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News | April 13, 2022

Improved Data Quality for Next Gen Directed Energy Systems

By Elizabeth Meixler

SMART scholar and SEED Grant recipient Joseph Fiordilino, Ph.D., from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division is influencing the direction of directed energy systems for the Department of Defense (DoD). His research, “Improving Modeling and Simulation and Experiments to Aid Directed Energy Atmospheric Measurements” tackles three critical areas for success in DoD directed energy applications: 1) improving the accuracy and efficiency of modeling and simulation codes for high energy laser atmospheric propagation; 2) developing real-world high energy laser test and evaluation data sets; and 3) improving the measurement capability and traceability of instrumentation. Joseph’s research supports the DoD’s critical technology area of directed energy. He aims to improve the quality of data researchers use to develop predictive performance of high energy laser atmospheric propagation software, which empowers warfighters to make real-time battlefield decisions.

His three-year effort builds on previous predictive software efforts from the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering program. The effort will first focus on developing data sets by varying parameters tied to physical phenomena such as turbulence and thermal blooming. Years two and three will improve the predictive capability and efficiency of the modeling and simulation code to help standardize critical measurements. These criteria will be leveraged in collaboration with the National Institute of Standard and Technology to establish measurement traceability to the International System of Units. Doing so will create new world-wide standards for the measurement of high energy laser instruments.

Building the validation data sets will allow DoD researchers to accurately measure the power and performance of laser applications while simulating environmental factors. This allows researchers to test the efficacy and lethality of potential weapon and defense systems including tracking and visual identification.

Joseph began his SMART Scholarship in 2014 at the University of Pittsburgh where he studied mathematics, with a focus on numerical analysis and scientific computing. Since then, mentoring has been a critical component of Joseph’s SMART journey. Joseph’s mentor, Dr. Subrata Sanyal, was instrumental in his selection as a candidate. He then allowed Joseph to join higher-level discussions early on, imparted technical knowledge, and facilitated networking, professional growth, and direction. As such, Joseph’s mentor was instrumental in the SEED funding due to his innate understanding of computational and experimental physics, understanding of DoD directed energy measurement needs, and foresight into future DoD metrology needs.

The SMART Scholar SEED Grant Program is sponsored by the SMART Program Office and the Laboratories and Personnel Office under the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. SEED Grant recipients receive research grants up to $100 thousand per year for up to a maximum of three years to help support promising SMART scholars establish a foundational research or engineering effort in their area of expertise as they transition from the pursuit of their Ph.D. to a DoD professional. To foster relationships between SEED Grant recipients and established members of the DoD technical workforce, mentors of SEED Grant recipients are eligible for an additional $25 thousand per year to support close engagement and collaboration with their SEED Grant mentee.