The Michigan Engineer News Center

Caleb Van Beck awarded 2020 NDSEG Fellowship

U-M Aerospace PhD candidate Caleb Van Beck was awarded the 2020 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship under the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research for developing cutting-edge propulsion devices.| Short Read

This year, the Department of Defense named Van Beck one of the 4,000 recipients of the NDSEG Fellowship for his work in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, including space physics. In Professor Venkat Raman’s Advanced Propulsion Concepts Laboratory, Van Beck has been working on rotating detonation engines. He and his team hope to introduce a shockwave into the system that will help detonate the fuel through the leveraging of a pressure gain combustion cycle. This could result in increased efficiency over traditional engines by as much as twenty percent.

IMAGE:  Portrait of Caleb Van Beck

“By introducing the shockwave into the system – which is helping detonate the fuel that is causing it – we increase the efficiency even for a smaller and simpler engine than a traditional engine,” Van Beck said.

This semester, he plans to continue his research remotely and begin assignments from the Air Force as a result of his Fellowship.

Caleb received his Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Central Florida, Orlando before pursuing his PhD at UM Aerospace.

Portrait of Kim Johnson


Kimberly Johnson
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Aerospace Engineering

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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