Aerospace Engineering Doctoral Student Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt Selected for Graduate Research Fellowship

Aerospace Engineering Doctoral Student Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt Selected for Graduate Research Fellowship
Photo of Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt, aerospace engineering doctoral student
Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt
2020 Recipient of the Graduate International Research
Experience Grant

Doctoral student Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt will travel to Orléans, France next summer to work alongside a world-renowned plasma physicist, thanks to the Graduate International Research Experiences Fellowship from the Institute of International Education (IIE-GIRE).

Evaluators selected Suazo for the prestigious fellowship based on his proposal to use Bayesian statistics for direct inference and robust uncertainty quantification of the electron energy distribution function. He will now be able to conduct plasma physics research alongside Dr. Sedina Tsikata, a respected researcher at Le Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

"It will be nice to travel to France, of course, but what really excites me is the opportunity to work with a researcher of such high caliber," said Suazo, a senior graduate researcher in AE's High Power Electric Propulsion Lab (HPEPL).

"She is doing such interesting and impactful fundamental physics research using diagnostic tools similar to the ones I'm developing at Tech. Hopefully, I'll be able to make a contribution to their research groups agenda and pick up some new skills that I can leverage when I get back."

Advised by Aerospace Engineering School professors Mitchell L. R. Walker and Adam Steinberg, Suazo has focused his doctoral research on developing a high-speed laser Thomson scattering system (LTS) to investigate transient phenomena in electric propulsion devices.

"Thomson scattering allows us to determine the electron energy distribution function -- a pretty critical parameter in determining the equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena going on in a plasma," he said.

"The electron distribution tells you a lot about the plasma you are studying, without disturbing electric propulsion that becomes important, because we want to know what's going on close to the Hall thruster without worrying about messing with the plasma too much... if we use an invasive device, like a probe, to gather this information, we will disturb the plasma, which skews the results. The Thomson-scattering doesn't have that problem."

In 2021, Suazo hopes to proof his diagnostic system and propose his doctoral thesis topic. In 2022, he'll defend that doctoral research and get ready for the next challenge.

"With Walker and Steinberg as my advisors, I get to do my research under the advisement and guidance of two very impressive leaders in their fields. They expect --and they only accept -- the best I have to give."

Jean Luis Suazo Betancourt is also a past recipient of GEM Fellowship, awarded by the Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minority Engineers, and the Retaining Inspirational Students in Technology and Engineering (RISE) Scholarship, awarded by the Georgia Tech Center for Engineering Education and Diversity (CEED) .


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