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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Dynamic Characterization of a Mechanical Waveguide
Disciplines:  Mechanical Engineering, Applied Physics
Mentor:  Chiara Daraio, Professor , (EAS),
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Behrooz Yousefzadeh,
Background:  In this project, we perform experiments on a table-top mechanical waveguide that can replicate wave phenomena from condensed matter physics and optics. Mechanical waves propagating through the waveguide behave in a way that is analogous to electrons flowing through a semiconductor or to light traveling through a photonic lattice. To achieve this functionality, we have devised an experimental setup that consists of a chain of repelling magnets. The aim of this project is to characterize the dynamic behavior of this waveguide and use it to replicate a phenomenon known as Bloch oscillations.
Description:  Our experimental setup consists of a chain of magnets floating on an air table. Each magnet is embedded in a 3D printed case that adds an additional mass, with different case designs resulting in different particle masses. We drive the system by moving the first unit harmonically using a shaker. We monitor the motion of the particles using a computer vision camera, and obtain the positions of the particles using digital image correlation (DIC).

The SURF student will contribute to the refinement of the setup and perform various experimental tests on the waveguide. The following list provides examples of tasks performed by the SURF student:

- Setting up the data acquisition system (DIC) and the excitation system (shaker)
- Working with the available DIC software and the accompanying Matlab code
- Performing dynamic tests on the waveguide
- Post-processing of data in Matlab
- Measuring the force-displacement relation between magnets
- Fabricating new pieces for the setup as required, e.g. 3D printing new holders
- Extending the setup to a two-dimensional array of magnets
References:  Relevant reading on periodic waveguides and Bloch oscillations:

J.D. Maynard, Wave propagation in arrays of scatters, Tutorial: Part 1, Acoustics Today, 4 (4), 12-21 (2008).

A. Arreola-Lucas et al., Mechanical rainbow trapping and Bloch oscillations in structured elastic beams, arXiv:1707.06558 (2017).
Student Requirements:  Practical laboratory experience (ability to conduct hands-on work in a shop-like environment) is required. Prior experience with Matlab programming will be advantageous.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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