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NEWS | Feb. 8, 2011

Dr. Arati Dasgupta Elected Fellow of American Physical Society

By Dom Panciarelli

Dr. Arati Dasgupta, a research physicist in the Plasma Physics Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, was selected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP). Dasgupta is cited for contributions to the theory of electron collisions with atoms and ions, and their applications to gaseous electronics, short laser pulses, inertial confinement fusion, and astrophysical plasmas. Election to Fellowship in APS is recognition by peers of outstanding contributions to physics and is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership.

According to Dr Jack Davis, Senior Scientist for Radiation Physics and High Energy Density (HED) Materials at NRL's Plasma Physics Division, Dr. Dasgupta has made outstanding and enabling contributions in a very broad spectrum of activities in a wide range of areas of basic and applied atomic physics. Since her arrival in NRL, Dasgupta's research has lead to improved understanding of the important atomic processes relevant to Z-pinch plasma radiation sources, which are laboratory sources of intense x-rays. Her most important contributions in this investigation are detailed calculations of the ionization structure and the radiation generated in the Z facility at the Sandia National Laboratories. Dasgupta's essential contribution to the success of this radiation-source development program has been widely recognized.

She has made important contributions to the description of the interaction of intense, ultra-short-pulse laser radiation with clusters (a unique combination of gas and solid-phase with small, multi-atom particles between 10 and 3x106) of noble gas atoms, particularly Xe. The collisional and radiative atomic data set that Dasgupa has provided is instrumental in the understanding of the mechanism of laser interaction with these clusters. As a result of this modeling effort, a fundamental insight has emerged of the conversion of the incident laser radiation into x-ray radiation, together with the production of exotic double-vacancy states of the atoms.

Dasgupta's highly accurate and extremely challenging atomic structure and collision calculations of rare gases and other complex atoms are of critical importance for a wide-range of applications. Her benchmark calculations used to model unique electron-beam pumped KrF and Ar-Xe gas lasers developed at NRL were instrumental for providing understanding of their inversion dynamics, gain and efficiency.

Dasgupta's substantial list of publications includes major contributions to electron-atom collision theory, di-electronic recombination, plasma radiation generation, radiative emission spectra of laboratory and astrophysical plasmas, and x-ray and gas laser research.

She received her bachelor's degree, with honors, in physics, master's degree and doctorate in atomic physics all from the University of Maryland.

Dasgupta came to NRL in 1986 and has become a sought after expert in several areas of theoretical atomic and plasmaphysics of international importance. Her awards and professional honors include induction to the Sigma Xi Sigma honors society; and an award for excellence in physics from the Women's Society of the University of Maryland.

She has presented numerous invited talks and colloquia and chaired many invited symposia world-wide. Dasgupta has served on many committees and review panels including: DAMOP program and education committees, national advisory committees and review panels for NSF/DOE's High Energy Density Physics (HEDP), and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric proposals review panels. She also served on the Atomic Physics panel of DOE's HEDP basic research needs international workshop to participate in writing report on the status and future goals of HED physics. She is a reviewer of prestigious scientific journals, and both reviewer and organizer of the Indo-US Science and Technology Bilateral proposals and workshops. Dasgupta is active in a number of professional and educational outreach efforts at NRL. She is the current president of the NRL chapter of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) network. As a division leader for the NRL mentor program, she routinely mentors high school and college women as they pursue careers in science and engineering.

Dasgupta is actively involved in nurturing of scientific collaborations with a number of experimental and theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) groups in the U.S., Europe, and India, to help address the AMO needs of the global atomic physics community. She was recently invited and participated in a U.S./India Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on Science and Technology cooperation in Washington, D.C., with the leadership from public, academic, and private sectors of both countries to discuss opportunities for S&T cooperation across a broad range of disciplines. These disciplines included: advanced telecommunications, agriculture, environment, water, health, energy, scientific research, and entrepreneurship. A major outcome of this meeting aimed to provide bilateral leadership with recommendations and priorities for future S&T cooperation.

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