Darren DePoy is the Rachal/Mitchell/Heep endowed professor of Physics and Astronomy and is the head of the Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. He came to Texas A&M in 2008 after working at The Ohio State University for 18 years, where he was the Vice-Chair for Instrumentation. Dr. DePoy has designed and built state-of-the-art optical and infrared astronomical instruments for telescopes all over the world, including OSIRIS currently on the SOAR telescope in Chile, TIFKAM at the MDM Observatory in Arizona, ANDICam at the Cerro-Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO) in Chile, DANDICam at South African Astronomical Observatory, MODS on the LBT telescope in Arizona, a new instrument called DECam for the CTIO 4-meter telescope, and VIRUS, the instrument that supports the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment.
Jennifer Marshall manages the day-to-day operations of the Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. Dr. Marshall's background is in instrumentation, having earned a Ph.D. in instrumentation and observational astronomy in 2006. She is the lead for Texas A&M’s involvement in the VIRUS project, is a co-PI on the Giant Magellan Telescope Wide-Field Optical Spectrograph (GMACS), and is generally involved in all other ongoing activities in the lab.
Jean-Philippe Rheault is developing a spectrophotometric calibration system to characterize the throughput of telescopes in a wavelength range from 300nm to 2500nm for DECal. He is experienced in lasers, optics, optical fibers, and detector calibration and contributes to many different projects in the lab.
Rick Allen has been involved with fabricating prototype components and assemblies for over 20 years, incorporating off-the-shelf hardware, custom fabrication by outside vendors and on-campus facilities, and do-it-yourself when necessary. He is in charge of the group's ever-expanding machine shop, liaisons with other shops, and contributes to design manufacturability.
Travis Prochaska is currently a Mechanical Engineer Specialist in the Astronomy Instrumentation Lab at Texas A&M University, and works on a majority of the mechanical and opto-mechanical needs of the lab. This includes designing and building systems and components for telescopes, spectrographs and calibration systems for various projects. He is working on the HETDEX project, optimizing the design of the 192 VIRUS spectrographs for ease of assembly, manufacturability and cost. He has also worked on various alignment jigs and systems for many of VIRUS’s sub-assemblies. He is also working on conceptual designs of GMACS, a proposed optical spectrograph for the GMT. For this project he has modeled concepts for optical housing modules and mechanical transport systems. Travis has also been involved in small projects affiliated with the DECam project. These projects include CCD camera mounts for the DECam focusing unit, a new secondary mirror mount for PRECam at the Curtis-Schmidt Telescope, and the screen and instrument mounting for DECam’s calibration system.
Chris Alexander is an industrial engineering undergraduate student.
David Baker is a mechanical engineering undergraduate student
Steven Boada is a graduate student studying the assembly of early type galaxies. He is currently working with Dr. Casey Papovich using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Emily Boster is an Aerospace Engineering undergraduate student who works on designing and fabricating mechanical devices and components for different projects in the lab. She has experience in manufacturing, testing, and design.
Alex Gary is a physics undergraduate student
Joseph Glover is a physics undergraduate student
Ryan Oelkers is a graduate student working on the statistical accuracy of planetary occultation measurements as well as planetary transit timing variation follow ups.
Marisela Rodriguez-Patino is physics undergradute student working on MooSci3.