Dr. Tim Smith

Tim Smith is a prior post-doctoral researcher at PEPL and presently a lecturer in the UM Aerospace Engineering department. For his dissertation research, he developed and validated a novel method for deconvolving xenon ion velocity distributions from laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) spectra, allowing unprecedented nonintrusive measurements of Hall thruster and ion engine plumes. Dr. Smith has 9 years of vacuum facility experience (with Hall thruster, ion engine, and hollow cathode tests) and 17 years of test experience with optical diagnostics for fluid dynamics, both passive (using emission spectroscopy) and active (LIF and optogalvanic spectroscopy with ring dye and extended-cavity diode lasers). Dr. Smith was the Principal Investigator on AFOSR program to design a magnetic deflector system to protect spacecraft laser communications systems from Hall thruster plume charge-exchange ions. He was also PI (in cooperation with Penn State) on a NASA effort to develop a low-intrusive fiber-optic plug for reentry vehicle TPS materials. His current research interests center around the modeling, development, and validation of advanced optical diagnostics for electric propulsion (EP) systems.