Ian DesJardin

  • Program Year: 4
  • Academic Institution: University of Maryland, College Park
  • Field of Study: Aerospace Engineering
  • Academic Advisor: Christine Hartzell
  • Practicum(s):
    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (2021)
    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (2022)
  • Degree(s):
    B.S. Aerospace Engineering, and B.A. Mathematics, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2020

Summary of Research

The nonlinear interaction of objects in low Earth orbit with the space plasma environment has been hypothesized to cause precursor soliton plasma waves. These plasma-object interactions may leads to unique engineering applications, especially the detection of hazardous, sub-centimeter orbital debris that is undetectable by conventional methods. This nonlinear perturbation is governed by the forced Korteweg - De Vries partial differential equation. Understanding and characterizing these waves through simulation with an eye towards space-based and ground detection will enable technology development and an improved understanding of spacecraft interactions with the ambient low Earth orbit plasma environment.


Sikka, A., DesJardin, I., Leps, T., and Hartzell, C. Development of an Empirical Model of the Force between Paramagnetic Particles in Uniform Magnetic Field on M-Type Asteroids. The Planetary Science Journal, Vol. 4, No. 7, 2023, p. 129. https://doi.org/10.3847/PSJ/ace323.

DesJardin, I. M., and Hartzell, C. M., Ionospheric Interaction Based Detection of Sub-Centimeter Space Debris, presented at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference (AMOS), Wailea Beach Resort Marriott, Maui, Hawai'i, 2023.

DesJardin, I. M., & Hartzell, C. M. (2022). Nonlinear spectral analysis of ion acoustic solitons arising from a streaming charged object using the numerical inverse scattering transform. Physics of Plasmas, 29(11), 112116. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0122918

DesJardin, I., Hara, K., Tsikata, S. (2019). Nonlinear resonance of standing waves due to AC- driven electron cyclotron drift instabilities in partially magnetized plasmas. Appl. Phys. Lett. 115, 234103 (2019); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5131019.

Ball Trajectory Estimation System for a Robotic Arm that Catches Ping Pong Balls Presentation at SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference (Spring 2017, adviser Dr. Minghui Zheng)


Vela Fellowship Recipient, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Summer 2023
UMD Flagship Fellowship, Fall 2020
UMD Clark Doctoral Fellowship, Fall 2020
National Science Foundation GRFP Awardee, Spring 2020
Tau Beta Pi Spirit of Apollo Scholarship, Fall 2019
Goldwater Fellowship Finalist: Spring 2019
UB Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Chair's Award, 2019.
Aero Club of Buffalo Thomas Kopera Post-Secondary School Tuition Assistance Scholarship, Spring 2019.
UB SEAS Deans Award for Undergraduate Achievement, Spring 2018.
UB SEAS Student Leadership Award, Fall 2017.
Eagle Scout, awarded May 2015.