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The faculty have listed the following as potential projects for students undertaking a senior thesis.
Current students (graduating 2018)
|Continuing students (graduating 2019 or later)||Additional 2018/19 projects||Project short title|
Quantum inequalities in the decoherent histories formulation of quantum theory
Dray, Tevian (Mathematics)
|?||Sabbatical leave 2017/18; Contact Dr. Dray for 2018/19 projects (Math Education, mathematical physics)|
|Giebultowicz, Tomasz||Kelley||?||Contact Dr. Giebultowicz (experimental or computational)|
|Gire, Elizabeth||Trumbull (19)||?||Contact Dr. Gire (Physics Education)|
|Graham, Matt||Brandt, Lam, Tafoya
||van de Lindt, Colbert (19),||?||Optoelectronics: confinement and current generation in emerging materials; paradigms redevelopment lab|
Kuepper (20?), Mullins (20?)
|2||Computational astrophysics: modeling protostellar systems; Rossby wave instabilities.|
|Herman, Greg||?||Surface Structure Modeling (modeling), Electron Stimulated Desorption (expt); Temperature programmed Desorption (expt)|
|Jansen, Henri||?||Computational project|
|Kornilovich, Pavel (Hewlett Packard)||Douglas (19)||0||(computational) Stable knots in nematic liquid crystals. No additional projects for PH403 students in 2018/19. Contact Dr. Kornilovich if you are interested in starting a project for PH403 in 2019/20.|
|Lazzati, Davide||Hatcher, Randolph||Estrada (19), Micallef (20?)||
|Contact Dr. Lazzati (Astrophysics)|
|Lee, Yun-Shik||Meyers (19)||1||Terahertz spectroscopy|
|Manogue, Corinne||?||Sabbatical leave 2017/18; Contact Dr. Manogue for 2018/19 projects (Physics Education, mathematical physics)|
|McIntyre, David||Goschie, Bullis||Ramm (19)||2
||1) Optical spectroscopy of materials. (exp). 2) Optimized laser focusing via adaptive optics. (exp) 3) Brownian motion. (exp)|
|Minot, Ethan||Still||Nichols (19), Jepson (19),||1||Determine the mobility of charge carriers in a graphene sheet - design/purchase/build a 6-contact spring-loaded centimeter-scale rig|
|Ostroverkhova, Oksana||Tollefsen (19)||0||Fungi-derived optoelectronic materials; Properties of polaritons in organic crystals|
|Qiu, Weihong||?||Experimental/Computation Biophysics. Potential projects are : i) In silico characterization of the interaction of molecular motor proteins with the tracks they run on; and ii) Characterize the mechanism of bidirectional kinesin motor proteins.|
Simpson, Fernando, Chantland, May
|0||(computational) (1) freezing behavior of hard polyhedron fluids. (2) freezing of a softly repulsive fluid, (3) comparing efficiency of histogram algorithms, (4) modeling of dynein motor protein|
|Schellman, Heidi||Teklu,||Yoke (19), Gonzalez (19)||
|Neutrino physics. No additional projects for PH403 students in 2018/19. Contact Dr. Schellman if you are interested in starting a project for PH403 in 2019/20.|
|Schneider, Guenter||Grigorian||Goode? (19),Weller (19), Embleton (19?)||?||Contact Dr. Schneider (computational biophysics and computational condensed matter and neural networks)|
|Sun, Bo||Chase, Alnatah,Flynn||2||Characterizing self-propelled tumor spheroid in artificial tissue.|
Diffendaffer (19), Berry (19)
|1||(experimental) (1) Optical properties of semiconductors (2) Transport properties of semiconductors|
|Walsh, KC||Bigelow, Ball||0||Project BoxSand. Dr. Walsh is not taking students in for 2018/19.|
My research interests fall into two broad categories, quantum theory, and general relativity (Einstein's theory of gravity), as well as the relationship between them. This potentially includes theoretical and/or numerical projects in quantum mechanics, cosmology, quantum gravity, quantum cosmology, analytical mechanics, and mathematical physics. A few specific potential projects include:
Quantum inequalities: This project would involve conducting a thorough analysis of one or more classic examples such as the two-slit experiment, Bell-inequality type measurements, the quantum eraser, the delayed choice experiment, and so on, and formulating them in the mathematical language of the decoherent histories approach to quantum prediction.
Canonical structure of loop quantum cosmology: This project involves an analysis in both ADM and Ashtekar variables of the canonical formulation (both Lagrangian and Hamiltonian) of cosmological models, including ones inspired by loop quantum gravity, and investigation (possibly numerical) of their physical behavior.
Singularity resolution in loop quantum cosmology: Quantum gravitational effects lead to a discrete difference equation describing the evolution of the universe at very small volume. This project could involve both theoretical and numerical investigation of the properties of this equation and how it leads to resolution of the big-bang singularity.
Emergence of the arrow of time: The thermodynamic arrow of time may well be an emergent property of the universe. This project would involve theoretical and numerical analysis of simple statistical models exploring emergence (and possible disappearance or even reversal) of the arrow of time in the physical universe.
Effective equations in loop quantum cosmology: In a loopy equivalent of Ehrenfest’s theorem, it has been shown that expectation values of even highly quantum states track the predictions of suitably modified effective quantum Friedmann equations extremely well. These modified classical equations provide a framework for investigating the quantum-gravitational behavior of loop quantum cosmological models.
Path integrals, decoherence, and partitions of space-time paths: Investigation into the nature of the partitions of all possible spacetime paths which are suitable to characterize approximately classical behaviour in a path integral formulation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics, and a concomitant theoretical and numerical exploration of the properties of how various classes of paths contribute to the value of path integral representations of particle propagators.
Decoherence, the uncertainty principle, and quantum information: The essence of the quantum uncertainty principle is that it is not possible to know everything at once about a physical system that our experience with classical, macroscopic physics suggest we should be able to know. There is a deep connection between this general principle and the “decoherence” or “consistency” of the corresponding quantum histories – the condition that determines whether or not physically meaningful probabilities can be assigned to those histories – and the information about the system encoded in those histories. This project would involve numerical and theoretical investigations of that connection.
On sabbatical 2017/18; Contact Dr. Dray for 2018/19 projects (Math education, Mathematical physics)
Contact Dr. Giebultowicz (experimental or computational)
Contact Dr. Gire (Physics Education)
The proposed research resolves ultrafast (10 fs to 1 ns) electron dynamics on the ultrasmall (<1 um) length scales.
(I.) What processes promote carrier dissociation in nanoscale solar cells? Students will acquire spectrally resolved absorption & photocurrent movies of nanomaterials.
(II.) Organic solar cells have large spatial inhomogeneity in their electron relaxation and transport dynamics, how can we understand and boost device efficiency? Students will examine the optoelectronic properties.
(I) Computational astrophysics: modeling protostellar systems
(II) Computational astrophysics:Rossby wave instabilities.
1. Surface Structure Modeling (modeling & analysis): The interfacial surface structure of materials define much of their electronic and chemical properties. We have obtained experimental low energy ion scattering/direct recoil spectroscopy data from epitaxial films, and are looking for a student to analyze the data using a software package (SARIC) that describes the physics of the experimental method.
2. Electron Stimulated Desorption (Equipment Development): We are performing electron stimulated desorption experiments to determine the effect of the interaction of low energy electron radiation with surfaces. For the experiments we currently use a single electron kinetic energy. Our goal is to sweep the electron kinetic energy and monitor the effects of desorption species. A range of samples will be evaluated to simulate semiconductor processing and astrochemistry. Experience with software and computer interfacing valuable.
3. Temperature programmed Desorption (Equipment Development): We have integrated a mass spectrometer with a temperature programmed controller in our X-ray photoelectron spectrometer. We are interested in having a student integrate the output from the mass spec and temperature controller into a single software package. The experiments will investigate the chemical changes related to temperature history. Experience with software and computer interfacing valuable.
(Dr. Herman is a professor in Chemical Engineering & an adjunct in Physics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(1) Computational project.
Computational project - Stable knots in nematic liquid crystals: Nematic liquid crystals possess line topological defects known as disclinations that typically terminate on the system’s boundaries. It is of fundamental importance to know what line defects can exist in the bulk of a liquid crystal with boundaries removed. We will be searching for stable disclination defects in the form of closed loops, links and knots. The project will involve numerical minimization of the Frank energy functional and will utilize advanced 3D visualization methods. The project lies at an intersection of theoretical physics, engineering and computer science.
Contact Dr. Lazzati (computational strophysics)
Contact Dr. Lee (experimental optics)
On sabbatical 2017/18; Contact Dr. Manogue for 2018/19 projects (Physics Education, mathematical physics)
(1) Optical spectroscopy of materials. Measure transmission and reflection of thin film samples and determine optical properties such as absorption coefficient and index of refraction.
(2) Optimized laser focusing via adaptive optics. Alter the phase profile of a laser beam with a liquid crystal spatial light modulator (SLM) and improve the laser beam focusing. Ultimately, we could use this to focus light through a turbid medium such as a glass of milk. Use skills from PH 481.
(3) Brownian motion. Measure the Brownian motion of a particle and how it is changed by an optical tweezers trap. Use skills from PH 481 and PH 415.
Determine the mobility of charge carriers in a graphene sheet - design/purchase/build a 6-contact spring-loaded centimeter-scale rig
Time-resolved measurements of charge transfer using optical tweezers
Experimental/Computation Biophysics. Potential projects are : i) In silico characterization of the interaction of molecular motor proteins with the tracks they run on; and ii) Characterize the mechanism of bidirectional kinesin motor proteins.
1. Computationally modeling, using Monte Carlo, the freezing behavior of hard polyhedron fluids.
2. Studying the freezing of a softly repulsive fluid using Monte Carlo methods. This project would explore this system to discover how the feezing (or melting) temperature depends on density.
3. Comparing efficiency of histogram Monte Carlo algorithms. This would test the convergence rate of different histogram algorithms for Monte Carlo simulations, which would involve running large simulations of the square well liquid using different methods.
4. Modeling of dynein motor protein. This project involves simulating a model of dynein, collecting statistics to determine the behavior, and then tweaking its parameters to better match with experimental results.
Students working in the Roundy research group will attend weekly group meetings. Every project involves some level of programming work. This programming may be done on students' own computers, but large computations will be run on the group cluster which runs linux.
Contact Dr. Schneider (computational biophysics and computational condensed matter)
(1) Experimental project. We will use confocal microscopy to characterize how tumor aggregates move in 3D extracellular matrix. Note: this project requires previous experience of cell culture, wet chemistry technique and confocal imaging. Otherwise, training will be provided in the lab and may take up to a month (20 hours). I expect the student to spend at least 5 hours per week on the project, and cumulate at least half year of data. Therefore I ask interested student to discuss with me well ahead of time. The project can be done by a single student or a team of 2.
(1) Experimental project. Characterize thin-film materials by optical reflection and transmission, ellipsometry and Raman spectroscopy. Find the semiconductor band gap and complex refractive index of materials that are relevant to solar cells, energy storage, catalysis, etc. (1-2 students)
(2) Experimental project. Characterize thin-film materials by electrical and thermal transport. Find the resistivity, thermoelectric coefficient, and X-ray diffraction patterns of materials that are relevant to solar cells, energy storage, catalysis, etc. (1-2 students)
Undergrads attend weekly group meetings and work with the lead graduate student on a project. They have their own projects, but are expected to collaborate extensively to contribute to the group effort.
Project BoxSand aims to track students' use of open source content in the introductory courses. Students would help analyse the large data sets.