THOMAS HEUSER, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, has earned a Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program award. This award supports graduate thesis research conducted at a DOE laboratory or facility and aims to prepare graduate students for a career in science, technology, math or engineering.
As part of this program, Heuser will head to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to explore how electronic devices made with different materials degrade after long-term exposure to the space radiation environment. Many of the electronic devices currently used on spacecraft are irreparably damaged by this kind of exposure, which would occur during lengthy space explorations. Heuser will study what kinds of defects cause degradation and whether or not those defects can be repaired by annealing – a type of heat treatment process. His goal is to produce devices that are naturally hardened against radiation damage or devices that can be easily repaired and reused after experiencing such damage.
“I’m very excited to have received this award because this opportunity will be invaluable in advancing my research,” said Heuser. “Additionally, I’m looking forward to the seeing what working at a national laboratory is like, and exploring hiking trails in New Mexico in my free time.”
Thomas Heuser (Photo: Ateeq Suria)