Current Research

(2014-2015) The Habitable-Zone Planet Finder

I am working with Suvrath Mahadevan on the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder (HPF), a fiber-fed near-infrared (NIR) spectrograph to be commissioned at the 10m meter class Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) in early 2016. It will be used to search for terrestrial-mass planets around M stars using ultra precise radial velocity methods (<1 m/s). This level of precision requires a high degree of temperature stability (sub mK) to prevent mechanical drifts and index of refraction changes. Currently my work is focused on the implementation and testing of the HPF environmental control system, which sets out to achieve these stability requirements.

For newer updates either check the HPF research blog, or check blog posts on this website tagged: research hpf

Click here to see frequently updated temperature monitoring plots of the HPF Enclosure in the HET Spectrograph Room.

Below you can see a quick video of the clean-room fabrication of the HPF MLI blankets:

Past Research Projects

(2013) Research project at CERN

High Purity Germanium Detector Calibration at ISOLDE

Currently I am working on a blog post about the research I did at CERN, meanwhile you can find my CERN Summer student project report below.

In short: My project involved experimental operation and characterization of two High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors, operated and used in the ISOLDE experiment at CERN.

CERN Research Project Report

(2013) Bachelor Thesis Project

Observational Constraints on Dark Energy

My bachelor's thesis topic was in observational Cosmology. You can find my thesis below encoded in Icelandic and math.

The project revolved around constraining the values for Dark Energy density parameter, \( \Omega_{\Lambda} \), in two ways:
First, using observational evidence from SNIa explosions from Reiss et al. (1998) and Perlmutter et al. (1999). Second, performing Markov-Chain Monte-Carlo calculations using various cosmological observations to explore the likelood density projected on the \( \Omega_{\Lambda} \)- \( \Omega_{m} \) parameter space. The calculations were done on the Jötunn computer cluster at the University of Iceland.

Bachelor Thesis

(2012) Summer Research Project

Fluorescent Polymers as Integrated Light Sources

In the project we studied the use of fluorescent polymers in dielectric waveguides, but fluorescent polymers have developed rapidly in recent years, with direct applications in optical biosensing. Fluorescent polymers can induce an optical gain, enabling fabrication of optically pumped amplification and laser-sources. In the project we demonstrated the fabrication of planar waveguides, where a symmetric waveguide supporting a single guided mode was desired, which could then be directly integrated with microfluidic circuits that had been studied by the group (see project 2011).

Final Report


(2011) Summer Research Project

Fabrication of Integrated Optical and Microfluidic Devices

I did a research project under the guidance of Dr. Kristján Leósson. The project aimed at developing a methodology for fabricating microfluidic devices on different substrates, in order to integrate them with optical circuits also studied by the Leosson Group, but PDMS microfluidic devices had not been fabricated in Iceland before. Together these integrated optical devices can be used for live cell imaging applications.

Final Report

Fabrication Procedure - Outline


4 Suvrath Mahadevan; Lawrence W. Ramsey; Ryan Terrien; Samuel Halverson; Arpita Roy; Fred Hearty; Eric Levi; Gudmundur K. Stefansson; Paul Robertson; Chad Bender; Chris Schwab; Matt Nelson. The Habitable-zone Planet Finder: A status update on the development of a stabilized fiber-fed near-infrared spectrograph for the for the Hobby-Eberly telescope, SPIE (2014)

3 Fred Hearty; Eric Levi; Matt Nelson; Suvrath Mahadevan; Adam Burton; Lawrence Ramsey; Chad Bender; Ryan Terrien; Samuel Halverson; Paul Robertson; Arpita Roy; Basil Blank; Ken Blanchard; Gudmundur Stefansson. Environmental control system for Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), SPIE (2014)

2 I. Slovinsky, G. K. Stefansson, A. Kossoy, K. Leosson, Propagation Loss of Long-Range Surface Plasmon Polariton Gold Stripe Waveguides in the Thin-Film Limit, Plasmonics (2013)

1 G. K. Stefansson, D. Bjarnason og K. Leosson, Samþætting vökvarása og ljósrása á örflögum,, Raust (2011) [ICELANDIC]

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