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Dr Phillipa Holly Smith

Professional biography

Phillipa graduated in Astrophysics at Hertfordshire and then spent 18 months teaching in Japan. She completed her PhD through work on characterising the new generation of swept charge devices to be used on the Chandrayaan-2 large area soft X-ray spectrometer, a lunar orbiter which aims to map the elemental composition of the lunar surface. This work involved a full characterisation and calibration of the detectors and advice on shielding requirements to reduce the effects of radiation damage to the detectors throughout the mission. Her work also included accurate QE measurements of the CCD236 with advice on mission specific QE, and detailed responsivity mapping to aid in the future analysis of CLASS data. Additionally, she spent 10 weeks on a NASA LPI internship for lunar exploration.

She is now a post doctoral project officer, working on the validation of the NIEL equations in collaboration with the French national aerospace research centre ONERA. This work involves pre and post irradiation characterisation of the CCD47-20, a device used in various space missions, over a range of proton, electron and gamma energies.

Research interests

3MI Earth Observation: Adapting and improving test-setups to provide high speed imaging (1.5MHz) whilst maintaining scientific grade results to aid the 3MI Earth Observation mission

NIEL validation study: Characterisation of optical imager CTI pre and post irradiation in order to validate the NIEL equations used to predict end of life performance in space imaging technology, essential for the upcoming JUICE mission to Jupiter and its icy moons.

PhD Research: Optimisation of the swept charge device X-ray detectors to be used on the Indian X-ray spectrometer instrument to the Moon, CLASS. Research includes investigation into radiation damage, responsivity of non positional devices, and measuring the quantum efficiency of the detectors.

Teaching interests

Phillipa assisted in the designing and writing of the Open Universities flagship massive open online course (MOOC) “Moons”, and following this co-wrote the course “In the night sky: Orion”, both of which aimed to engaging the public with space and planetary science at an accessible level.

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