RIT student helps lead NASA-funded project to build single photon detectors
An RIT student is on a mission to help build detectors that could identify individual photons from distant, inhabitable planets. Justin Gallagher, a fifth-year student from Rochester, N.Y., pursuing his BS in physics and MS in astrophysical sciences and technology, is serving as project manager for a nearly $1 million grant funded by NASA to create a single photon sensing and number resolving detector for NASA missions.
As project manager, Gallagher is responsible for keeping the project team on task and coordinating work between RIT and the project collaborators at Dartmouth. He is also tasked with designing the mechanical mounting for printed circuit boards, simulating the expected steady state temperature for those circuit boards and the detector, as well as performing cryogenic experiments to test parts for the preliminary design.