Personnel

Graduate students, faculty, and laboratory staff inside PEPL’s Large Vacuum Test Facility (December 2017).

Faculty & Staff

Professor Alec D. Gallimore

Professor Alec D. Gallimore

Laboratory Director

Bio
Professor Benjamin A. Jorns

Professor Benjamin A. Jorns

Laboratory Co-Director

Bio
Dr. Tim Smith

Dr. Tim Smith

Lecturer

Bio
Professor Brian Gilchrist

Professor Brian Gilchrist

Affiliated Faculty

SPRL
Eric Viges

Eric Viges

Lead Test Engineer

EDA
Professor Alex Gorodetsky

Professor Alex Gorodetsky

Affiliated faculty

BIO

Doctoral Students

Zach Brown

Zach Brown

PhD Candidate

NSF Fellow
Zachariah is a fourth year Ph.D. student researching electric propulsion at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the effects of turbulence in Hall Thrusters and the development of advanced diagnostic methods such as Incoherent Thomson Scattering.

email: brownzac@umich.edu

Shadrach Hepner

Shadrach Hepner

PhD Candidate

NASA Space Technology Research Fellow
Shadrach started at PEPL in the Fall of 2016. Before that, he went to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he performed undergraduate research for the Propagation Group and the High Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory. He is currently doing his dissertation work on electron dynamics in the plume of a magnetic nozzle. Specifically, he is investigating the impact of instabilities on influencing electron cross-field transport.

email: shadrach@umich.edu

Ben Wachs

Ben Wachs

PhD Candidate

NASA Space Technology Research Fellow

Ben graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2015 where he worked on the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster project as an undergraduate researcher. He entered PEPL as a PhD student in the fall of 2016 and his current research is focused on optimizing the efficiency of low power Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) magnetic nozzle thrusters by employing frequency tuning and custom waveform techniques. His previous work included research on facility effects in magnetic nozzle thrusters.

email: bwachs@umich.edu

Josh Woods

Josh Woods

PhD Candidate

Joshua graduated from Columbia University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in the spring of 2016. He joined PEPL that fall. Currently, he is a fifth-year PhD Candidate studying Field-Reversed Configuration Thrusters.

email: jmwoods@umich.edu

Matt Byrne

Matt Byrne

PhD Candidate

Matthew graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a B.S in Physics in 2013, and an M.S. in Applied Physics in 2016. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Applied Physics Program at the University of Michigan. Matthew is studying the the interaction of spacecraft surfaces with the plume of Hall effect thrusters. He uses data-driven statistical methods to predict how the operation of these thrusters changes from ground testing conditions to those found on orbit in order to estimate how the thruster plasma effects a spacecraft.

email: mpbyrne@umich.edu

Leanne Su

Leanne Su

PhD Candidate

NSF Fellow
Leanne graduated with a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Washington in 2018, where she researched plasma velocity behavior in the acceleration region of Z-pinch plasma formation. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Aerospace Engineering program at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the performance of high-power Hall thrusters, including investigations into nested configurations and alternate propellants.

email: leannesu@umich.edu

website: leanne.space

Chris Sercel

Chris Sercel

PhD Candidate

NASA Space Technology Research Fellow

Chris graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Physics in 2017. After graduation, he worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a year developing a cryo-vacuum facility for the Europa Lander project. He joined PEPL in the Fall of 2018 as an Aerospace Engineering PhD student. His research focuses on the development of Rotating Magnetic Field Field-Reversed Configuration (RMF FRC) thrusters.

email: csercel@umich.edu

Thomas Marks

Thomas Marks

PhD Candidate

Thomas Marks graduated from Texas A&M University in May 2018 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. He joined PEPL in fall 2018. He studies numerical modelling of electric propulsion device physics and is currently working on applying data-driven methods to improve predictive modelling of Hall thrusters and magnetic nozzles.

email: marksta@umich.edu

website: thomasmarks.space

Tate Gill

Tate Gill

PhD Candidate

NASA Space Technology Research Fellow

Tate Gill graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in May 2018. From there, he came to Ann Arbor and in December 2019 received an M.S.E in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. During his master’s, he worked on developing a pulsed power system for use with the Rotating Magnetic Field Field-Reversed Configuration thruster project. He now joins PEPL as a Ph.D. student to continue to study advanced pulsed propulsion concepts.

email: tategill@umich.edu

Collin B. Whittaker

Collin B. Whittaker

PhD Candidate

NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity Fellow

Collin received his BS in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Spring of 2019, where he worked with the High-Power Electric Propulsion Laboratory. He joined PEPL as a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering that Fall. His research focuses on electrospray propulsion, with a goal of developing sub-kilowatt class arrays for SmallSat applications. email: cbwhitt@umich.edu

Parker Roberts

Parker Roberts

PhD Candidate

NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity Fellow

Parker graduated from Berry College in May 2020 with a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics. He joined PEPL in the fall of 2020 as a Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering. He spent two summers working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on validation testing of the Hall-Effect Rocket with Magnetic Shielding (HERMeS) for the Lunar Gateway spacecraft. His current research focuses on investigating particle transport, oscillations, and facility effects in high-power Hall thrusters using non-invasive laser plasma diagnostics including Laser-Induced Fluorescence and Incoherent Thomson Scattering.

email: pjrob@umich.edu

Sophia Bergmann

Sophia Bergmann

PhD Pre-Candidate

Sophia graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and a B.S in Physics in May 2020 from the University of Florida. She joined PEPL in the fall of 2020 as a Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering. Her current research foci are efficiency optimization and investigation of alternative propellants for Electron Cyclotron Resonance (ECR) magnetic nozzle thrusters.

email: boldlygo@umich.edu

Madison Allen

PhD Pre-Candidate

Madison is a first year PhD student at PEPL

email: mgallen@umich.edu

Will Hurley

Will Hurley

PhD Pre-Candidate

Will graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2021 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He joined PEPL in the fall of 2021 as a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering. His current research interest is in high powered high current density Hall Thrusters.

email: wjhurley@umich.edu

Master’s Students