Kenneth L. Ratzlaff, PhD

Scientist Emeritus, The University of Kansas
Director Emeritus, The University of Kansas

Kenneth Ratzlaff is retired from the University of Kansas where he was Director of the Instrumentation Design Laboratory with the rank of Senior Scientist.

He joined The University of Kansas in 1981 as Associate Scientist and Director of the Instrumentation Design Laboratory (IDL).

He was promoted to Senior Scientist in 1987. In 1985, he was elected chair of the Computers in Chemistry division of the American Chemical Society.

The Instrumentation Design Laboratory designs and builds special-purpose scientific instrumentation in collaboration with researchers. Most projects involve electronics and small or embedded computers or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

As Director of the IDL, he has been part of a very diverse array of projects including:

        astro-particle detectors at the South Pole (where he made four deployment trips), on an Antarctic ice shelf, in a balloon over Antarctica, in Utah, and in Siberia,

       an array of equipment for FermiLab and CERN,

       various behaviour-tracking devices for fruit flies, fireflies, mice, rats, legless lizards and more,

       high-speed laser control,

       solid-state nmr control,

       collision-avoidance radar and other devices for aeronautics. control,

       detection and control devices for microchips in chemistry,

       miniaturization techniques,

       remote power systems (photovoltaic/wind) in extreme environments including the Antarctic plateau.

Ken has taught short courses in this country and abroad and a graduate lab course in laboratory electronics and computers. He helped team-teach a project-based electronics course in Physics.

Ken came to KU from Northern Illinois University where he was an Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry. Earlier, from 1969-1973, he taught science and math at Moeding College in the Republic of Botswana.

In 1967, he earned his B.A. in Chemistry at Tabor College, followed by an M.S. at the University of Illinois in 1969. After returning from Botswana, he received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1975. Besides over 50 papers and intellectual property, he is author of a book on laboratory computers, editor of a book on imaging detectors, and contributor to several books on computers in science.

Professional Publications


  1. "Theoretical Assessment of Precision in Dual Wavelength Spectrophotometric Measurement," Anal. Chem., 49, 2170 (1977) (with D.F.S. Natusch).
  2. "Microprocessors in Minicomputer Applications," Am. Lab., 10 (2), 17 (1978).
  3. "Computer-Controlled Dual Wavelength Spectrophotometer," Anal. Chem. 50, 1799 (1978) (with F. Chuang, D. Natusch, K. O'Keefe).
  4. "Optimizing Precision in Standard Addition Measurement," Anal. Chem., 51, 232 (1979).
  5. "Optimization of Precision in Dual Wavelength Spectrophotometric Measurement," Anal. Chem., 51, 256 (1979) (with H. b. Darus).
  6. "Characterization of a Charge-Coupled Device Photoarray as a Molecular Absorption Spectrophotometric Detector," Appl. Spectrosc., 33, 240 (1979) (with S.L. Paul).
  7. "Theoretical Assessment of Accuracy in Dual Wavelength Spectrophotometric Measurement," Anal. Chem., 51, 1209 (1979) (with D. Natusch).
  8. "Spectrophotometer Based on a Charge-Coupled Device Photoarray Detector," Anal. Chem., 52, 916 (1980).
  9. "Linear Parameter Estimation in Rapid-Scan Spectrophotometry," Anal. Chem., 52, 1415 (1980).
  10. "The Use of Computer-Assisted Instruction in the Teaching Laboratory," J. Chem. Ed., 57, 1207 (1980) (with S. Engh).
  11. "Interfacing Microcomputers: A Guide to the Scientific User of S-100, TRS-80, PET, and Apple Microcomputers," J. Chem. Ed., 58, 503 (1981).
  12. "Laser Beam Spatial Profile Analysis Using a Two-Dimensional Photodiode Array," Rev. Sci. Instrum., 54, 856 (1983) (with T. K. Knudtson).
  13. "Creating Dedicated Instrument Controllers using Personal Computers as Platforms," Analyt. Instrum., 17, 225 (1988) (with T. Peters and D. Schloemer).
  14. "Picosecond Time-resolved Laser Spectrometer with Expanded Delay Range," Rev. Sci. Instrum., 59, 2375 (1988) (with J. Bostick, C. Johnson, S. Mounter, D. Schloemer).
  15. "HPLC Determination of Transition Metal Ions by Chemiluminescence Detected with a Charge-Coupled Device," Proceedings of the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers, 1055, 123-34 (1989) (with R. Jalkian and M. Denton).
  16. "Computation of Two-Dimensional Polynomial Least-Squares Convolution Integers," Anal. Chem., 61, 1303 (1989) (with J. Johnson).
  17. "`Thin-Layer Chromatography Diskette' Storage of High Performance Liquid Chromatographic Effluents with Off-Line Laser-Induced Fluorescence Detection," Anal. Sciences, 6, 121-129 (1990) (with J. Strojek, S. Soper, T. Kuwana).
  18. Surface-Enhanced Resonance Raman Spectroscopy of Liquid Chromatographic Analytes on Thin-Layer Chromatographic Plates," Anal. Chem., 62, 1438 (1990) (with S. Soper, T. Kuwana).
  19. "Detektory Typu ,Charge-Couple' W Nowoczesnych Pmiarach Analitycznych" (Charge-Coupled Device Photometric Detectors in Modern Analytical Measurements), Wiad. Chem., 44, 551 (1990).
  20. "Development of a Fourier Transform NMR Instrument Simulator," J. Chem. Inf. Comput. Sci., 33, 303 (1993) (with D. Vandervelde).
  21. "A compact hot-nozzle Fourier-transform microwave spectrometer," Rev. Sci. Instrum., 66, 5196 (1995) (with M. Harmony, K. Beran, D. Angst).
  22. “An automated tracer dispersal system for snow accumulation and saltation transport investigations,” Rev. Sci. Instrum., 69(2), 572 577 (1998) (with D. Braaten).
  23. “An inexpensive, semi-automated system for measuring mechanical properties of soft tissues,” J Exp Zool, 284(4), 374-8 (1999) (with D. E. Alexander, R. J. Roggero, and J. S. Hsieh.)
  24. "The Inebri-Actometer: A Device for Measuring the Locomotor Activity of Drosophila Exposed to Ethanol Vapor,” Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 107, 93-99 (2001) (with J. Parr, A. Large, X. Wang, S.C. Fowler, D.M. Ruden.)
  25. “In-Channel Electrochemical Detection for Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis Using an Electrically isolated Potentiostat”, Anal. Chem., 74 (5), 1136 -1143, (2002) (with R. Scott Martin, Bryan H. Huynh, Susan M. Lunte.
  26. "RICE limits on the diffuse ultrahigh energy neutrino flux”, Phys. Rev. D, 73, 82002 (2006) (with I Kravchenko and co-workers).
  27. “Updated Limits on the Ultra-High Energy (UHE) Neutrino Flux from the RICE Experiment”, 29th International Cosmic Ray Conference Pune, 5, 123-126 (2005) (with I. Kravchenko and co-workers).
  28. “Event Reconstruction and Data Acquisition for the RICE Experiment at the South Pole,” arXiv:astro-ph/0705.4491v1, (31 May 2007) (with I Kravchenko and co-workers).
  29. “An Inexpensive Infrared Detector to Verify the Delivery of Food Pellets,” Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 90(2), 249-255, (2008) (with J. W. Pinkston, G.J. Madden and S.C. Fowler).
  30. “An efficient and inexpensive refrigerated LC system for H/D exchange mass spectrometry”, JASMS, 22(8), 1472-6, 2011 (with T. R. Keppel, M. E. Jacques, R.W. Young, and D. D. Weis).
  31. “Design and Initial Performance of the Askaryan Radio Array Prototype eeV Neutrino Detector at the South Pole”, Astropart. Phys, 35, 457-477, 2012 (with the ARA Collaboration).
  32. “Updated results from the RICE experiment and future prospects for ultra-high energy neutrino detection at the south pole,” Physical Review D – Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology, 85(6), 062004, 2012 (with I. Kravchenko and co-workers.)
  33. “Design and Deployment of the Askaryan Radio Array South Pole Autonomous Renewable Power Stations,” RE&PQJ, X(11), 2013 (with D. Besson, D. Kennedy, R. Young).
  34. "Design, Modeling and Testing of the Askaryan Radio Array South Pole Autonomous Renewable Power Stations,” Nucl. Instrum. Meth., A763, 521-532, 2014, (with D. Besson, D. Kennedy, R. Young)
  35. “Searching for Cosmic Ray Radar Echoes in TARA Data”, 33rd International Cosmic Ray Conference, July, 2013 (with Othman, M. Abou Bakr and the TARA Collaboration.)
  36. “Bistatic Radar Detection of the UHECR with TARA,” 33rd International Cosmic Ray Conference, July, 2013 (with the TARA collaboration.)
  37. “Time-domain response of the ARIANNA detector”, Astropart. Phys, 62, 139-151, 2015 (with the ARIANNA collaboration.)
  38. “Design and Performance of the ARIANNA Hexagonal Radio Array Systems”, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, 60(2), 612-618, 2013 (with the ARIANNA collaboration.)
  39. “Telescope Array Radar (TARA) Observatory for Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays,” Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A, 767, 322-338, 2014 (with the TARA collaboration.)
  40. “A First Search for Cosmogenic Neutrinos with the ARIANNA Hexagonal Radio Array,” Astropart. Phys., 70, 12-26, 2015 (with the ARIANNA collaboration.)
  41. “Design, Construction and Operation of a Low-Power, Autonomous Radio-Frequency Data-Acquisition Station for the TARA Experiment,” Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A797, 110-120, 2015. (with the TARA collaboration.)
  42.  "Design and Performance of the ARIANNA HRA-3 Neutrino Detector Systems,” IEEE Trans. Nuclear Science, 62(5), 2202-2215, 2015 (with the ARIANNA collaboration.)
  43. “First constraints on the ultra-high energy neutrino flux from a prototype station of the Askaryan Radio Array,” Astropart. Phys., 70, 62-80, 2015 (with the ARA collaboration.)
  44. “The Askaryan radio array,” AIP Conference Proceedings, 1535(1), 15, 2016 (with the ARA collaboration.).
  45. “Performance of two Askaryan Radio Array stations and first results in the search for ultra-high energy neutrinos,” Physical Review D, 93, 082003-1 – 082003-26, 2016 (with the ARA collaboration).
  46. “Antarctic Surface Reflectivity Measurements from the ANITA-3 and HiCal-1 Experiments,” Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation, 6.2, 2017 (with the ANITA collaboration.)
  47. “Constraints on the Ultra-High Energy Neutrino Flux from the Gamma-Ray Bursts from a Prototype Station of the Askaryan Radio Array,” Astropart. Phys., 88, 7-16, 2017 (with the ARA collaboration).
  48. "Antarctic surface reflectivity calculations and measurements from the ANITA-4 and HiCal-2 Experiments," Physical Review D, 98, 042004, 2018, (with S. Prohira and the ANITA Collaboration.)
  49. "Implementation of a custom time-domain firmware trigger for RADAR-based cosmic ray detection," Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, A890, 126-132, 2018 (with S. Prohira, D. Besson, S. Kunwar, and R. Young.)
  50. "HiCal 2: An instrument designed for calibration of the ANITA experiment and for antarctic surface reflectivity measurements," Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, A918, 60-66, 2019 (with S. Prohira and the ANITA collaboration.)
  51. Design and performance of an interferometric trigger array for radio detection of high-energy neutrinos,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, A930, 112-125, 2019 (with the ARA collaboration.)
  52. “Measurement of the real dielectric permittivity ϵr of glacial ice,” Astroparticle Physics, 108, 63-73, 2019. (with the ARA collaboration.)
  53. HiCal 2: An instrument designed for calibration of the ANITA experiment and for Antarctic surface reflectivity measurements,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 918, 60-66, 2019. (with S. Prohira and the ANITA collaboration.)


Books and Chapters


  1. "Concepts, Approaches, and Capabilities of Laboratory Computers," in The Laboratory Computer Coursebook and Catalog, American Chemical Society Chicago Section, 1981.
  2. "Computer Science and the New Small Computer," in Computer Education of Chemists, P. Lykos, Ed., Wiley, New York, 1984.
  3. "UV-Visible Spectrophotometry," in Spectroscopic Methods of Analysis for Molecules, G. Christian and J. Callis, eds., J. Wiley, New York, 1986.
  4. An Introduction to Computer-Assisted Experimentation, Wiley-Interscience: New York, January, 1987.
  5. "The Role of the Microcomputer," in Practical Guide to Chemometrics, S. J. Haswell, ed., Dekker, 1992 (with E. H. Ratzlaff).
  6.  Charge-Transfer Devices in Spectroscopy, VCH: New York, 1995. (co-edited with Jonathan Sweedler and M. Bonner Denton).
  7. "Computer/Instrument Interfacing," in What Every Chemist Should Know About Computing, T. Zielinski and May Swift, eds., ACS Press: Washington, D.C., 1997.


Invention Disclosures


  1. “Security System for Personal Computers,” 1999 with Ricardo Roggero and Michael Gusick.
  2. “Personal Data Recorder,” 2003 with Troy Zarcone and Alan Hase.
  3. “Power Supply/Electrochemical Detection System for Capillary Electrophoresis on a Chip,” 2003 with John P. Ledford.
  4. “Spin Control System for Solid State NMR,” 2008 with Robert W. Young. (In production for Revolution NMR.)
  5. “Millimeter-Resolution Mouse Force Tracker,” 2011 with Robert W. Young, Stephen C. Fowler and George R. Fullen. US Patent 9,408,372  granted August 9, 2016.