Tom Zobrist

Tom L. Zobrist

Steward Mirror Lab, University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721
(520) 6213654

Experimental Physicist experienced in Optical Systems Engineering. Self-motivated, hands-on worker, who works well both independently and in small groups. Analytical thinker with good common sense, problem solving skills, and an established leadership track record. U.S. Citizen.

Goal is to work in an exciting and challenging environment on cutting edge technologies, while developing novel systems that push the state of the art.

Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
Bachelor of Science in Physics, 1994.

Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Master of Engineering in Acoustics, 2005.
Thesis title: “An experimental technique for mapping the acoustical mode-shapes of an air-filled cavity.”

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Master of Science in Optical Sciences, 2005.
Doctor of Philosophy in Optical Sciences, 2009.
Dissertation title: “Application of Laser Tracker Technology for measuring optical surfaces.”

2008-Present Optical Research Engineer, University of Arizona, Steward Observatory
Provide engineering support for the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab specializing in the areas of optical alignment, testing and metrology and optical systems engineering. Main duties are to support testing of the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Large Synoptic Survay Telescope.

2003-2008 Graduate Research Associate, University of Arizona, Optical Sciences Center
Specialized in optical systems engineering and optical alignment testing and metrology of large optical systems and components.
1. Scanning Offner Relay System: Optical system for testing flight hardware in vacuum/cleanroom environment. System mechanics (16 ft × 6 ft × 8 ft) scanned four mirrors, including the two 26 inch mirrors of segmented primary, +/- 7.5 degrees.
Major responsibility: System assembly, alignment of optics and testing system performance with the use of laser trackers, interferometers and alignment telescopes.
2. Scanning Pentaprism System: Built for aligning the secondary mirror of a 6.5 meter collimator used for testing flight hardware in vacuum/cleanroom environment.
Major responsibility: Worked as primary Systems Engineer to coordinate the assembly of the system with the Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. Assembled, aligned and performed component and system testing of the optics, lasers and autocollimators used in the system.
3. Laser Tracker Plus System: Advanced metrology instrument for guiding the fabrication of the Giant Magellan Telescope primary mirror segments during loose-abrasive grinding. Instrument couples a commercial laser tracker with an advanced calibration technique and a set of external references to mitigate numerous error sources. The system compensates for global index changes in the testing area and relative motion between the instrument and the mirror to achieve a measurement accuracy of < 1 µm rms measured from 22 meter away.

Major responsibility: Principal Investigator for the system. Led a team of designers and engineers to develop the optical, mechanical, electrical, and software components required. Assemble and test the various components to verify system meets design specifications.
4. Additional Training and Experience:
• Designed and built a number of metrology systems for testing a variety of spherical and aspheric optics.
• Extensive experience using laser trackers, computer generated holograms, wavefront and distance measuring interferometers, alignment telescopes and autocollimators, surface profilometers and microscopes for alignment and testing of optical systems.
• Worked with a variety of laser systems, physical optics and nonlinear optics during the course of lab work, class work and research.

1996-2003 Physics Technician, Central Washington University, Department of Physics
This was a full time Washington State classified civil service position. Major job duties:
1. Maintain instructional and research labs and assist with research projects.
2. Operate and maintain Physics Department instrument shop and electronics shop.
3. Design and construct precision equipment and apparatus needed for labs, classroom demonstrations, and research projects.
4. Instruct research personnel and students in the designing, fabricating, operation and maintenance of experimental apparatus and equipment.
5. Repair and maintain laboratory and research equipment including the various departmental telescopes, a Nd:YAG laser, an X-Ray Diffractometer, numerous spectrometers and interferometers, and an assortment of oscilloscopes and other electronic test equipment.

1993-1995 Research Assistant, Central Washington University
Performed experimental research modeling Quantum Mechanical Solid-State systems using Classical Acoustic systems. Systems studied include:
1. Molecular normal mode vibrations and phononic transfer of a pulse through a polymer like mass-chain using lead fishing weights on a steel wire.
2. Quantum chaos studies using a ½ meter by 1 meter acoustical stadium.
3. The relationship between the surface plasmons produced in a thin metallic film, and the frequency and angle of the incident laser beam.

• “Band Structure in a Loaded String”, CAM94 International Physics Conference, Cancun, Mexico. September 1994.
• “Vibrational properties of a loaded string”, S. Parmley, T. Zobrist, T. Clough, A. Perez-Miller, M. Makela, and R. Yu, Am. J. Phys., 63:547 (1995).
• “Phononic band structure in a mass chain”, S. Parmley, T. Zobrist, T. Clough, A. Perez-Miller, M. Makela, and R. Yu, Appl. Phys. Lett. 67:777 (1995).
• “Surface Plasmons in Thin Metal Films”, Undergraduate Research Symposium, Ellensburg, WA. May 1996.
• “Alternate surface measurements for GMT primary mirror segments”, J. Burge, L. Kot, H. Martin, C. Zhao, and T. Zobrist, Proc. SPIE 6273 (2006).
• “Use of a commercial laser tracker for optical alignment”, J. Burge, P. Su, C. Zhao, T. Zobrist, Proc. SPIE 6676 (2007).
• “Measurements of large optical surfaces with a laser tracker”, T. Zobrist, J. Burge, W. Davison, and H. Martin, Proc. SPIE 7018 (2008).
• “Progress in manufacturing the first 8.4 m off-axis segment for the Giant Magellan Telescope”, H. Martin, J. Burge, B. Cuerden, W. Davison, J. Kingsley, W. Kittrell, R. Lutz, S. Miller, C. Zhao, and T. Zobrist, Proc. SPIE 7018 (2008).
• “Laser tracker surface measurements of the 8.4 m GMT primary mirror segment”, T. Zobrist, J. Burge, and H. Martin, Proc. SPIE 7426 (2009).

Enjoy hiking/backpacking, sailing and long walks in the rain; curling up on the couch with a good book and a pot of tea; and late night discussions with good friends and a bottle of wine.

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