Welcome to the Aerospace Plasma Lab!
If you are interested in challenging research that applies plasma to aerospace engineering problems, please send a resume to Dr. Rovey.

Undergraduate Students
Applications accepted during early Fall (August) and early Spring (January) terms, please send a resume to Dr. Rovey.

Graduate Students (M.S. and Ph.D.)
Applications accepted at any time, please send a resume to Dr. Rovey.
  • Minimum GPA: 3.5
  • Background in Aerospace, Mechanical, Nuclear, Physics or related field
  • Research opportunities for on-going projects include:
    1. High-power pulsed inductive plasma –Investigating alternative preionization schemes, investigating DC, inductive RF and capacitive RF discharges as pre-ionization for high-power pulsed inductive plasmas for space propulsion
    2. High-power pulsed inductive plasma – modeling of the gas breakdown process of pulsed inductive plasmas, explaining decades old anomalous breakdown phenomena, developing capability to predict the breakdown time based on input electric and magnetic field waveforms for space propulsion
    3. Multi-mode propellant characterization – spotplate and catalyst bed testing of new novel ionic liquid propellants designed for both chemical and electric rocket application, microtube chemical thruster testing
    4. Nano/CubeSat Propulsion Integration – developing and executing an integration plan for catalytic microtube thrusters onto a small spacecraft platform.  Building off of recent advances in novel ionic liquid multi-mode propellants tested in a microtube chemical thruster, determine the procedures and requirements for integrating this thruster(s) onto a small S/C platform
    5. Plasma actuators for supersonic drag reduction – literature review of supersonic plasma actuators, subsonic or supersonic wind tunnel experiments with novel plasma actuators, designing an experimental setup for force/drag measurements in supersonic wind tunnel
    6. Plasma actuators for metamaterials/reconfigurable metamaterials/photonic crystals – atmospheric pressure single dielectric barrier discharge plasma studies, study of plasma striation arrangement patterns, and the effect of voltage, frequency, dielectric constant on plasma behavior
    7. Plasma-surface interactions – sputtering and secondary electron emission from ceramic materials with modified composition, grain microstructure, surface roughness due to plasma exposure
    8. Project of the student’s own choosing – a project idea initiated by the student
  • Students regularly attend and present papers at major national conferences, such as AIAA Scitech, AIAA Joint Propulsion, International Electric Propulsion Conferences
  • Gradstudents should expect to publish their research in major peer-reviewed journals, such as AIAA Journal, AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power, Journal of Applied Physics, Physics of Plasma, and IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
  • Funding opportunities: