Danielle was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated from Kalani High School. She is currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Mãnoa. She has growing interests in space from her projects with the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory and previously looking at Curiosity’s data from the planet Mars. Danielle is active in her university’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) section and had the opportunity to lead as president for the past 2018 – 2019 year. After graduating, she hopes to eventually return to Hawaii to work and plans to continue her involvement in SWE. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her pet lovebirds, dog & cat sitting, traveling, and volunteering in her community at local K-12 STEM and robotics events.
Home Island: Oahu
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Mãnoa
Akamai Project: SPIRou Cooling System to Reduce Thermal Background
Project Site: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope – Waimea, Hawai‘i Island HI
Mentors: Gregory Barrick, Tom Benedict
Collaborator: Matthew Buchan
SPIRou is a high-precision spectrograph used by Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on the summit of Maunakea. By working in the near-infrared, observers use SPIRou to search for planets in the galaxy while looking at nearby stars’ motion and magnetic field. Due to warmer instrument and ambient temperatures, thermal background appearing in data collection is higher than desired. Consequently, SPIRou’s capabilities to detect finer details are hindered. The goal of the project was to mitigate the thermal background by implementing cooling methods and designing insulation hardware to achieve reduced and stable temperatures, which are currently five times higher than expected. Specific components of the instrument identified as thermal background sources were targets for cooling by testing cold-glycol heat exchangers with optimized flow. Complementary insulation was provided by self-manufactured foam elements. This hardware, modeled in SolidWorks, was designed to accommodate the complex geometry of sensitive instrument parts in addition to considering features such as maintenance and sustainability. Digging further into where other potential solutions are needed, on-site experiments and Python calculations to predict the effects of applying additional cooling were performed. Results obtained from this work will improve the thermal background and understanding for future reductions to implement. The success of the project helps observers and SPIRou to discover Earth-like planets that may be habitable or hosts of water, and investigate the impact of magnetic fields on star & planet formation.