Lucas Heppner: Summer Research Program

Summer REU student Lucas Hepner working in Diocles Lab

Lucas Heppner
was part of the 2016 Summer Research Program. The Nebraska Summer Research Program is a consortium of NSF funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and other summer research opportunities programs (SROP). One unique feature of the Nebraska Summer Research Program is the partnership between the REU and SROP programs and the Office of Graduate Studies. Students benefit in having a community of scholars in which to learn and to share research with. This intensive summer research experience provides mentoring and research experiences while allowing scholars to preview graduate school life. Students with a strong interest in graduate programs are particularly encouraged to apply, as are those from populations traditionally underrepresented in graduate education.

Lucas worked on the project "A study of sensitive, large area detection systems for keV to MeV energy X-rays." His project was designed around characterizing a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) array detector coupled with a CsI scintillator. He was involved in implementing a CMOS detector into the current lab configuration. Finally, Lucas performed a calibration on the current 14-bit CCD camera using two different methods to find the absolute gain value.

Lucas commented on his time in the Summer Research Program: "I had a wonderful time here at the Extreme Light Lab. Everyone in the lab has been very understanding and willing to answer any and all of my questions. The first few days, Dan and Colton really explained different aspects of the lab along with what and how the experiments get performed. This was very helpful since there are many aspects associated with performing an experiment in this lab environment. My mentor, Nathaniel Cunningham, was very knowledgeable about the details of my project, in addition to all the detectors he was working with. Overall, I had a positive experience here at the Extreme Light Lab."

His ideal profession after graduation would be an optical engineer/scientist at a company doing research and development. He is uncertain of whether or not he will attend graduate school and may look for a job that would pay for him to work while completing a master degree program.