ALERT Graduate Student, David Benirschke Receives Postdoctoral Fellowship

August 30, 2019

This summer, ALERT Graduate Student, David Benirschke accepted the prized Intelligence Community (IC) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.  The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education oversees this fellowship, funded primarily by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to support Postdoctoral Fellows to conduct unclassified basic research in areas of interest to the IC, such as David’s research in infrared-based explosive detection conducted while pursuing his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Notre Dame.

David has been a key contributor on the ALERT Project R2-C.2: Multiplexed Mid-Infrared Imaging of Trace Explosives, led by ALERT Researcher Dr. Scott Howard, an Associate Professor at Notre Dame.  Through his participation, David worked with the project team to build upon prior ALERT research to create lower cost MIR technology for field use. With the aspiration of identifying explosive residue on objects in mind, David engineered many experimental prototypes, utilizing his deep theoretical knowledge in the area, eventually creating a spotlight in the mid-infrared (MIR), as well.

David will defend his PhD dissertation on “Realization of a low-cost, spectroscopic, mid-Infrared platform for enabling sensing applications and laser induced time-harmonic thermal imaging,” in September and will begin his fellowship collaborating with Notre Dame Assistant Professor, and IC Research Advisor, Dr. David Burghoff in October.

Regarding David’s intentions for this exciting fellowship, he states,

“The goal of my post-doctoral project is to realize a remote sensing system utilizing a newer type of laser source called a ‘Frequency comb’. These sources have already been used for highly controlled laboratory experiments. My goal is to try and take them out into the ‘real’ world. Realizing this system will directly enable many sensing applications including that of my work in R2-C.2 on explosives detection.”

The ultramodern technology soon to be researched by David and Dr. Burghoff, will aid the advancement towards cost effective, field applicable, and more precise sensing as a dynamic response to explosives-related threats.

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