Student Presentations

Students at the Berkeley CUWiP will have two opportunities to present their original research, both on Sunday, January 19th. Student talks will be held in 3 parallel sessions to accomodate as many student speakers as possible. The student poster session will take place during lunch, after the talks, on the last day of the conference. Conference attendees and those presenting posters will be able to eat lunch and browse the posters at their leisure. An award will be presented for best poster.

Student Research Talks

Many techniques use terahertz radiation to study properties of matter. One prominent example is Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. EPR investigates unpaired electron spins in solids and liquids to reveal their local environment; in biology, it reveals critical structural information of proteins. At UCSB we have developed a high-field EPR spectrometer that excites and detects spins 100x faster than otherwise possible by using a Free Electron Laser (FEL) source, which provides high power at the frequencies necessary for high-field EPR. In EPR experiments, the FEL pulse is directed at a sample, where rapidly decaying signals emitted by the electron spins are measured by a detector. Since the FEL pulse travels through open space, some of this light pulse is scattered and reaches our detector, obscuring the signal from our sample. In order to realize the full potential of the spectrometer, it is crucial to minimize scattered light. Absorbers in the terahertz range exist, but are extremely costly and bulky. Hence, we have successfully designed and fabricated a compact, cost-effective absorber using a thin film technique. The absorber consists of a thin layer of plexiglass placed over a small volume of water, rendering destructive light interference and thus minimal reflections. Light not reflected back is absorbed by the water. Testing this new absorber with our Vector Network Analyzer shows absorption is optimal at 240 GHz, the frequency used for FEL EPR experiments. Further studies show that using a solution of water and glycerol increases the absorption to a range above that of absorbers currently available on the market, improving our initial design. Slides available here.
Little is known about mechanosensing and the means by which such stimuli are transduced. Information on cell viscoelasticity as a function of substrate stiffness and vimentin levels can lead to a larger composite model of cell mechanotrandsduction. Slides available here.
We examine the effect of active-sterile neutrino mixing on standard Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN). Sterile (right-handed) neutrinos would decouple at a much higher temperature than left-handed neutrinos. However, given a non-zero active-sterile mixing angle, the thermally-decoupled sterile neutrinos would affect thermally-coupled active neutrinos. Since the neutron-to-proton ratio depends sensitively on the population of electron neutrinos, and BBN on the neutron-to-proton ratio, active-sterile mixing could affect primordial abundances of light elements We simulate a simple system in which only electron neutrinos and sterile neutrinos oscillate between flavors. We then run ``standard" BBN (Wagoner, Fowler and Hoyle 1967) with a variety of mixing angles and mass differences. By matching observations of primordial elemental abundances and the results of BBN with active-sterile oscillations, we can limit the parameter space for rest mass and mixing angle of sterile neutrinos. Slides available here.
Machine learning is a valuable tool across many disciplines. We have used k-means clustering, an unsupervised learning method, to design a recommendation system to suggest professors to students based on both user input and peer review data. Slides available here.
The Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) will have a liquid natural argon detector optimized for detection of charged and neutral current neutrino events placed at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, 1300km from Fermi Lab and the origin of a neutrino beam line. Although the main objectives are long baseline measurements of Θ1,3, Δm1,3, and observation of CP violation; the large fiducial mass, long runtime of the experiment, and depth of the detector make it ideal for detection of supernova neutrinos. Furthermore, switching the detector to look at supernova neutrinos will take little effort only in the careful estimations of cosmogenic and intrinsic backgrounds and have a large payoff. The cosmogenically induced and intrinsic low energy backgrounds in the LBNE far detector were calculated for use in the detection of super nova neutrinos. The resulting cosmogenic background includes the energy spectrum from activation of the 40Ar detector medium by incident neutrons and protons. Lack of experimental data for muon, pion, etc cross sections precludes their inclusion in this background estimate, but suggests a variety of small scale experiments. The intrinsic background includes contributions from isotopes: 232Th, 238U, 60Co, 40K, 85Kr, and 39Ar. Estimates of decays per million nuclei were calculated. Slides available here.
2D heat conduction in a cylinder is represented by the heat equation in cylindrical coordinates. This was solved analytically using Bessel Functions due to the time dependent forcing on the boundaries. In addition to solving analytically, an experiment was conducted to verify theory with actual data. The experiment used a conduction cylindrical apparatus with a radius of 150 mm and height of 35 mm. An electric heater located in the center of the cylinder heated the apparatus while cool water from a water chiller flowed simultaneously around the outside. The heat equation was used to analyze the data from the experiment. Slides available here.
The search for a hypothetical ninth planet in our solar system, Tyche, resulted in the findings of a blackbody in the mid –infrared rang. This extreme carbon star is one of the few such candidates that tell us about carbon formation. Slides available here.
Understanding the physics of binary star systems is a rapidly developing field that is uncovering deep secrets of our elusive universe. Studying the evolution of double white dwarf binary systems with a carbon-oxygen accretor and a helium donor star is of specific interest to understanding progenitors of Type 1a supernovae, resolving population synthesis for galactic studies, and opening up new pathways for the study of gravitational wave emission. Slides available here. Please note that the videos are missing from the pdf version of this talk.
We implemented a lumped circuit model to extract often-overlooked solar cell parameters. In a new approach to the LBIC technique, we then used the broad wavelength range of a supercontinuum laser to try to extract these parameters on a spatial scale. Slides available here.

Student Poster Session

Rose Baunach, Whitman College - Thermal Conductivity Measurements of AlZrOx via the 3ω Method

Rachel Brunettii, Scripps College - College Cell Viscoelasticity as a Function of Substrate Stiffness Quantified by Atomic Force Microscopy

Andrea Derdzinski, University of California, Santa Cruz - The Pre-Explosive Evolution of Double Degenerate Binaries: Implications for the External Medium

Adrienne Ertel, University of California, Santa Cruz - A Typical Elliptical Galaxy:  Mass Profiles and Supernovae Enrichment

Xue Fan, University of California, Berkeley - Lithium Iridate Growth

Deanna Gelosi, University of California, Berkeley - Assessing Student Prior Knowledge with the Candle Problem

Lauren Gilbert, California Institute of Technology - Active-Sterile Neutrino Mixing In Big Bang Nucleosynthesis

Amandeep Gill, Sonoma State University - Undergraduate Skills Laboratories at Sonoma State University

Brianna Grado-White, University of California, Berkeley - PMT Properties in MiniCLEAN Simulations

Hannah Klion, California Institute of Technology - Gravitational Waves from Rapidly Rotating Core-Collapse Supernovae

Mackenzie Leake, Scripps College - Building a Professor Recommendation System Through K-means Clustering

Megan Long, University of Maine - Simulation of electron-ion recombination in high-pressure xenon gas with molecular additives in pursuit of directional dark matter detection

Jessica Luna, Colton - Ysovar: The Age of the Cepheus C Star Cluster

Kaitlyn Parsons, University of Colorado, Boulder - Fourier-Bessel Decomposition of Transient Heat Conduction in Cylindrical Coordinates

Samira Rezaei, Portland State University - Designing Low-Cost Prosthetic Arm

Kristine Rezai, University of California, Berkeley - A Magnetic Wire Trap for High Field Seeking Ultracold Neutrons

Tanmayi Sai, University of California, Santa Cruz - The Black Clouds

Maissa Salama, Univeristy of California, Berkeley - Gemini Planet Imager: Detecting Exoplanets by Direct Imaging

Emily Yang, Pomona College - High-Resolution Spatial Mapping of Thin-Film Photovoltaic Cells