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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

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. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

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

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Project:  Microscopy for Life Detection
Disciplines:  Biology/Bioengineering, Computer Science
Mentor:  Christian Lindensmith, (JPL), Christian.A.Lindensmith@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (818) 354-6697
Mentor URL:  https://scienceandtechnology.jpl.nasa.gov/people/c_lindensmith  (opens in new window)
Background:  We are developing advanced microscopes for terrestrial field use and potential proposal to planetary lander opportunities. These methods typically use simple optics combined with computational methods to make high throughput observations at high resolution. Multiple opportunities are possible depending on student interests and backgrounds.
Description:  Multiple types of project are possible, with a variety of subsets in each. All projects for 2021 will involve design, software development, or data analysis due limits on lab access. Most projects will involve processing and analysis of existing data, and/or development of tools for processing data. We have extensive data sets of field and laboratory data and are working to develop automated techniques for evaluating the data. Projects in this category would involve a combination of hand analysis of existing datasets and possible algorithm development to automate the processing, including comparison of the performance of automated methods with expert observations. Work in this category would include using and developing computer tools (starting from Matlab, ImageJ, or similar tools) for hand analysis and algorithm development. Interest in behavior of bacteria or fluid dynamics of small particles would be particularly valuable here.
References:  M. Bedrossian, C. Lindensmith, and J. L. Nadeau, "Digital Holographic Microscopy, a Method for Detection of Microorganisms in Plume Samples from Enceladus and Other Icy Worlds," (in English), Astrobiology, vol. 17, no. 9, pp. 913-925, Sep 2017.
A simple, robust implementation of a digital holographic microscope, J. Kent Wallace, Stephanie Rider, Gene Serabyn, Jonas Kuhn, Kurt Liewer, Jody Deming, Gordon Showalter, Chris Lindensmith and Jay Nadeau, Optics Express 23(13) 17367-17378 (2015).
"Using the Gouy phase anomaly to localize and track bacteria in digital holographic microscopy 4D images"
Gibson, True; Bedrossian, Manuel; Serabyn, Eugene; Lindensmith, Chris; Nadeau, Jay L. (2021) Journal of the Optical Society of America A 38(2) A11-A18
"Enhancing final image contrast in off-axis digital holography using residual fringes " https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.394231
"3D object position retrieval with the light-field camera and microscope " https://doi.org/10.1364/COSI.2019.JW2A.25
Student Requirements:  Some programming and software development ability is required, with preference for at least familiarity with Matlab, python (including Jupyter), Java, or ImageJ/FIJI. Familiarity with Fourier transforms and their properties is a plus, as is electricity and magnetism and properties of light. For data analysis oriented projects, some experience or interest in biological microscopy or observation of particles in flows is a plus.
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: .
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

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


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