Davis, Michael W.

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Dr. Michael W. Davis

Principal Scientist
Southwest Research Institute
Regular Member

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Area of Expertise: UV spectroscopy, UV, Vis, and IR detectors, Astronomical instrumentation, ZEMAX, Optical Design and Tolerancing, IDL Programming
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Dr. Davis is an astrophysicist specializing in the design and testing of astronomical instruments. His research interests include UV/VIS/IR imaging and spectroscopy, planetary atmospheres, and galactic astrophysics. His graduate training focused on the development of Michigan State University’s Spartan IR Camera for the 4-m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope at Cerro Pachon, Chile. His dissertation research developed a new method for measuring the mass of groups of distant galaxies via gravitational lensing and photometric redshifts. Dr. Davis has integrated and tested UV instrumentation for over a decade, including the Big Dog Planetary Rocket payload (NASA sounding rocket flights 36.201 UL and 36.210 UL) and the ALICE spectrograph for New Horizons. He is the Instrument Scientist for the Rapid Acquisition Imaging Spectrograph Experiment (RAISE, NASA sounding rocket flight 36.219 US), and designed the slit-jaw camera for that payload. Dr. Davis is the Optics, Detector, and Calibration Scientist for the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP), an ALICE-type instrument for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Dr. Davis is also a member of the LAMP science team. Dr. Davis is the optics, detector, and calibration lead for the UVS instrument for NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter. He also supports optical design and test efforts for projects ranging from extreme ultraviolet imaging to rotating prism assemblies for imaging and low-res spectroscopy in the near-infrared. Dr. Davis is in charge of the Division 15 Vacuum Ultraviolet Radiometric Test Chamber used to test and calibrate spaceflight UV instrumentation. Dr. Davis is an expert user of the ZEMAX optical design software package since 1999, and has received training in both Advanced Optical Design and Stray Light and Illumination from ZEMAX Development Corporation. Dr. Davis has authored or co-authored over 35 technical papers in the fields of ultraviolet spectroscopy and astronomical instrumentation.
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