Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX physics student completing summer internship at world-class research facility in California

July 4th, 2017
Matt Martell

Third year honours StFX physics student Matt Martell is travelling coast to coast this summer, from Nova Scotia to California, to pursue research.

Mr. Martell, of Bedford, NS, is spending the summer in Livermore, California, working in the Center for Micro and Nano Technology at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) under the supervision of StFX physics professor Dr. Karine Le Bris and Dr. Tiziana Bond (LLNL).

“This internship represents an incredible opportunity for an undergraduate student to work in a world-renowned facility and to develop an expertise at the frontier of science and engineering. I thank all the people at StFX and at the LLNL who have worked to make that possible,” Dr. Le Bris says.

Mr. Martell, a recipient of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) in 2016 and 2017, will also receive a stipend from the LLNL to cover his living expenses in California.

Dr. Le Bris says they are working on whispering-gallery mode spectroscopy (WGM) in the near- and mid-infrared spectral region. This involves the development of highly-sensitive instruments, which use infrared radiation from a laser to detect and characterize the properties of molecules. An important application of this technology is sensing trace gases in the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change.

“Matt’s project this summer will build a foundation to extend gas-sensing by WGM spectroscopy to longer wavelengths where molecules absorb more light. This second phase of the project can then be done in the Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory at StFX,” she says.

The LLNL internship will last two months, from June 26 to September 1, but Mr. Martell has been doing preliminary work at StFX. The total length of his summer internship is 16 weeks.


Mr. Martell says he is most looking forward to the opportunity to work at a world-class research facility, and learn from experts in his field of study.

“I had read about the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the reputation that the San Francisco Bay Area has for science and technology development, but I never would have thought that I would get to spend a summer there,” he says.

“The experience I will gain as a research assistant on this project is invaluable, and I am excited to be a part of the group working on this extremely interesting experiment. I thank my supervisor Dr. Karine LeBris, co-supervisors Dr. Tiziana Bond and Dr. Balaji Subramanian, the LLNL, NSERC, and the many other people that were involved in making this internship possible.

“It will greatly help to prepare me for graduate studies, and a future career in science.”




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