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I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the University of Michigan's Aerospace Engineering department. My current research is in electric propulsion at the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory (PEPL), working for Professor Alec Gallimore. More specifically, I am developing laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) diagnostics capable of measuring erosion product densities with high spatial resolution in Hall thruster and ion engine plumes.

In January 2003, I completed my dissertation, Deconvolution of Ion Velocity Distributions from Laser-Induced Fluorescence Spectra of Xenon Electrostatic Thruster Plumes. If the abstract sounds interesting, you might want to download the full (4.2 MB) PDF.

Before coming to PEPL, I conducted research in experimental astrophysics under the direction of Professor R. Paul Drake of the Atmospheric, Oceanographic and Space Sciences (AOSS) department, developing a suite of data-reduction routines in IDL for the analysis of supernova shock hydrodynamics experiments carried out at the Nova laser facility at LLNL.

Before coming to Michigan, I spent seven years testing naval hull forms and propulsors as a mechanical engineer and naval architect for the Hydromechanics Directorate at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock (aka the David Taylor Model Basin). Along the way, I earned an M.S. in Ocean Engineering at the George Washington University.

Way back in the 80's, I spent two years as an aircraft machinist in the Air Force, graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, and spent two years working as a design draftsman for Douglas Aircraft (now part of The Boeing Company).

Contact Information:
Email:  timsmith@umich.edu
Lab phone:  (734) 764-4199
Office phone: (734) 764-5229