I worked as an operator for CHESS (Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source) from 2016 until January 2018.
CHESS is a high-intensity X-ray source supported by the National Science Foundation which provides our users state-of-the-art synchrotron radiation facilities for research in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Environmental and Materials Sciences.
I worked as an Operator, which is a kind of jack-of-all-trades engineering and user support position. In general, Operators inspect, clean, and repair equipment in the research areas to ensure smooth operation when the synchrotron is on, check and maintain safety equipment in the chemical labs, and provide users technical support and safety training 24/7 while the beam is open for research.
As a part of Cornell University's astronomy department, I have worked on the design and assembly of two instruments:
Triple Spec 4 (now ARCoIRIS)
During September 2014-April 2015, I provided full-time assembly support and inventory management during the final stages of the Triple Spec 4 project.I maintained a parts inventory, and verified that all parts were machined within tolerance levels. I also prepped and painted the surfaces in the optical path of the interior of the instrument with an absorptive polyurethane coating, and helped assemble the electronics mounts.
There is a short time-lapse video of the assembly available here.
Website: http://astro.cornell.edu/~spifiweb/zeus2/index.html (old site, for instrument overview)
For this project, I designed circuit board layout and routing optimization for the instrument's PCB (Printed Circuit Board, in this case the "brain" of the spectrograph) using Altium Designer.
I also did data reduction on the results of the observatory run that used the spectrograph’s predecessor (ZEUS).