The Michigan Engineer News Center

Michael Benson receives NASA Fellowship

For his research, Benson plans to utilize SAR in order to estimate variable vegetated parameters and monitor the planet's crustal movement.| Short Read
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Michael Benson, a graduate student majoring in electrical engineering, has been selected to receive a 3-year fellowship from NASA from the Earth System Science Fellowship Program. The program supports the training of interdisciplinary scientists to support the study of the Earth as a system.

For his research, Mr. Benson plans to utilize SAR and its related imaging techniques to accomplish two related objectives. He explains, “First, I will use Michigan’s existing coherent scattering model for vegetated stands to estimate variable vegetated parameters and to develop 3D model of an arbitrary vegetated stand (area) on the surface of the earth using these techniques. From these results, I will develop a technique to isolate the ground- bounce component of the SAR return signal, in effect defoliating the stand. From this isolated signal, differential InSAR will be utilized to monitor the planet’s crustal movement.”

Mr. Benson works with Prof. Kamal Sarabandi, the Rufus S. Teesdale Professor of Engineering, and is a member of the Radiation Laboratory.

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read