Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute

Biodegradable power source for sub-Antarctic shelf sensor mesh network

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)
Craig Stevens (Physics)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI001

The interaction between circulating warm water into the region under the Antarctic ice-shelf is of particular interest to climate modellers and theorists. However, returning high resolution time and spatial data for measures of water temperature and salinity is difficult and expensive. One solution is to distribute a disposable sensor network comprised of tens to hundreds of free-floating sensors, interconnected through an efficient communication mesh network. Powering these sensors is a challenge, as most conventional batteries comprise materials that are ecologically damaging.

Recent work, however, has found a battery solution that is ecologically benign:

Huang, Xueying & Wang, Dan & Yuan, Zhangyi & Xie, Wensheng & Wu, Yixin & Li, Rongfeng & Zhao, Yu & Luo, Deng & Cen, Liang & Chen, Binbin & Wu, Hui & Xu, Hangxun & Sheng, Xing & Zhang, Milin & Zhao, Lingyun & Yin, Lan. (2018). Biodegradable Batteries: A Fully Biodegradable Battery for Self-Powered Transient Implants (Small 28/2018). Small. 14. 1870129. 10.1002/smll.201870129.

This project will be to replicate this type of battery and investigate the extent to which they may be incorporated into a sensor network that can be deployed in ecologically sensitive environments.

Required

Applied physics, experimental physics, electronics experience, Remote sensing development.

Not required, but desirable

Embedded programming experience.

Stare and Chase for refining Orbital Trajectories

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)
Laura Pirovano (Mechanical Eng.)
Oliver Sinnen (ECSE)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI002

We will experiment with a modern tracking mount (ioptron CEM40G) to construct a prototype optical imaging system which can provide accurate positional information for on-orbit objects. This will require the student to familiarise themselves with the mount system and adapt current tracking software to demonstrate feasibility.

Required

Excellent understanding of positional astronomy,
Good understanding of astrometry,
Excellent programming skills (python, C),
Applied physics, experimental physics, electronics experience,
Ability to work alone, at night.
Full drivers licence.

Not required, but desirable

Optical physics experience (geometric)
CDD image acquisition, reduction and analysis
Real-time programming
Optimisation and control theory and practice

Initial Site Testing for Space Optical Communications

Supervisors

Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI003

Te Pūnaha Ātea is developing plans to create a New Zealand node of the Australian Optical Communication Ground Station Network. This requires site testing at several potential sites across New Zealand. Site testing comprises (i) astronomical seeing observations to estimate the stability of the atmosphere above the observing site and (ii) cloud and environment testing.

This project will involve either or both of
1. conducting seeing observation tests with a Meade LX200GPS telescope configured as a Differential Image Motion Monitor and specialist commercial software,
2. An initial environmental investigation for potential NZ sites using data and analysis tools from the Copernicus Climate Data Store.

Required

Excellent understanding of positional astronomy,
Good understanding of astrometry,
Excellent programming skills (python, C),
Applied physics, experimental physics, electronics experience,
Ability to work alone, at night.
Full drivers licence.

Not required, but desirable

Optical physics experience (geometric)
CCD image acquisition, reduction and analysis
Real-time programming
Optimisation and control theory and practice

Plasma Physics Laboratory Experiment Development

Supervisors

Felicien Filleul (Physics)
Nicholas Rattenbury (Physics)
John Cater (Engineering Science)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI004

Te Pūnaha Ātea is developing a plasma propulsion physics research laboratory. This requires the construction of specialist electromechanical and optoelectronic sensors. The work will involve constructing these sensors and their controlling and interface circuits, and testing and validating this equipment.

Required

Excellent electronic and/or electromechanical construction skills,
Experience in using sensitive instrumentation for applied physics,
Good programming skills

Not required, but desirable

Embedded programming skills,
Time series analysis skills

Shock test facility for equipment for space application

Supervisors

Guglielmo Aglietti (Mechanical Engineering)

Discipline

Te Pūnaha Ātea – Auckland Space Institute (Faculties of Science and Engineering)

Project code: SCI005

Mechanical shocks produced during the launch of satellites can damage on board equipment and it is crucial to be able to perform tests on the ground to verify the capability of the hardware to withstand the predicted shock environment.

Starting from a preliminary design which is already available, the student will be required finalize the design, build, and commission a “shock table” to perform such tests.

Good mechanical design and assembly skills are required, together with some knowledge/experience of data acquisition and processing (e.g. matlab or lab view).