Sandia National Labs Academic Alliance Collaboration Report 2020-2021


Emi Mondragon

Emi Mondragon started working as an electrical engineering undergraduate Sandia intern in 2017, and she continued for four summers. She conducted research on projects ranging from electromagnetic systems to computationally modeling light in a fog-like environment. In addition to her course work and internship, Emi is also a Pathways Scholar at Purdue where she collaborates with faculty and Sandia researchers on other co- op projects that challenge and motivate her to solve complex problems by integrating difficult mathematical concepts.

with Sandia to explore a means to image and localize objects through fog.

“Purdue’s alliance with Sandia provides unique opportunities, facilities, and exposure, and the results of each project have broad applications,” says Kevin Webb. Sandia’s Ken Patel facilitated the LDRD by connecting the Webb Group with Brian Bentz, one of their former students who now leverages Sandia’s fog chamber, one of the largest fog chambers in the world, for his research on back-calculating an image moving through a fog. The facility provides a fully characterized degraded visual environment that can be generated reliably and consistently, removing the variability of environmental conditions that affect real-world outdoor testing. Brian Bentz and the Webb Group have been working on a localization method that uses incoherent optical information to estimate an object’s location, and pairs this with coherent speckle for imaging. To aid in this work, Sandia has designed a table-top fog chamber to conduct experiments that will be built at Purdue. The facility will assist researchers, particularly the Webb Group, in conducting more broad-based research, in addition to the current focus with Sandia. Ryan Hastings, Ph.D. student, has championed the award-winning research at Purdue with contributions from another Ph.D. student, Justin Patel. Undergraduate student Emi Mondragon from Trinity College (Texas) contributed to the project during her Purdue summer undergraduate research fellowship in 2020. Mondragon authored a report on the work she did with Bentz and presented their results at a virtual symposium. Successful completion of this LDRD project will result in new fundamental understanding related to seeing through aerosols with light, and the establishment of an advanced capability that provides tactical information in adverse conditions.


2020-2021 Collaboration Report

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