Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Zoltan Sternovsky

Second Advisor

Sascha Kempf


Cosmic dust particle analysis offers insight into the history and behavior of our solar system. In order to perform in situ compositional analysis of particles, a cosmic dust spectrometer requires an effective area large enough, > 500 cm2, to capture dust with low flux and a mass resolution high enough, m/∆m > 200, to detect the relative abundances of ions with similar masses. In this study, a large area time-of-flight cosmic dust reflectron-type mass spectrometer, HyperDust, is optimized using the ion optics software SIMION along with newly developed Monte Carlo routines and fine- tuning optimization algorithms. The results are a spectrometer design with a mass resolution of 385 and a reproducible method for optimizing similar instruments. The instrument is being built at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), and has been proposed to missions for the study of asteroids and interstellar phenomena.