Personnel

You will find here the list of active members of the EPPDyL. Past members and their last known whereabouts can be found here.

Faculty

Edgar Choueiri

Education
  • Ph.D. - Princeton University, 1991
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

D432

Biography

Edgar Choueiri is Chief Scientist and Director at EPPDyL. He is tenured Professor in the Applied Physics Group in the MAE Department and Associated Faculty at the Astrophysical Sciences Department/Program in Plasma Physics. He is also member of the Engineering Physics Program at Princeton. Prof. Choueiri is the author of numerous papers on plasma physics, instabilities and turbulence in collisional plasmas, plasma accelerator modeling, space physics and applied mathematics.

Prof. Choueiri is the author of more than 140 journal articles, conference papers and encyclopedia articles on advanced space propulsion, plasma physics, instabilities and turbulence in collisional plasmas, plasma accelerator propulsion, space physics and applied mathematics. He has been an invited speaker on more than 50 occasions at symposia and leading institutions in the USA, Russia, China, Japan, Poland, Lebanon, Turkey, UAE, Brazil and many countries in Western Europe. He was Chair of AIAA's Electric Propulsion Technical Committee (EPTC) from 2002 to 2004 and is the present President of the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, whose members include hundreds of scientists working on plasma propulsion for spacecraft in more than 15 countries. He is currently Principal Investigator (PI) on three government-funded research projects at EPPDyL, was the PI on more than 25 research projects funded by NASA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Science Foundation, and has been PI and Co-PI on two space experiments and was selected by NASA in 2004 to lead a team of NASA and academic researchers on a 3-year project to develop a high-power plasma rocket system for the robotic and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

He has advised more than a hundred students at Princeton University, currently advises 6 PhD students, and has graduated 10 PhD students, 8 of whom are currently working as research scientists in plasma physics or space propulsion.

He has developed new courses at Princeton in astronautics, applied physics and advanced space propulsion.

Prof. Choueiri's publication list can be found here

Robert "Bob" Jahn

Office
Engineering Quadrangle

D332

Biography

Professor Jahn is Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and has been chairman of the AIAA Electric Propulsion Technical Committee, associate editor of the AIAA Journal, and a member of the NASA Space Science and Technology Advisory Committee. He is vice President of the Society for Scientific Exploration and President of the International Consciousness Research Laboratories consortium. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Hercules, Inc. and chairman of its Technology Committee, and has been a member and past chairman of the Board of Trustees of Associated Universities, Inc. He has received the Curtis W. McGraw Research Award of the American Society of Engineering Education and holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Andrha University.

Graduate Students

Matthew Feldman

Education
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2009
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04

Resume

Biography

I grew up in Dallas, Texas and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech in 2009. After tutoring professionally for AP science and math courses, I began my study in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department at Princeton University in 2010. I am currently in my sixth year at the Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Lab.

Research Interests

At Princeton, I have had the opportunity to study a variety of novel plasma propulsion devices. My first project was an investigation into the potential for a Single-Stage FARAD which is a type of Pulsed Inductive Thruster (PIT). More recently, I used a particle-in-cell plasma code (LSP Suite) to study the ambipolar motion in an electrostatic wave-powered Magnetic Null Thruster. My thesis work is concerned with a new thruster concept, the Direct Wave-Drive Thruster (DWDT), that is born out of understandings from the previous projects. Specifically, I am investigating the interaction between a wave-launching antenna and a freely expanding plasma to determine the potential momentum transfer and associated thrust efficiency. In addition to developing analytical scaling laws for this thruster, I have designed an experiment to serve as a proof-of-concept to the DWDT.

Christopher Wordingham

Education
  • B.S.E., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Alabama Huntsville, 2012
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04B

Resume

Biography

While originally from California, I spent the majority of my life in the mountains of North Carolina and graduated with a BSE in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I have been interested in space propulsion for longer than I can remember, and the elegance and utility of electric propulsion brought me to Princeton University following my work at ESI Group as a cooperative education student and at Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Space Grant intern.

Will Coogan

Education
  • B.S. Physics, Indiana University, 2013
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04A

Resume

Biography

I graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Physics in 2013. Previously, I had studied music at Jacobs School of Music and worked as a carpenter.

Research Interests

I currently work on the lithium Lorentz force accelerator (LiLFA) along with Michael Hepler. I constructed a new thrust stand, which directly measures the applied-field component of the thrust generated by the LiLFA. This will help determine the means by which the applied field generates thrust. I previously developed the dynamic resistance probe (DRP) for measuring mass flux and propellant deposition for the LiLFA, and more generally for condensible propellant thrusters.

Sebastián Rojas Mata

Education
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2013
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04

Biography

Originally from Escazú, Costa Rica, I earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Caltech in 2013 with an emphasis on fluids and combustion. I then moved to Princeton to pursue a PhD degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, concentrating on electric propulsion. Initially interested in compressible and reacting flows, adding electric propulsion to the mix consolidated my overall interest in space propulsion.

Research Interests

My research involves developing a software tool to aid the study of dispersion relations which arise in Hall effect thrusters. These thrusters typically consist of an annular channel with a radial magnetic field and an axial electric field. The axial cross-field electron current measured in experiments is underestimated by existing electron transport models, which to date do not capture a fully self-consistent approach to turbulent transport induced by oscillations. Hall thruster plasmas can develop many different types of oscillations, so knowing which ones to include in transport models or as part of experimental investigations is not a straightforward task. The tool I am developing is intended to give guidance when deciding which oscillation modes are the most relevant given a certain Hall thruster configuration.

Pierre-Yves Taunay

Education
  • M.S. Aerospace Engineering - Penn State University, 2012
  • Diplome d'Ingénieur - Ecole Centrale de Nantes, 2012
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04B

Biography

I am originally from Roanne, France. I received a Master in General Engineering from the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, as well as a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University after studying a miniature microwave ion thruster. After working for two years at the Institute of Cyberscience as a Software Engineer at Penn State, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Princeton in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Research Interests

I am currently involved with the microwave controlled hollow cathode project. I am studying coupling between thermionic emission and microwave radiation.

Undergraduate Students

Jack Hollingsworth

Education
  • B.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - Princeton University, 2017
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04

Biography

I'm a senior in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department from Wilmington, Delaware. My interests lie in both manned and unmanned space exploration. I have previously interned in the EPPDyL via PPPL's Program in Plasma Science and Technology (PPST), where I designed, fabricated, and successfully tested a Langmuir probe to characterize the plasma plume of the microwave-controlled hollow cathode experiment.

Research Interests

I am currently designing and building a graphite cathode for the lithium Lorentz force accelerator. The cathode will serve as a backup to the current tungsten cathode while also providing information on both the feasibility of graphite as a cathode material and whether cathode geometry affects thrust production.

Josh Umansky-Castro

Education
  • B.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - Princeton University, 2017
Office
Engineering Quadrangle

G04

Resume

Biography

I’m a senior in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department with an intended certificate in Robotics and Intelligent Systems. Interested in space exploration, I have thoroughly enjoyed courses in orbital mechanics and spacecraft design, and hope to develop a strong understanding of electric propulsion through my thesis work with the EPPDyL.

Research Interests

For my independent work, I am designing and prototyping a video diagnostic system for the lithium Lorentz force accelerator (LiLFA). A live feed will allow researchers to observe the onset phenomenon, correlating electrical arcs to the large voltage oscillations being read, and will also help facilitate the thruster firing procedure by providing convenient visual confirmation of propellant priming. The camera will need to survive in a vacuum under high temperatures, and be able to maintain visual as the lithium propellant condenses on all surfaces of the tank.