December Featured Grad - Patricio Piedra

PatriMeet Patricio Piedra, a Ph.D. student in Atmospheric Sciences. He is currently studying the application of numerical methods of scattering calculation such as discrete dipole approximation as a way to theoretically predict the rate of photovoltaic loss generated by particles becoming deposited on solar panels.

What brought you to DRI?

I was originally brought to DRI after becoming accepted to UNR for the doctoral program of atmospheric science. After meeting with Dr. Patrick Arnott, he proposed to me the problem of identifying the chemical composition and optical properties of particles deposited on solar panels. I had previous experience in light scattering applied to atmospheric aerosol detection and analysis, so that this problem appeared to be fit for my expertise and my interests.Patrilab1

What are you studying?

In general, I enjoy highly working on problems involving electromagnetic waves interacting with matter. These problems are usually non-intuitive but have an enormous number of applications from aerosol detection to cancer radiation therapy.   

What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

Patrilab2I am studying the application of numerical methods of scattering calculation such as discrete dipole approximation as a way to theoretically predict the rate of photovoltaic loss generated by particles becoming deposited on solar panels. These sort of calculation is used as way to understand the key optical parameters affecting solar panel efficiency under weather conditions. These scattering calculation will be tested at the laboratory and if successful, they will allow us to invert the problem and to identify deposited particles by their light backscattering properties.

I am working with the mentorship of Dr. Hans Moosmuller, and in collaboration with Nic Beres.

What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?Patrilab3

In the short term, I would like to bring my research project to successful completion, allowing me to publish at least one or two journal papers and write a dissertation. In the long term, I will like to eventually be hired as a researcher either at DRI or at any research institution with specialty in optical applications to research.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?


For fun, I enjoy singing, playing guitar, piano. Before I decided to major in Physics, I majored in Music with emphasis in vocal performance for two years during my undergraduate program at UC Davis. Just recently, I sang at the night of all nations 2015 event at UNR. I also like to dance salsa, and over time, I have been getting better and better at dancing, and I’ve been learning ever more dancing combinations. I have a great partner; my wife, Carissa dances with me and loves it too (dancing salsa was the way we first met).