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Text Box: Physics






Nasa ER2 Aircraft












Cloud Side






First NaCl

Aerosol sample

 generated at the

LACO Wet Lab







Cloud CubeSat Workshop



























                                  Current Projects


LACO is involved in several projects aiming the development of instrumentation, algorithms, and on the measurements of aerosol and cloud properties. Some selected on going projects are:




-         Development of the PACS Multiangle imaging polarimeter for the NAS decadal survey ACE mission

o       The PACS prototype is currently under construction

o       In Collaboration with NASA GSFC, LACO intends to fly a prototype of the PACS imaging polarimeter in the summer of 2010.




-         Development of a polarized imaging nephelometer for the measurement of the full phase matrix of aerosol and cloud particles

o       A Prototype of the UMBC Imaging Nephelometer (I-Neph) was built and tested in the LACO. The instrument measures aerosol phase function inside a closed chamber with sensitivity down to Rayleigh scattering, and angular coverage from 1.5 to 178.5degs, with 0.5degs resolution.

o       We have designed and plan to build a polarized and open version of the I-Neph to fly on aircrafts. We anticipate flying in the Wallops P3 Aircraft as part of the Decadal Survey ACE mission and for Glory validation




-         Development of instrumentation, algorithms, and techniques for the remote sensing measurement of the vertical profile of cloud microphysics and thermodynamic properties.








-         Development of laboratory methods for the generation of wet and dry aerosols in the lab, and its RH, temperature, and thermodynamic phase conditioning, allowing also for the production and freezing of simulated cloud particles.







-         Cloud-CubeSat: Development of a Pico satellite for the measurement of the vertical profile of cloud microphysics and thermodynamic properties in deep convective clouds. Cloud-CubeSat involves strong student participation and a versatile multi-institution collaboration. Currently the Cloud-Cubesat partner involve:

o       LACO and JCET at UMBC

o       NASA Goddard

§                     We were funded (together with NASA Wallops) in FY08 by a NASA GSFC Educational IRAD proposal to develop the bus and other subsystems applicable to the Cloud-CubeSat sytem. 

§                     While Wallops is focusing on the bus development, the UMBC-LACO group will focus on the development of the cloud scanner instrument and on its science application.

o       NASA Wallops Flight Facility

o       Olin College of Engineering – Based on Dr. Martins’ presentation on the Cloud CubeSat, the Olin students addressed two essential projects for the Cloud-CubeSat Development:

1-     ACS System

2-     Sun Position Sensor  

o       Northrop Grumman




-         Measurement of in situ spectral aerosol absorption from the deep UV (200nm) to the extended NIR range (2500nm).




-         Satellite remote sensing of spectral aerosol absorption over land and ocean using MODIS and the soon to be launched Glory APS sensors.