Research

Fornax Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy - ESO/Digital Sky Survey 2

Star Formation in Galaxies

The details of early star formation in galaxies and how it is affected by various physical processes and other galaxies are still unclear. I am measuring chemical abundances in stellar spectra attained with DEIMOS – an optical, multi-slit spectrograph on Keck II – in several satellite dwarf spheroidal galaxies and globular clusters to investigate this question. Elemental isotopes abundances are an important source of information because they can be traced thorough our understanding of stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis back to their source (ex: AGB, SN Ia). These nucleosynthetic sources have different timescales which can be used with chemical evolution models to measure a finely resolved star formation history.


Zwicky Transient Facility Camera Diagram - Caltech Optical Observatories

ZTF Instrumentation

The Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) is the next generation of the optical, time-domain survey iPTF and will be commissioned in 2017. ZTF has a 47 square degree field of view camera composed of sixteen 6144x6160 pixel CCDs. ZTF will attain a very precise flat focus plane by positioning the CCDs carefully in the lab, installing the camera on the Palomar 48-inch telescope, testing the CCD height and tilt to within 10 microns, and bringing the camera back to Caltech to perform a final adjustment following the tests recommendations. I have developed this test to accurately map each of the CCDs height and tilt, and have tested it on the current iPTF CCD array.


Tidal Disruption Event Simulation - Guillochon et al. 2014, ApJ, 783, 23

Tidal Disruption Events

As part of the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) collaboration I planned and executed iPTF observation runs on Keck and Palomar, in addition to updating the website used to keep track of all transients and follow-up observations (iPTF Marshal). You can see the Astronomer's telegraphs announcing new transient classifications based on spectroscopy here.

A paper is currently in preparation analyzing an extremely luminous, spectrally featureless tidal disruption event discovered with iPTF. Stay tuned!


Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) - University of California, Santa Barbara

Previous Research

MKIDs

Ben Mazin's lab designs, tests and uses Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs). MKID arrays are composed of thousands individual LC resonators, where each resonator functions as an independent pixel and detects the arrival time and energy of every photon absorbed in its wavelength range. My research included both instrumentation and data analysis. I wrote programs to analyze and compare the functional properties of different versions of MKIDs. The quantum efficiency test bed and software I wrote accurately predicted the throughput of the ARCONS camera. I also aided in finding the eclipse times and calculating the period rate of change of SDSS J0926+3624 (an eclipsing AM CVn system).

Szypryt, P.; Duggan, G. E.; Mazin, B. A.; Meeker, S. R.; Strader, M. J.; van Eyken, J. C.; Marsden, D.; O'Brien, K.; Walter, A. B.; Ulbricht, G.; Prince, T. A.; Stoughton, C.; Bumble, B., "Direct detection of SDSS J0926+3624 orbital expansion with ARCONS", 2014, MNRAS, 439, 2765

Mazin, B. A.; Meeker, S. R.; Strader, M. J.; Szypryt, P.; Marsden, D.; van Eyken, J. C.; Duggan, G. E.; Walter, A. B.; Ulbricht, G.; Johnson, M.; Bumble, B.; O'Brien, K.; Stoughton, C., "ARCONS: A 2024 Pixel Optical through Near-IR Cryogenic Imaging Spectrophotometer", 2013, PASP, 125, 1348

Mechanics of Biopolymers

My first research experience was working with Omar Saleh in a biophysics laboratory using magnetic tweezers to investigate the dependence of the tensile response of charged copolymers (single-stranded DNA in this case) on the DNA sequence and salt concentration solution.

McIntosh, Dustin B.; Duggan, Gina; Gouil, Quentin; Saleh, Omar A., "Sequence-Dependent Elasticity and Electrostatics of Single-Stranded DNA: Signatures of Base-Stacking", 2014, Biophysical Journal, 106, 659