Kathleen Weichman

  • Program Year: 4
  • Academic Institution: University of Texas
  • Field of Study: Physics
  • Academic Advisor: Michael Downer
  • Practicum(s):
    Los Alamos National Laboratory (2016)
    Los Alamos National Laboratory (2017)
  • Degree(s):
    B.S. Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013

Summary of Research

My work centers on understanding differences between idealized and experimental laser wakefield acceleration (LWFA). LWFA is a form of laser-driven electron acceleration in a plasma in which an ultrashort relativistic laser pulse produces a nonlinear plasma wave characterized by a bubble nearly devoid of electrons. Electrons injected into this bubble experience a large accelerating electric field and can gain up to several GeV of energy in less than 10 cm. However, simulations overestimate both the peak energy and the monoenergetic nature of the electron spectrum. Experimental laser pulses have significant non-uniformities which are often ignored in these simulations. My current work aims to understand the effects of the laser pulse profile on bubble formation and electron injection by simulating laser pulses with similar characteristics as are experimentally measured.

Publications

Presentations
K Weichman, V. Roytershteyn, and G.L. Delzanno. Stability of Pick-up Ion Rings in the Outer Heliosheath. Presented at: Los Alamos National Laboratory, September 7, 2017; Los Alamos, NM.

K. Weichman, G.L. Delzanno, K.O. Rasmussen, and M. Rosenberg. Plasma Treatment of Cancer: Selective Electrostatic Disruption of Cancer Cells. Presented at: Los Alamos National Laboratory, August 18, 2016; Los Alamos, NM.

K. Weichman, A.V. Higuera, D.T. Abell, B. Cowan, N. Fazel, J.R. Cary, and M.C. Downer. Interaction Between Laser Pulses and Trailing Wakefields Intersecting at Small Angle for LWFA Charge Yield Enhancement. Paper presented at: Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop, July 31 - August 5 2016; National Harbor, MD.

K. Weichman, A.V. Higuera, D.T. Abell, B. Cowan, N. Fazel, J.R. Cary, and M.C. Downer. Modeling Laser Wakefield Acceleration on the Texas Petawatt Laser with Multiple Hot Spots. Poster presented at: Advanced Accelerator Concepts Workshop, July 31 - August 5 2016; National Harbor, MD.

K. Weichman, A.V. Higuera, D.T. Abell, B. Cowan, J.R. Cary, and M.C. Downer. Laser Wakefield Acceleration with Small-Angle Colliding Pulses. Poster presented at: DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship 2016 Program Review, July 25-28 2016, Arlington, VA.

K. Weichman, G.L. Delzanno, K.O. Rasmussen, and M. Rosenberg. Plasma Treatment of Cancer: Selective Electrostatic Disruption of Cancer Cells. Presented at: Los Alamos National Laboratory, July 21, 2016; Los Alamos, NM.

K. Weichman, A.V. Higuera, D.T. Abell, B. Cowan, N. Fazel, J.R. Cary, and M.C. Downer. Envelope Model Simulation of Laser Wakefield Acceleration with Realistic Laser Pulses from the Texas Petawatt. Poster presented at: 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, November 16-20 2015; Savannah, GA.

J.M. Shaw, H.-E. Tsai, R. Zgadzaj, X. Wang, Y.-Y. Chang, N. Fazel, W. Henderson, and M.C. Downer. Compton MeV Gamma-ray Source on Texas Petawatt Laser-Driven GeV Electron Accelerator. Presented by K. Weichman at: 57th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, November 16-20 2015; Savannah, GA.

K. Weichman, A. V. Higuera, D. T. Abell, B. Cowan, N. Fazel, J. M. Shaw, R. Zgadzaj, J. R. Cary, and M. C. Downer. Simulation of Laser Wakefield Acceleration for Past and Future Experiments at the Texas Petawatt. Presented at: Los Alamos National Laboratory, October 26 2015; Los Alamos, NM.

K. Weichman, A.V. Higuera, D.T. Abell, B. Cowan, N. Fazel, J.R. Cary, and M.C. Downer. Envelope Model Simulation of Experimentally Measured Laser Pulses at the Texas Petawatt. Poster presented at: 24th International Conference on Numerical Simulation of Plasmas, August 12-14 2015; Golden, CO.

K. Weichman, R.L. Berger, T.D. Chapman, S.H. Langer, and C. Riconda. Three-Dimensional Full-Beam Simulation of Ultrashort Laser Pulse Amplification by Brillouin Backscattering in the Strong Coupling Regime. Poster session presented at: 56th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, October 27-31 2014; New Orleans, LA.

K. Weichman, R.L. Berger, and T.D. Chapman. 3D simulation of short pulse laser amplification by stimulated Brillouin scattering. Presented at: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: 2014 August 13; Livermore, CA.

K. Weichman, K. Schoemaker, B. Russell, and J. Rehal. SEE RADS Platform: Social, Every Day, and Emergency Radiation Detection System. Paper presented at: American Nuclear Society 2013 Student Conference: 2013 April 4-6; Boston, MA.

K. Weichman and B. Spears. Sensitivity of NIF Implosion Platforms to Low-Mode X-ray Asymmetry. Presented at: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: 2013 August 6; Livermore, CA.

K.Weichman and A. Nelson. Measurement and Modeling of Thermal Contact Resistance for Ion Beam Applications. Presented at: Los Alamos National Laboratory, 12th Annual Student Symposium: 2012 August 8; Los Alamos, NM.

K. Weichman, and A. Nelson. Development of a Low-Dose Irradiation Campaign for Thoria-Based Ceramic Fuels. Poster session presented at: Los Alamos National Laboratory, 11th Annual Student Symposium: 2011 August 10; Los Alamos, NM.

Awards

Best paper, Undergraduate Detection and Measurement, American Nuclear Society 2013 Student Conference, April 4-6 2013

Highest Honors, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), May 2013
Bronze Tablet (University Honors), awarded to the top 3% of the graduating class of each college, UIUC, May 2013
Dean's List, UIUC, 8 semesters, Fall 2009-Spring 2013

Fresenius Medical Care Scholarship, Fall 2013-Spring 2015
George H. Miley/LENR Undergraduate Scholarship, UIUC, Spring 2012
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Scholarship, Fall 2009-Spring 2011