SUNY Oneonta News

November 5, 2010
 

SUNY ONEONTA STUDENT TO PRESENT
RESEARCH ON SUBATOMIC PARTICLES
AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE

 

ONEONTA, N.Y. -- Luke D'Imperio will have a national audience next week when he shares the results of research that he conducted as an intern at Princeton University last summer. The SUNY Oneonta physics major‹who studied ways to control high-energy particle beams at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) from late June through the end of August‹has been invited to present his findings at the annual American Physical Society (APS) conference in Chicago November 8-12.

D'Imperio's session is entitled "Measurement of Collective-Mode Oscillationsof the Beam Envelope in the Paul Trap Simulator Experiment."
The Paul Trap Simulator is a small particle accelerator used
to confine (or trap) charged particles, like electrons, for study. D'Imperio researched how charged particles behave when they are accelerated to near light speed and then exposed to powerful magnetic fields. "The goal of my experiment was to better understand how matter behaves at its smallest level," explains D'Imperio, "and to find a way to do it that's less expensive than using large, high-energy accelerators."

Luke D'Imperio working in a physics lab at SUNY Oneonta Luke D'Imperio working in a physics lab at SUNY Oneonta

D'Imperio was one of 48 college students from across the United States invited to participate in the PPPL's prestigious Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program last summer. The program begins with a week of lectures by leading science educators and intensive course work in plasma physics. Then each student spends the next nine weeks executing and documenting a project in the lab.

The PPPL is a U.S. Department of Energy facility managed by Princeton University. Its mission is to nurture research in plasma science and technology, and to educate the next generation of scientists that will work toward developing fusion as an energy source.

"It's pretty awesome," says D'Imperio. "Getting hands-on experience at a facility like PPPL, and then going to national conference attended by some of the field's top scientists is incredible."

Dr. Hugh Gallagher, who chairs the Physics and Astronomy Department at SUNY Oneonta, had involved D'Imperio in SUNY Research Foundation projects as a freshman and sophomore. He says he's thrilled that D'Imperio was selected to showcase his work.

"It's always gratifying when a student makes the absolute most of an opportunity, but it doesn't surprise me that Luke's presenting in front of the APS," says Gallagher. "He's earned it."

Now in his senior year, D'Imperio is eyeing graduate schools. "This presentation is exciting," he says, adding, "I'm also hoping to rub elbows with faculty from a few universities while at the conference in Chicago because plasma physics is what I want to do for my career."


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