Ka’ulu Ng was born and raised in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i. He is a 2017 graduate of the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus, who is now a 2021 graduate of the University of Portland with a major in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. He hopes to enter the consumer electronics industry by working for Intel, Garmin, Apple, Sony, or Microsoft. When he’s not studying or working, he enjoys going to the beach, cardistry, ukulele, and playing sports.

Home Island: O’ahu

High School: Kamehameha Schools – Kapalama

Institution when accepted: University of Portland

Akamai Project: SCALES Diffraction Grating Design for Efficient Exoplanet Spectroscopy

Project Site: University of California Observatories (UCO) – Santa Cruz CA

Mentor: Renate Kupke

Project Abstract:

The Santa Cruz Array of Lenslets for Exoplanet Spectroscopy (SCALES) project uses a chronograph to block out light from stars close to exoplanets of interest and uses a spectrograph to determine the molecular composition of the atmosphere. One portion of the spectrograph, a grating, breaks up the light and spreads the central wavelength out to allow accurate spectroscopy to occur. The grating design in this project targets medium and high spectral resolution values for accurate spectroscopy and will utilize a blaze angle to optimize the grating for K-Band, L-Band, and M-Band bandpasses. Starting with the targeted spectral resolution values, we used C++ code to calculate the optimal parameters for each grating by solving for angle of diffraction and spectral resolution by iterating through ranges for order, incident angle, and groove density. GSolver, a software used to do Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis, was used to calculate the efficiency of the gratings by determining the intensity of light in each reflected order. GSolver enabled us to use the outputs of the C++ code to test the efficiencies of the theoretical grating with various blaze angles. Graphical analysis of efficiency versus blaze angle and efficiency versus wavelength was used to determine the final parameters. These grating parameters will be sent to a vendor for manufacturing the gratings to be used in the SCALES spectrograph for efficient medium and high resolution spectroscopy.