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Jessica Peña

Career Aspiration:

Laser scientist working in industry or in a government lab


Peña works in CREOL’s Laser Plasma Laboratory. Her research focuses on the propagation of high energy, ultrashort pulse lasers. These laser pulses are so intense that propagating through air induces breakdown in the air. This results in a long plasma “wire” the width of a human hair. This intense plasma channel has many unusual properties the lab is trying to better understand. Application for this technology ranges from defense to communications to machining. Peña propagates these laser plasmas at low pressures and in aerosol dense environments like clouds. She also creates these plasma structures at a kilometer long outdoor range on the Space Coast.

The most important skills I have developed while conducting research is my problem-solving skills. Lab work requires problem solving on the spot, and continually learning how to most efficiently and effectively find solutions to experimental problems.”