Lena Heffern

Grad Service Assistant
Graduate Assistant/Associate
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
6004

Student Information

Graduate Student
Exploration Systems Design (Instrumentation)
Liberal Arts & Sciences

Biography

My long-term academic interests lie in the area of instrumentation design, a research area that I was introduced to by interning with Dr. Morgan Burks at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories during my undergraduate summers. I've found that working on radiation detection systems has allowed me to combine a lot of my interests together. My engineering background allows me to assist in the design and manufacture of detector elements, project management and planning, and FEA/CFD simulations. My physics background allows me to understand the theory behind what is occurring within the detector and enables me to collect, analyze, and interpret data quickly using programming tools such as Python, Matlab, and Root. Over the past few years, I've gained an interest in earth and planetary science applications of sensor devices. As an outdoor rock climber, I've always had an interest in how the formations I climb on were made. My previous work on gamma-ray spectrometers for space applications, such as the 16-Psyche Discovery mission, has helped me to build an interest in planetary science, geology, and geophysics. 

I'm currently working with Dr. Craig Hardgrove on various interdisciplinary projects for nuclear planetary science applications here at ASU. The most notable of these are LunaH-Map and SINGR, both projects involving the science of neutrons.

Education

B. S. Physics & Mechanical Engineering from California State University: Chico

M. S. Nuclear Engineering from the University of New Mexico

Ph. D. Student in Exploration Systems Design (Instrumentation)

Research Interests

Planetary nuclear spectroscopy instrumentation development.

Publications

Heffern, Lena. "Ionization Chamber Design, Development, and Testing for the UNM Fission Fragment Spectrometer." Thesis. (2015). DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.19225.01123. http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ne_etds/46

K. Meierbachtol, F. Tovesson, D. Shields, C. Arnold, R. Blakeley, T. Bredeweg, M. Devlin, A.A. Hecht, L.E. Heffern, J. Jorgenson, A. Laptev, D. Mader, J.M. O׳Donnell, A. Sierk, M. White, "The SPIDER fission fragment spectrometer for fission product yield measurements," Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Available online 1 April 2015, ISSN 0168-9002.

Presentations

L. E. Heffern, M. T. Burks, D. L. Lawrence, J. O. Goldstein, P. N. Peplowski, "Gamma-Ray Spectrometers for use in Planetary Sciences," Invited talk at The San Jose Astronomical Society meeting, May 2017

L. E. Heffern, M. T. Burks, D. L. Lawrence, J. O. Goldstein, P. N. Peplowski, "Initial Characterization of the GeMini Plus, a High-Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectrometer for Planetary Composition Measurements," Poster presentation at The 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands TX, March 2017.

D. J. Lawrence, M. T. Burks, D. H. Do, S. Fix, J. O. Goldsten, L. E. Heffern, R. S. Hourani, S. Kerem, P. N. Peplowski, "The GeMini Plus High-Purity Ge Gamma-Ray Spectrometer: Instrument Overview and Science Applications," Poster presentation at The 48th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands TX, March 2017.

M. T. Burks, L. E. Heffern, D. L. Lawrence, J. O. Goldstein, P. N. Peplowski, "GeMini Plus: A Versatile Gamma-Ray Spectrometer for Planetary Composition Measurements," Podium presentation at The 3rd International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions, Pasadena CA, October 2016.

L. E. Heffern, M. T. Burks, V. V. Mozin, P. N. Peplowski, D. L. Lawrence, J. O. Goldstein, "Neutron activation analysis of iron IV meteorite samples with the GeMini-Plus, a high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometer designed for extraterrestrial missions," Podium presentation at the 7th Lunar and Small Bodies Graduate Conference, NASA Ames CA, July 2016.

L. E. Heffern, M. T. Burks, P. N. Peplowski, D. L. Lawrence, J. O. Goldstein, "GeMini-Plus: A high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometer for planetary composition measurements," Poster presented at SSERVI Exploration Science Forum, NASA Ames CA, July 2016.

L. E. Heffern, M. T. Burks, J. G. Dreyer, "The LLNL Ge-140 Handheld Spectrometer," Poster presented at IEEE: Symposium On Radiation Measurements and Applications, Berkeley CA, May 2016.

A. A. Hecht, R. E. Blakeley, L. E. Heffern, C. L. Vowell, P. E. Gilbreath, "The University of New Mexico fission fragment spectrometer," Podium presentation at the FIESTA Workshops, Santa Fe NM, Sept 2014.

A. A. Hecht, R. E. Blakeley, L. E. Heffern, "The University of New Mexico fission fragment spectrometer, with preliminary results from LANSCE," Podium presentation at the International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry, San Antonio TX, May 2014.

L. E. Heffern, R. E. Blakeley, J. R. Cole and A. A. Hecht, "Preliminary results of a 2E-2V Fission Fragment Spectrometer," Podium presentation at ANS Student Conference, State College PA, April 2014. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1726.6726.

P. E. Gilbreath, C. L. Vowell, L. E. Heffern, R. E. Blakeley, D. M. Mader, and A. A. Hecht, "Optimization of an ionization Chamber for use in Fission Fragment Spectroscopy," Poster presented at ANS Student Conference, State College PA, April 2014.

L.E. Heffern, M. T. Burks, G. P. Carosi, E. Hull, “Capacitive Multiplexing on a HPGe Imaging Detector”, Poster presented at AAPT Conference, Portland OR, July 2013, Society of Physics Student Poster Award. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4688.0803.

G. P. Carosi, M. T. Burks, L. Heffern, E. Hull , “A Dual Planar Germanium Compton Imager”, Poster presented at the IEEE NPSS Conference, Oakland CA, May 2012.

Press

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Newsline, June 14, 2017, "Lab instrument will explore asteroid Psyche", by Stephen Wampler; https://www.llnl.gov/news/lab-instrument-will-explore-asteroid-psyche

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Newsline, Nov. 4, 2015, "Lab-Johns Hopkins team tapped to work on possible NASA effort to explore asteroid", by Stephen Wampler; https://www.llnl.gov/news/lab-johns-hopkins-team-tapped-work-possible-nasa-effort-explore-asteroid-0

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Newsline, Sept. 21, 2015, "Harsh conditions can't contain researchers' efforts to test radiation detection systems", by Stephen Wampler; https://www.llnl.gov/news/harsh-conditions-cant-contain-researchers-efforts-test-radiation-detection-systems

Honors/Awards

ASU SESE First Year Fellowship (2017 - 2018)

UNM College of Engineering Scholarship (Fall 2014)

��� Physics Honors Society (2013)

TB� Engineering Honors Society (2013)

Girl Scouts of America Silver & Bronze Awards

Professional Associations

<p>American Nuclear Society, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Physics Students, IEEE, Girl Scouts of America, Venture/Boy Scouts of America, Sports Car Cub of America, American Access Fund, Bay Area Climbers Coalition, SheClimbs Bay Area, Chabot Space and Science Center</p>

Service

Chabot Space & Science Center Volunteer (2015 - 2016)

Girl Scouts of Northern California High Sierra Camp Volunteer (2006 - Present)

Work History

<p>Post-Graduate Researcher, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (2015 - 2017); Graduate Student Research Assistant, The University of New Mexico (2013 - 2015); Undergraduate Research Assistant, California State University Research Foundation (2011 - 2012); Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (2011 - 2012)</p>