The Space Environment Effects Materials (SEEM) test facility operated by the Utah State University Materials Physics Group (MPG) is a leading research center for the study of space environment effects on aerospace materials. The MPG performs state-of-the-art, ground-based testing of electrical charging and electron transport properties of both conducting and insulating materials, emphasizing studies of electron emission, conductivity, luminescence, and electrostatic discharge. Our efforts in this field from over more than two decades—in cooperation with NASA, AFOSR, and numerous aerospace companies—have been primarily motivated by the space community’s concern for charging of crafts caused by plasma environment fluxes and for radiation modification and damage of materials and components. We have studied how variations in temperature, accumulated charge, exposure time, contamination, surface modification, radiation dose rate, and cumulative dose affect these electrical properties (or related changes in structural, mechanical, thermal, and optical properties) of materials and systems. Our research also has direct application to high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power and transmission lines, semiconductor metal-oxide interfaces, and nanodielectrics.
Our research group consists of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate researchers. Publications and presentations are archived here.