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ECE and ME members participate in the American Physical Society’s Four Corners Meeting

October 30, 2020 - by Kim Delker

The University of New Mexico hosted the American Physical Society’s Four Corners Virtual Meeting on October 23-24, with several students and faculty from the School of Engineering participating.

photo of Sandra Biedron and colleague
Gérard Mourou and Sandra Biedron in 2019

David Dunlap, UNM physics professor, served as the conference chair.

UNM research professor Sandra Biedron’s group, which is spread between the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, had several interrelated and multidisciplinary research activities represented, including those in artificial intelligence for design, control, and monitoring; particle accelerator and laser engineering; RF engineering; high-energy physics; quantum systems; systems engineering; and materials.

Jorge Alberto Diaz Cruz, a Ph.D. candidate in electrical and computer engineering, gave a talk on “Machine Learning-based LLRF control system for superconducting cavities” about his work at the Department of Energy’s Stanford Linear Accelerator Center on the research infrastructure project for the LCLS-II (Linac Coherent Light Source), a free-electron laser, with Dr. Alessandro Ratti. He spoke in the Nuclear Physics session.

Aasma Aslam, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNM, discussed “Convolutional neural network-based modeling of an ultrafast laser,” used for a laser-driven particle accelerator at the University of Michigan in one of the Computational Physics sessions. This work is being performed with the colleagues at the Gérard Mourou Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, named after its former Nobel Prize-winning director, Gérard Mourou. Mourou and Biedron, along with other distinguished colleagues, were invited delegates together at the U.S. State Department event “Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) Dialogue,” in 2019 in the Czech Republic.

Reza Pirayeshshirazinezhad, a Ph.D. candidate in UNM’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, gave the talk, “Precision controls for the Virtual Telescope for X-ray Observations (VTXO),” in one of the Astrophysics sessions regarding the studies for a two-satellite system that is investigating the nature of space, including black holes, the collisions of stars, monitoring solar flares, and looking for extraterrestrial life.

Terrance Schaub, a new Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, gave the talk “Searching for Sterile Neutrinos and Accelerator Produced Dark Matter with the Coherent CAPTAIN-Mills (CCM) Detector at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center,” that highlights the delicate balance and synergy between particle accelerator-driven research infrastructures with the end-user experiments including high-energy physics user experiments with our collaborators at Los Alamos National Laboratory, namely Dr. Bill Louis and Dr. Richard van der Water.

Salvador Sosa, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNM, gave two presentations on behalf of the team. The first was “Electromagnetic analysis of radiofrequency accelerating structures using VSim,” discussing linear accelerators for medical applications with Albuquerque-based Ion Linac Systems and accelerating structures for compact accelerators including those with our collaborators, including Bruce Carlsten, at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Also, John Cary of Tech-X Corporation is collaborating with his Vsim code. He highlighted Trudy Bolin’s research, who is a research scholar and is also pursuing her Ph.D. in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNM. This first talk was in the Nuclear Physics session. His second talk was in a Quantum Information session that discussed a novel quantum computing system architecture and was entitled “A machine-learned model for quick access to analytic solutions of a QIS system.” This research is in collaboration with Brookhaven National Laboratory with Kevin Brown, Stony Brook University with graduate student Bohang Huang, and with the University of Southern California with graduate student Clio Gonzalez-Zacarias.

Mariana Fazio, a postdoctoral researcher at UNM’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, gave the talk in a Materials session on a new Department of Energy EPSCoR program on “Rapid Throughout of an MeV Ultrafast Electron Diffraction Instrument System,” in collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory. More details on this recent grant including all of the participants can be found in a recent press release.

One of the key collaborators on this program at LANL, Alan Hurd, is a senior materials scientist as well as a senior advisor in LANL’s National Security Education Center. He also helps the laboratory partner on EPSCoR projects. He gave a talk “Research Collaboration Opportunities with Los Alamos.” A colleague from Sandia National Laboratories, Diane Peebles, gave a similar talk on opportunities at Sandia.

Joel Williams is Professor Biedron’s Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University, where she holds affiliate professorships in both electrical and computer engineering (College of Engineering) and in environmental and radiological health sciences (College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences). He gave a talk and a poster. His talk was in a Materials session to highlight the probes the team helps design and build for materials science: “Thoughts on Next Generation X-ray Free-Electron Lasers.” This work was done under an elite DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program grant from Basic Energy Sciences in the area Accelerator and Detector Research and Development. His poster dealt with the electron beam diagnostics in particle accelerator systems “Non-Invasive Electron Beam Diagnostics for High-Average Currents.” He and Biedron worked with Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and Los Alamos National Laboratory on this work.

Biedron is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the SPIE - The International Society for Optics and Photonics. She is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Optical Society of America. In 2018, she won the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society’s Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award, and in 2010 she received a Letter of Commendation from the Chief of Naval Research. She is a trustee of the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (2020). When she is not advising her nine graduate students and two postdoctoral researchers and doing research, she is homeschooling her 10-year old son.