Levi Stanton, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering

My internship with MIRTHE focused on the development of an 8-micron mid-infrared quantum cascade laser system for the sensing of methane. This sensor will ultimately serve as a field-deployed system in Toolik Lake, Alaska where permafrost thaw is releasing large amounts of methane. Methane, a greenhouse gas that has 25 times the global warming potential of CO2 over a 100-year period, is being released from the permafrost and is contributing to global temperature increase, creating a positive feedback cycle that results in further melting of permafrost. After doing preliminary field deployments in the Princeton area, we brought the laser system to the Toolik Lake Field Station in the Alaskan Arctic. We successfully took measurements at total path distances up to 1.2 km and were able to maintain detection in severe weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rain, and even snow. This project greatly impacted my studies in the CEE department. I will be working in Professor Zondlo’s lab this year, which creates an excellent opportunity for me to extend my research a second year, and apply it to my Junior Independent Project.