U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program

AFRL/RH 711 HPW Fort Sam, Texas

SF.15.10.B3740: Laser-Tissue Interaction

Denton, M.


The goal of this research is to determine the effect of laser exposure on human tissues and to study the resulting mission impact. The analysis includes quantification of tissue parameters, the responses of tissues to optical irradiation, and modeling of the interactions. We study photothermal, photochemical, and photomechanical processes of laser-tissue interaction, as well as the resulting cellular insults. Understanding laser-tissue interaction is the first step toward optimizing military application of laser radiation. Our work emphasizes the occupational and environmental health aspects of laser-tissue interaction, using bench experiments coupled with modeling efforts. Results provide guidance to the laser safety community where safety standards either do not exist, or where deficiencies in biological data has made the criteria for setting standards ambiguous. In addition, we seek to understand and monitor dynamically the changes in tissue optical properties as the result of laser exposure. The laboratory offers extensive laser facilities and support equipment (including retinal and skin imaging) to investigate effects across the pulse-duration and wavelength spectrum.

SF.15.10.B3743: High-Power Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research

Payne, J.

(210) 539-7905

Selected projects will assist in the development of new theoretical approaches along with computational solutions to the physics, biochemistry, and biology of radiofrequency interactions with biological systems. Modeling high-power RF interactions are of particular interest. Areas of work include theoretical approaches and numerical simulations relating to (1) the dosimetry and thermodynamics of biological systems or bio-materials exposed to RF energy, (2) propagation of RF energy in living tissues subject to linear and non-linear mechanisms, (3) mechanisms for damage at the cellular level along with associated rate-process or metabolic models, (4) interplay between the damage mechanisms, mechanical, thermodynamics, and propagation effects, and (5) molecular dynamics associated with cellular processes. Candidates with demonstrated experience in the fields described or possessing applicable related methods are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty, and summer students at the graduate and undergraduate level. Summer projects will develop and integrate modeling components and increase the functionality of larger code bases.

SF.15.10.B6039: Visual Effects from Bright Laser Light Exposure; Vision Science, Psychophysics, Behavior/Performance, Cognition, Attention

McLin, L.

(210) 539-8202

This is a multifaceted program integrating vision science, experimental psychophysics, vision modeling, behavior/performance and human factors. A topic of particular interest is conducting experiments to develop and validate the effect of laser glare (dazzle) on behavior and attention and dynamic visual tasks with motion. Laboratory psychophysical experiments are conducted to develop and validate vision models for vision over a range of ambient luminance levels from low mesopic to very high photopic. Other related areas of research include spatial vision, intraocular scatter, disability glare, discomfort glare, flashblindness, photostress recovery, macular pigment, color constancy, vision at mesopic levels, color zones and color naming, attention, and eye movements. Candidates with demonstrated laboratory experience in vision science,attention, and cognition are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty, and contract support staff to develop models and conduct experiments to validate models.

SF.15.10.B6041: Modeling Behavioral Responses to Non-Lethal Weapons

Ashworth, A.

(210) 536-1963

Researchers will assist in the development of models to describe the relationship between the physical effect of non-lethal weapons and the behavioral response. Modeling efforts range from process models describing qualitative relations between factors, to computational models for generating quantitative predictions based upon real time data collection. To be considered are: 1) individual psychological factors such as motivation, experience with and knowledge of the weapon, tolerance for pain and discomfort, observation of weapon use on a third party, gender, and age; 2) social factors such as cultural background, religion, group size, conformity, impressions of authority; 3) environmental factors such as ambient levels of temperature, light, and sound; and 4) type of non-lethal weapon such as blunt impact, riot control agents, malodorants, directed energy, flashbang, blast overpressure, and electromuscular stimulation. Candidates with demonstrated experience in the field or applicable associated research are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty, and contract support staff to develop models and draft guidance to inform policy decisions and security classification guides.

SF.15.12.B0906: Laser Eye Protection (LEP), Eyewear Design, and Ocular Vulnerability Modeling and Psychophysical Assessment of the Effects of LEP Devices on Visual Function

Goettl, B.

(210) 539-7885

The end-to-end laser eye protection (LEP) design capability can be accomplished by merging a frame and format design capability with a visual performance metrics and modeling capability to create a single, integrated package allowing complete human systems integration of LEP. Using 3-D mechanical design tools, it can provide for the rapid design and fabrication of prototype frames needed for proper form, fit and function, including integration with head-mounted systems. Using 3-D optical modeling tools, it can quantify and visually render the effects of LEP filters on human vision. The principal challenge to successfully completing this work is software development. Existing software will have to be improved to and integrate existing packages into both the frame/format design and optical modeling packages in hand.

To provide adequate eye protection, the prototype LEP devices (LEPD) specifically block designated wavelengths of laser light using absorptive dyes. If, by filtering out the laser light, the amount of visible wavelengths passing through the LEPD is reduced, visual function may be degraded because of shifts in the appearance of colored stimuli, reduction of contrast, and reduction of the total amount of light available for visual function. Evaluations are needed to determine how and to what extent the prototype LEPDs alter the user’s vision; specifically, their spatial acuity and contrast sensitivity with and without the presence of glare and color vision.

SF.15.19.B0004: Ultrafast spectroscopic investigations on the mechanisms of interaction of modified sensing proteins with the electromagnetic spectrum

Schmidt, M.

(210) 539-8320

Recent development of light-controlled cellular activity, known as optogenetics, has sparked interest in new methods for light-induced neural and cellular activation. To date, the majority of optogenetics research is performed through transfection of opsins into neurons to control activity, and brain stimulation is conducted through thin fibers inserted directly into the skull of small mammals. Although optogenetics is a useful tool, there are still limitations, and as a result, novel alternatives are desired. To overcome these limitations, we are interested in the use of non-traditional electromagnetic (EM) frequencies in order to move towards a non-invasive optogenetic approach. To support this mission, this opportunity includes the development of new ultrafast spectroscopic techniques for the investigation of protein interaction with a range of the electromagnetic spectrum (EM). Our group collaborates with various AFRL laboratories to focus on both the molecular mechanisms as well as whole cell models, for the development of new, protein-based sensing elements. The laboratory offers extensive laser facilities that operate in the VIS – IR range as well as MHz – GHz frequency sources. Selected faculty should expect to help design and build optical experiments, collect and analyze complex spectral data, work to develop new theoretical concepts, and collaborate with AFRL staff.

SF.15.19.B0005: Charged Particle Risk Assesment

Montgomery, N.

(210) 539-8052

AFRL/RHD is investigating the bioeffects of Charged Particle Beam (CPB) systems. Little is known about the bioeffects and risks associated with multi-domain military application of CPB systems. The energy levels and pulse format are unique. Significant dose and/or dose-rates are possible. Projects of interest will conduct an initial health risk assessment of charged particle beams. This preliminary risk assessment will foster policy and treaty reviews for fielding a charged particle beam capability. Reviewing modeling and simulations of CPB sytems, dosimetric measurements taken at the Idaho Accelerator Center and existing literature are also of interest to support this assessment. A major effort will involve the investigation of radiobiological quality factors (QF) which predict biological damage per unit dose. The use of ionizing radiation sources poses some unique challenges based on the risk of non-stochastic and stochastic health effects to operators and individuals in or near exposure areas.

SF.15.19.B0006: Mathematical Methods in Biophysics

Wharmby, A.

(210) 539-8284

Research has shown that biophysical processes, such as laser-tissue interaction, deviate from the predictions given by traditional mathematical models for short laser exposure times. In general, it was found that the shorter the exposure time is, the stronger the deviation will be. However, generalizing these models by recasting them as fractional order differential equations have resulted in models that show high agreement with experimental observation regardless of exposure duration. This effort aims to analyze these new equations that employ elements of the fractional calculus (and other non-local operators) and apply them to other biophysical phenomena such as thermal diffusion resulting from laser heating and fluorescence from UV lasers. The development of these novel mathematical models will quantify and enhance safety standards for newly developed protective materials and directed energy devices. Candidates with demonstrated knowledge of the fractional calculus and its implications in both analytical and numerical models are desired. Selected applicants should expect to work with USAF staff, collaborating university faculty and students, and contract support staff to develop models.

AFRL/Airman Systems

Dr. Rajesh Naik
711th Human Performance Wing (711 HPW/CL)
2610 Seventh St. Bldg 441, Rm 2-101
WPAFB, OH 45433
Telephone: (937) 255-8222
E-mail: 711.HPW.ChiefScientist@us.af.mil