2011 RID Awards

PROJECT: Analysis of Lake Ice-out Timing within and among Lake Districts of Alaska from 2001 to 2012 using MODIS Satellite Imagery and Ground Observations

PI: Christopher Arp, Research Assistant Professor, UAF

The goal of this research is to learn how the timing of lake ice-out varies among lake-rich regions (lake districts) of Alaska and how this pattern has changed over the last decade. This will be accomplished by analyzing satellite imagery compared with a field study at Minto Flats Lake District.

PROJECT: Application of Optical Analysis Techniques to Determine the Motion of Persistent Auroral Patches Due to Magnetospheric Convection

PI: Donald Hampton, Research Assistant Professor, UAF

Persistent auroral patches are a common early morning feature of the aurora and are assumed to drift with magnetospheric convection. This assumption has not, to our knowledge, been unambiguously tested. I propose to develop the analysis tools to apply to optical data that will allow us to measure the velocity of auroral patches. Once developed, the techniques will be applied to images from the Poker Flat digital all-sky camera and the resulting patch velocities will be compared to the ion convection velocity as measured by the Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar (PFISR). If the patch motion does match the ion drift motion, then the tools become a useful diagnostic of magnetospheric convection that can be applied in regions without radar or satellite data. If the patch velocity diverges from the ion drift velocity then the physics of how the patches are formed and what controls their motion will need to be re-examined.

PROJECT: Dynamic Spatial Segmentation of Hyperspectral Imagery for Compression

PI: Jason McNeely, Assistant Professor, UAF

The goal of this research project is to develop a new method of image segmentation for use in hyperspectral data compression with a focus on platforms to be used in both aircraft and spacecraft sensor systems. The primary goal is an improvement in compression capability. Hyperspectral imagery of the ground is collected for a wide variety of applications including material identification, military surveillance and target identification, and land cover classification, for example. The future success of acquiring higher resolution sets of hyperspectral imagery for scientific imaging of Alaska, the Earth or even other planets in the future depends on the ability to capture, compress, and either store or transmit that data from aircraft or satellites back to ground stations. Often, for most airborne and spacecraft applications, the data compression is performed using a lightweight algorithm due to processing and power constraints. However, our investigation will give some insight to the feasibility of advanced algorithms in these constrained environments. In particular, the investigation and analysis of a dynamic spatial segmentation algorithm for use with the Karhunen-Loève Transform (KLT) will be followed by its implementation on an FPGA hardware board as proof of concept and for power analysis.

PROJECT: Volcanic Geomorphology Using Google Earth and NASA Satellite Imagery Archives

PI: John Bailey, Assistant Professor, UAF (No longer employed at UAF)

The landscape of the Central Andes of Chile, Bolivia and Argentina provides a unique opportunity for the study of volcanic geomorphology, as the regional climate and history of large eruptions have combined to create an environment full of volcanic deposits but lacking in vegetation. The desert conditions enable the acquisition of cloud free satellite imagery, allowing for a study of these landscapes on a scale not possible through ground-based studies. The goal of this project is to build a web-based interface that uses the Google Earth Application Programming Interface (API) to allow easy viewing of remote sensing imagery captured over Central Andean volcanic region by NASA’s and commercial satellites. The project will focus on the ignimbrite provinces, large volumes of explosive eruption deposits that dominate the region. The interface will allow geomorphic features identified in these images to be tagged and categorized, so as to build a virtual archive of the landscapes’ textures and geomorphic features. The imagery available for this project will include the Landsat archive, NASA-ASTE, NASA-MODIS, and very-high-resolution DigitalGlobe data supplied by Google. Analysis of the defined morphologies can show how the ignimbrites have been eroded and shaped over several millennia by wind, rain, the deposits’ cooling history and freeze-thaw weathering. This information offers insights into eruption processes, past climate patterns, the hazard potential of similar environments (e.g. dust storms from the erosion of Asian loess deposits) and is a terrestrial analogy for landscapes currently being identified in Mars imagery.

PROJECT: Printed Circuit Board-Based Microfluidics–Integration of Microfluidics and Electronic Packaging

PI: Cheng-fu Chen, Associate Professor, UAF

Recent advancement in electronic miniaturization has enabled the production of high-resolution, low-cost printed circuit boards (PCB) with sophisticated circuits and electronic components. Highly functional substrates such as the PCBs make an ideal platform for building-up microfluidic devices for lab-on-a-chip applications, since such microfluidic systems require a high degree of integration. In this work we seek for a solution to demonstrate the integration of microfluidics with electronic packaging. Microfluidics is on the design and prototyping of devices that handle fluid at the micron scale. The thrust to development of microfluidics came from “micro total analysis systems” (in Europe), or “lab on a chip” (in the U.S.), a technique devoted to miniaturization of chemical analysis. Since the 1980s, Prototyping of microfluidic devices has evolved from the silicon-based photolithography (which is pricy and time-consuming) to other cost-effective methods with shorter turn-over cycles. Engineers thus find a niche in micro-fabrication techniques and exploration of new fluid physics at small scales. Microfluidics has a wide range of applications in chemical analysis, biological research and commercialization. Such an interdisciplinary research becomes so vivid and fast-growing in the new millennium. On the other side, electronic packaging enables integration of functional chips, memories, and cupper circuit lines on a substrate. As the semiconductor technology continues to advance to the “20 nm technology node”, by that it means the gate oxide is no more than 20 nm wide, it also drives the packaging technology in a similar pace in order to fan out I/Os from finish-good silicon dies which populate densely so many transistors for making up memories and processors. In this proposed work we will explore the possibility of integrating microfluidic devices onto manufacture-good printed circuit boards (PCBs). The goal has twofold, to introduce new, cheap cooling mechanisms for electronic packaging by using polymeric microfluidic devices; and to ease the fabrication complexity of microfluidics devices by separating the buildup process of microchannels from layout/etching process of circuits. This research can be a platform for integrated undergraduate research.

PROJECT: Assessing variations in summer river temperature and spring break-up between the foothills and coastal plain through remote sensing, hydrologic modeling, and field measurements, Kuparuk River, Alaska

PI: Anna Liljedahl, Assistant Professor, UAF

We will acquire, integrate, and analyze existing hydrologic, GIS, and remote sensing data for a spatio-temporal analysis of summer river temperatures and spring break-up within the Kuparuk River watershed. The project will serve as the major component of a MSc thesis.

PROJECT: Freeze-dried salmon: Omega-3 rich space food from Alaskan waters

PI: Alexandra Oliveira, Associate Professor, UAF

Freeze-dried cubes made from Alaska sockeye salmon fillets will be produced and tested by a consumer panel for acceptability. The cubes, upon rehydration and brief thermal treatment, are suggested as a nutrient- and energy-dense food suitable for astronauts on extended space missions.

PROJECT: Use of NASA SPoRT AIRS Research Data for Operational Numerical Weather Prediction in Alaska

PI: Don Morton, Professor, UAF

In close collaboration with the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT), numerical weather forecast activities will be carried out over the Alaska region using NASA research data, specifically the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) data

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