Amy Keesee

Physics and Astronomy
Office: Physics, DeMeritt Hall, Durham, NH 03824

Our technology-driven society is dependent upon satellite technology for communication, navigation, and national security, as well as upon a reliable power grid for everyday needs such as money transactions, job functions, and food storage. These infrastructure systems are vulnerable to geomagnetic activity, when charged particles in the space surrounding Earth are energized and transported due to energy input from the Sun. My research centers on studying these charged particles during enhanced geomagnetically active events to improve our understanding of and eventually be able to forecast the characteristics of space during them. Such improved space weather forecasts would provide a reliable warning system to protect satellite and power grid infrastructure.

My research includes three areas: magnetospheric physics, instrument development, and laboratory plasma physics. In magnetospheric physics, I analyze satellite-based data to understand the dynamics of the magnetosphere during geomagnetic storms. These data are often incorporated with computer models to improve understanding of the underlying physics. I am working to develop the next generation of plasma spectrometers to measure charged particles in space, particularly on small platforms such as CubeSats. The spectrometer is also being developed as a diagnostic for fusion energy producing plasma research. I am also involved in laboratory based plasma physics research, particularly with laser-based diagnostics. These studies help us to understand space-relevant phenomena.


  • Ph.D., Plasma Physics, West Virginia University
  • M.S., Physics, West Virginia University
  • B.S., Mathematics, Davidson College

Research Interests

  • Flight Instruments
  • Instrumentation, Techniques (Physical Sciences)
  • Magnetospheric Phenomena
  • Nuclear Fusion, Plasma Research
  • Plasma Physics
  • Space Sciences
  • Space Weather
  • Spectroscopy

Courses Taught

  • PHYS 408: General Physics II Recitation
  • PHYS 708/808: Optics
  • PHYS 797: Senior Design Project
  • PHYS 951: Plasma Physics
  • PHYS 999: Doctoral Research

Selected Publications

Farrugia, C. J., Rogers, A. J., Torbert, R. B., Genestreti, K. J., Nakamura, T. K. M., Lavraud, B., . . . Dors, I. (2021). An Encounter With the Ion and Electron Diffusion Regions at a Flapping and Twisted Tail Current Sheet. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 126(3). doi:10.1029/2020ja028903

Keesee, A. M., Buzulukova, N., Mouikis, C., & Scime, E. E. (2021). Mesoscale Structures in Earth's Magnetotail Observed Using Energetic Neutral Atom Imaging. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 48(3). doi:10.1029/2020GL091467

Keesee, A. M., Pinto, V., Coughlan, M., Lennox, C., Mahmud, M. S., & Connor, H. K. (2020). Comparison of Deep Learning Techniques to Model Connections Between Solar Wind and Ground Magnetic Perturbations. FRONTIERS IN ASTRONOMY AND SPACE SCIENCES, 7. doi:10.3389/fspas.2020.550874

Keesee, A. M., Katus, R. M., Floyd, M., & Scime, E. E. (2020). Database of Storm Time Equatorial Ion Temperatures in Earth's Magnetosphere Calculated From Energetic Neutral Atom Data. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-SPACE PHYSICS, 125(9). doi:10.1029/2020JA028266

Keesee, A., Williamson, K., & Robertson-Honecker, J. (2019). Community Based Solar Eclipse Outreach in Rural Appalachia. In S. Buxner, L. Shore, & J. Jensen (Eds.), Celebrating the 2017 Great American Eclipse: Lessons Learned from the Path of Totality (Vol. 516, pp. 77-83). Retrieved from

Keesee, A. M., & Scime, E. E. (2007). Neutral density profiles in argon helicon plasmas. PLASMA SOURCES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 16(4), 742-749. doi:10.1088/0963-0252/16/4/008

Sun, X., Keesee, A. M., Biloiu, C., Scime, E. E., Meige, A., Charles, C., & Boswell, R. W. (2005). Observations of ion-beam formation in a current-free double layer. PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 95(2). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.95.025004

Keesee, A. M., Scime, E. E., & Boivin, R. F. (2004). Laser-induced fluorescence measurements of three plasma species with a tunable diode laser. In REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS Vol. 75 (pp. 4091-4093). doi:10.1063/1.1787166

Zweben, S. J., Maqueda, R. J., Stotler, D. P., Keesee, A., Boedo, J., Bush, C. E., . . . Team, N. S. T. X. (2004). High-speed imaging of edge turbulence in NSTX. NUCLEAR FUSION, 44(1), 134-153. doi:10.1088/0029-5515/44/1/016

Kline, J. L., Scime, E. E., Boivin, R. F., Keesee, A. M., Sun, X., & Mikhailenko, V. S. (2002). rf absorption and ion heating in helicon sources. PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 88(19). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.88.195002

Most Cited Publications