The Center for Directed Energy provides summer internship opportunities in STEM, beginning in May 2021 for a duration of 10 to 12 weeks. Each intern is matched to specific projects and mentors for this duration. Interns are paid an hourly rate as contractors and are part of the Center staff here at Wright-Patterson AFB. Relocation and travel are not provided, however, some projects will be able to be completed remotely. Phone interviews will follow for selected applicants.
Project Description: The problem of high energy laser (HEL) thermal blooming due to absorption by atmospheric aerosols will be systematically investigated through laboratory experiments and field tests in conjunction with high fidelity model development and execution. Employing AFIT’s 2.5-5.0 kW laser, which has been adapted and approved for HEL testing, the student will monitor thermal blooming during the laser’s operation and correlate these results with simultaneously measured aerosol distributions.
Aerosol/Particulate absorption is a key, not well-understood–parameter that can greatly affect the effectiveness of DoD high energy laser (HEL) employment. Furthermore, the lack of understanding and quantification of aerosol absorption leads to much greater uncertainty in anticipating climate change effects worldwide. Propagation testing of HELs offers methods to directly measure bulk aerosol absorption effects through off-axis scattering quantification (absorption effects on phase function) and on-axis thermal blooming effects on HELs.