deputy Chief (Acting) Energy, Power, and Thermal Division, Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright Patterson AFB)
Sang-Wook Kim,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1999, Ph.D.
Colleen M. Marrese,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1999, Ph.D.
Lyon B. King,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1998, Ph.D.
thesis: Transport-Property and Mass Spectral Measurements in the Plasma Exhaust Plume of a Hall-Effect Space Propulsion System
status: Now the Ron & Elaine Starr Professor in Space Systems Engineering, Michigan Technical University, conducting electric propulsion research at his Ion Space Propulsion (ISP) laboratory.
email: lbking@mtu.edu
John E. Foster,    Graduated University of Michigan in 1996, Ph.D.
  Graduated Masters Students
Ingrid Reese,    September 2012 - August 2014
research topic: Cubesat Ambipolar Thruster experiment
Christopher Bellant,     2009 - 2013
research topic: Plasma/material interactions
status: Now research engineer at Michigan Aerospace Corporation
Y. Li,    September 2006 - December 2007
research topic: Numerical Simulation of Hall Thruster Anode Injection
research topic: NanoFET PIC Modeling
status: Now engineer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Hawthorne, CA
L. Gritter,    January 2003 - May 2005
research topic: Plasma-wind tunnel measurements for the NASA SVETI project
status: Now engineer at Accurate Automation Corporation, Chattanooga, TN
T. Stindl,    June 2003 - November 2003
Visiting Graduate Student from the University of Stuttgart
Professor Monika Auweter-Kurtz of the University of Stuttgart is the PRINCIPAL ADVISOR
research topic: Plasma temperature and number density measurements in the plume of a high-power Hall thruster plume
L. Talerico,    September 2002 - December 2003
research topic: Supporting plasma-wind tunnel tests on the NASA URETI project
status: Now development engineer at Aerojet’s Electric Propulsion Center in Redmond, WA
D. McFarlane,    September 2002 - December 2003
research topic: Supporting tests to make internal ion engine
status: Now engineer in family-owned general aviation aircraft parts supplier
L. Craig,    September 2000 - September 2001
research topic: ExB probe operations
status: Now engineer in the NASA Mars exploration program, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
S. Malone,    September 1997 - May 1998
research topic: Development of a neutral particle flux probe for Hall thruster plume characterization
status: Now research and development engineer in electric propulsion, NASA Glenn Research Center
N. Majumdar,    January 1996 - May 1997
research topic: Development of a single-aperture retarding potential analyzer for Hall thruster plume characterization
status: Now engineer at Space Systems/Loral working on electric propulsion
M. Reichenbacher,    September 1992 - December 1994
research topic: End-Hall thruster plume diagnostics
status: Now engineer at Detroit Diesel Corporation
J. Spieth,    September 1992 - December 1993
research topic: Arcjet performance measurements
status: Now engineer at the Boeing Airplane Company
D. Rudra,    January 1992 - December 1993
research topic: Thrust measurement of electric thrusters
status: Now engineer at the Daimler-Chrysler Company
C. Clauss,    September 1991 - May 1993
research topic: Arcjet operations & PEPL build-up
status: Now electric propulsion engineer at the Atlantic Research Corporation
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