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: At AFIT, we are currently investigating different ways to optically measure and characterize turbulence in the lower atmosphere. Efforts such as these, along with meteorological observations can help improve the Directed Energy atmospheric propagation models.
The goal of the research this summer is to understand how turbulence changes with altitude in the lower atmosphere. A technique has been developed at AFIT that estimates turbulence using time-lapse imagery from cameras. By measuring the turbulence induced differential motion between features from time-lapse imagery of a single camera or from multiple cameras, turbulence distribution along an experimental path can be extracted. In the past, the method was successfully tested along a horizontal path using active LED sources as targets. Imaging of a multi-level building using a pair of cameras to understand the height dependence of turbulence also gave reasonable results. This summer, the experiment using active LED sources will be repeated, this time along a slant path. A bank of cameras will be placed on a 30 ft tower and images of several LEDs placed on the ground, some 2 km away from the tower will be captured. Images will be captured at different times during the day. The turbulence profiles extracted from the measurements should give an idea of how turbulence changes with altitude. The results will be compared to other turbulence measuring instruments such as sonic anemometers and the Hartmann Turbulence Sensor.