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My name is Paul Schroeder and I was born and raised in east county San Diego, California specifically La Mesa and Santee. I am currently a diagnostic scientist at General Atomics working at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility. Prior to this position, I was a post doctoral research scientist at NOAA Boulder researching lidar instrumentation and wildfire dynamics. I earned my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering studying high-temperature dual frequency comb spectroscopy as applied to combustion style field measurements under Dr. Gregory Rieker at CU Boulder. My master’s degree was working on micro-scale cryogenic refrigeration under Dr. YC Lee.
Before graduate school, I received my undergraduate degree in physics from San Diego State University while being advised by Dr. Fletcher Miller. My research with him was carbon particle generation via pyrolysis of natural gas for concentration solar power towers. I was also fortunate to have a multi-year internship at General Atomics during my undergraduate work in the Electron Cyclotron Heating (ECH) group led by Dr. John Lohr at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility.
Below is a listing of field campaigns and research related updates. Please browse the other pages on this website for further details relating to my professional career and a brief summary of some of my personal hobbies. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any inquiries.
September 1, 2019
My wife and I decided to move back to San Diego so have left my postdoctoral position at NOAA. I had am amazing time in Alan Brewer’s group and learned a lot not only about lidar but about how to coordinate research projects between various researchers and organizations.
Returning to San Diego, I also returned to General Atomics in the same division I was an intern at many years ago. I was hired to begin working as a diagnostics scientist at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility. I am working in the Thomson Scattering group measuring the temperature and density of the electrons in the plasma. This is my first venture into plasma diagnostics and it is, unsurprisingly, proving to be a fun and interesting new challenge.
September 15, 2018
I returned from the third and final field deployment this year at NOAA in the Atmospheric Remote Sensing Group. I was deployed for about a month of the R/V Thomas Thompson, which is a research ship operated by the University of Washington. I ran the lidar while it was mounted on the corner of a seatainer also operated by a group out of NOAA Boulder. We were part of a much larger suite of measurement tools designed to profile the propagation of the Madden-Julien Oscillation as well as explore any other meso-scale weather phenomena that may have passed over us. Another researcher from our NOAA group in Boulder, Aditya Choukulkar, deployed for the subsequent month with the same instrument on the ship. The ship left out of Kaohsiung, Taiwan and steamed around about 750 miles east of The Philippines. We were able to explore the edges of both Typhoon Jebi and Typhoon Mangkhut.
This mission was enabled by the exceptionally helpful and skillful crew on the Thompson, Chris Fairall’s group out of NOAA Boulder running the W-Band radar, and the rest of the science crew deployed on the ship.
June 8, 2018
I just returned from a week long deployment back in Lakeland, Florida flying over 1000-2000 acre crop burns. We had 20 flight hours in the Twin Otter again (pictured below) and this time deployed only with the Doppler lidar on the aircraft. This time we added a linear actuator control setup I designed to compensate for the dynamically changing pitch of the aircraft. It measures the pitch angle of the aircraft will change the angle of the lidar to maintain its angle relative to the group irrespective of the attitude of the aircraft. It also allows us to point the beam perpendicular to the ground thus enabling direct measurements of vertical wind velocities.
During this campaign we were able to directly explore various types of profiling methods and we are in the process of evaluating them for use in future air-based wildfire campaigns.
Again, thanks are extended from Mike Zucker, Alan Brewer, and myself to the entire AOC crew in Lakeland, our pilots Dave and Bill, and Casey Teske and Kevin Hiers from Tall Timbers Research Station for all the help making these flights a success.
January 19, 2018
I just returned from a deployment to Lakeland, Florida at the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) to test part of my postdoc proposal: to build a miniaturized lidar instrument capable of withstanding aircraft flight. The instrument is a micro pulsed Doppler lidar, named MD2, and is closely based on a previous instrument built by the group, MD1.
With help from the amazing AOC mechanic staff, Peter (shown above), Rob, and the sheet metal shop, we installed MD2 into the aft camera bay of the N46 Twin Otter next to Richard (Rich) Marchbanks and Jim Churnside’s Fish lidar. MD2 performed well and was robust against significant altitude, temperature, and humidity swings. These flights were test flights to examine the functionality of the instrument prior to the May 2018 deployment in the same aircraft to investigate controlled burn wildfires in Tallahassee, Florida. Alan and Ann, scientists in the NOAA Boulder group, also flew to Lakeland to help teach me the data acquisition system and relay their vast experience with previous field lidar deployments.
Lots of credit goes to Rick and Shanae, NOAA Twin Otter pilots, for being able maneuver the plane to explore banked turn maneuvers, scanning modalities, and wide variety of altitudes important for the May deployment.
We deployed the mobile dual frequency comb spectrometer to Colorado School of Mines to measure the temperature of an argon-water mixture in the core of their experiential gasifier. Dr. Porter’s student, Madison Kelley, ran the gasifier and was the primary researcher investigating the gasification process.
The measurements will hopefully one day help understand how coal and biomass undergo gasification. The gasification process utilizes coal or biomass to synthesize chemicals and can be used to generate synthetic natural gas while better sequestering waste CO2.
The group from Dr. Greg Rieker’s group in conjunction with the group from NIST Boulder led by Nathan Newbury and Ian Coddington successfully deployed the first mobile dual frequency comb spectrometer in a non-optical laboratory environment.
We measured gas temperature, water mole fraction, and CO2 mole fraction through the exhaust of the turbine during operation. We were excited to be able to measure transients in these parameters while turbine change fuel loading.
Thanks to the team pictured above and to the CU Facilities staff who allowed us to deploy our system on their floor and told us everything we needed to know to successfully operate in a harsh, industrial environment.