Amy Keesee

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 708: Optics
  • PHYS 797: Senior Design Project

Selected Publications

Keesee, A. M., Dugas, M., Ellison, S., Neal, L., Scime, E. E., Thompson, D. S., . . . Tucker, C. J. (2018). Micro-spectrometer for fusion plasma boundary measurements. Review of Scientific Instruments, 89(10), 10J116. doi:10.1063/1.5035365

Keesee, A. M., Katus, R. M., & Scime, E. E. (2017). The Effect of Storm Driver and Intensity on Magnetospheric Ion Temperatures. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122(9), 9414-9426. doi:10.1002/2017ja023973

Katus, R. M., Keesee, A. M., Scime, E., & Liemohn, M. W. (2017). Storm time equatorial magnetospheric ion temperature derived from TWINS ENA flux. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122(4), 3985-3996. doi:10.1002/2016ja023824

Keesee, A. M. (2017). A Review of Dawn-Dusk Asymmetries Observed Using the TWINS Mission of Opportunity. In DAWN-DUSK ASYMMETRIES IN PLANETARY PLASMA ENVIRONMENTS (Vol. 230, pp. 213-221). Retrieved from

Scime, E. E., Keesee, A. M., Dugas, M., Ellison, S., Tersteeg, J., Wagner, G., . . . Elliott, D. (2016). A micro-scale plasma spectrometer for space and plasma edge applications (invited). Review of Scientific Instruments, 87(11), 11D302. doi:10.1063/1.4960145

Keesee, A. M., & Scime, E. E. (2007). Neutral density profiles in argon helicon plasmas. Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 16(4), 742-749. doi:10.1088/0963-0252/16/4/008

Keesee, A. M., Scime, E. E., Charles, C., Meige, A., & Boswell, R. (2005). The ion velocity distribution function in a current-free double layer. Physics of Plasmas, 12(9), 093502. doi:10.1063/1.2033647

Zweben, S. J., Maqueda, R. J., Stotler, D. P., Keesee, A., Boedo, J., Bush, C. E., . . . Team, T. 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

Sun, X., Keesee, A. M., Biloiu, C., Scime, E. E., Meige, A., Charles, C., & Boswell, R. W. (n.d.). Observations of Ion-Beam Formation in a Current-Free Double Layer. Physical Review Letters, 95(2). doi:10.1103/physrevlett.95.025004

Kline, J. L., Scime, E. E., Boivin, R. F., Keesee, A. M., Sun, X., & Mikhailenko, V. S. (n.d.). rf Absorption and Ion Heating in Helicon Sources. Physical Review Letters, 88(19). doi:10.1103/physrevlett.88.195002

Most Cited Publications