New Mexico Tech Senior Presents Discoveries at National Conference

Dec. 14, 2022

Lab work leads to observations about electrical measurements

Karl Lukes
Karl Lukes

SOCORRO, N.M. – NMT senior Karl Lukes recently presented findings at a national conference based on a discovery he made doing scientific research on electrical measurement during a laboratory internship at Sandia National Laboratories. Lukes presented his observations and analysis, titled “In-House Manufacturing of New-Generation Multijunction Thermal Converters at Sandia National Laboratories,” at the National Conference of Standards Laboratories (NCSL) International conference Aug. 20-24, 2022, in Grapevine, Texas.

Lukes, who is from Albuquerque and studies electrical engineering at Tech, works year-round at an internship in the Primary Standards Laboratory at Sandia Laboratories. The directive of the Primary Standards Laboratory is measurement problems and calibration services, which means they focus on correct measurements for alternating current (AC) electricity.

“The whole job there is just to help us quantify AC voltage,” he said. “Essentially, our job is to make sure that measurements happening in the laboratory are happening in such a way that they’re accurate and repeatable and traceable.”

Working with a specific device as part of a project to very accurately produce one volt of electricity, Lukes observed that the device was performing differently from how it had previously performed.

“It’s not inherently revolutionary or exciting,” he said. But he thought it might be a good idea to take this to a conference and share it with measurement professionals. 

Presenting his research findings at a conference for the first time and representing Sandia Labs on a national stage was a positive learning experience and could lead to future investigations, Lukes said.

“It’s important for the world of research,” he said. “Research is something I’m just dipping my feet into now. I felt that it was the right thing to do and a good experience.”

Lukes is a newly initiated member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society and serves as president of the New Mexico Tech Climbing Club.