The faculty have listed the following as potential projects for students undertaking a senior thesis.


Current students (graduating 2020)

Continuing students (graduating 2021 or later)

# ADDITIONAL projects available for those graduating 2021 or later

Project short title (may be additional information if you scroll to end)

Craig, David

Bauml (20)
Jepson (20)
Wilson (20)
Linebarger (21)
Nelson (21)
Schimleck (21)
Hanson (21)

Magone (22)

Quantum inequalities in the decoherent histories formulation of quantum theory
Decoherence, the uncertainty principle, and quantum information
Canonical structure of loop quantum cosmology
Singularity resolution in loop quantum cosmology
Emergence of the arrow of time
Effective equations in loop quantum cosmology
Path integrals, decoherence, and partitions of space-time paths

Dray, Tevian (Mathematics)

Johnson (20)  none 0 Dr. Dray (Math Education, mathematical physics) is not supervising projects for 2020/2021
Gire, Elizabeth  Treece (20) van Balderen (21) 1 Contact Dr. Gire (Physics Education)
Graham, Matt

Oliver (20)
Colbert (20)

Jeliazkova (21)
Teo (21)
Waymire (21)
Boryer (23)

(scholarship program applicants always welcome)

Contact Dr. Graham  [advertising for USRA-ENGAGE placements]
Optoelectronics: confinement and current generation in emerging materials; paradigms redevelopment lab

Hadley, Kathryn

Kuepper (20), Mullins (20), McCoy (20)

Klimowicz (21)
Perrizo (21)
Jewess (21)
Knutson (21)
Nicolaysen (21)
Rhead (22)

0 Computational astrophysics: modeling protostellar systems; Rossby wave instabilities, plasma shocks
Herman, Greg  none  - - Ambient-pressure XPS (expt)
Jansen, Henri  none  0 0 Dr. Jansen (computational physics) is not supervising projects for 2020/2021
Kornilovich, Pavel (Hewlett Packard)  none Reid (21) 0 (computational) Stable knots in nematic liquid crystals. Contact Dr. Kornilovich if you are interested in starting a project for PH403 in 2020/21.
Lazzati, Davide

Hao-Tung Chuang (20)
Yuantao Shen (20)

Sophie Zhu (21)


 Contact Dr. Lazzati (Astrophysics)
Lee, Yun-Shik  Sakuragi (20) Sprague (21) 0 High-Field Terahertz spectroscopy
Manogue, Corinne  none  none 0 Contact Dr. Manogue  (Physics Education, mathematical physics)
McIntyre, David Solana (20) Scroggy (21) 2 1) Optical tweezer trapping and Brownian motion (exp)
2) Optimized laser focusing via adaptive optics and machine learning (exp)
3) Optical spectroscopy of materials (exp)
Minot, Ethan

 Hansen (20),
Embleton (20), Nguyen (20),

0 (due to upcoming sabbatical plan)

Building low-dimensional devices to study quantum phenomena
Characterizing graphene supercapacitors

Ostroverkhova, Oksana

Spafford (20), Center (20), Wiesner (20), Dewberry (20),
Tollefsen (20)

Smith, J (21)
Collins (21)
Sprueill (21)
Puro (22)

0 Fungi-derived optoelectronic materials; Properties of polaritons in organic crystals
Qiu, Weihong Jiadi He  (20)
Yang (20)
Ripp (21)
Gemmill (BB,2?)
0 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. 
Roundy, David

 Vande Greind (20)
Carney-with Cory Simon (20)

 Kiatvongcharoen (21)
Aranth (21)
Bean (22)

 0 (computational) (1) 2D flat histogram Monte Carlo simulation
Schellman, Heidi Yoke (20) none


Neutrino physics. No additional projects for PH403 students in 2020/21. Contact Dr. Schellman if you are interested in starting a project for PH403 in 2021/22.
Schneider, Guenter none Boss (21) 2 Using machine learning to aid discovery in physics and science. Some computer programming experience required.
Siemens, Xavier Taylor(20)

Conolly (21)
Levenburg (22)
Downing (22)
Medina Hernandez (22)
Nye (21)

Haggerty (21, CompSci major)

0 (1)using radio telescopes to search for pulsars, (2) using radio telescopes to perform gravitational wave observations (pulsar timing), and (3) searching pulsar timing data for nanohertz gravitational waves.
Sun, Bo Sheets (21)

Wong (22)
Franco (22)
Gemmill (22, BB?)
Melville (23)
Chavez (23)

0 Characterizing cell migration in conflicting environment (experimental, and matlab data analysis)
Tate, Janet

Patterson (20), Stewart (20), Kreb (20), Wennstrom (20), Clarke (20)

Kakepoto (21)
Wulf (21)

0 (1) Optical properties of semiconductors (experimental; available) 
(2) Transport properties of semiconductors (experimental; filled)
Walsh, KC Maurer (20), Neiman (20) Bailey (21) 1

(1) Ecampus comparative study of introductory physics using educational data mining and learning analytics. (2) Predictive modeling student success using various artificial intelligence methods. (3) Language processing student's reflective writing.

OSU, non-PH advisors        
Blunck, MIME        
Kim, HW, MTH Eisenhauer (20)      
Higdon, MTH  Greenburg (20)      
Woods, NE Gopal (20), van de Lindt (20)      
Trehu, CEOAS Meyer (20)      
Mulder, LBCC Leathers (20)      
Squires, ME   Goldschmidt (21)     


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.


Dr. Dray (Math Education, mathematical physics) is not supervising projects for 2020/2021.


Contact Dr. Gire (Physics Education)


The vast majority of students get involved in my lab through one of OSU's many research scholarships (URSA, SURE, STEM, URISC, and many others).
Rarely can I  take-on undergraduate scientists who missed the opportunity to apply to one of these generous programs. However, I am always open to meet any physics major who is excited to learn more about our research.  If you're already in your junior year, I can only consider new thesis students in May or later, when I know how many of my students will continue-on and what research scholarships have been awarded. 

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.


Computational astrophysics: modeling protostellar systems involving various aspects including computationally resolved stars, vortex instabilities (Rossby wave instabilities) and plasma shocks.


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


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. Kornilovich at or


Numerical simulations of gamma-ray burst outflows and radiation transfer. Numerical modeling of self-gravitating granular objects.

Contact Dr. Lazzati (computational astrophysics)


Contact Dr. Lee (experimental optics)


Contact Dr. Manogue (Physics Education, mathematical physics)


(1) Optical tweezers trapping and Brownian motion.  Measure the Brownian motion of a particle and how it is changed by an optical tweezers trap.  Use LabVIEW programming skills from PH 415.
(2) Optimized laser focusing via adaptive optics and machine learning.  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 415. If you have any machine learning skills, then that could enhance the project.
(3) Optical spectroscopy of materials.  Measure transmission and reflection of thin film samples and determine optical properties such as absorption coefficient and index of refraction.


Strongly interacting electrons in carbon nanotubes. Possible uses include devices for future low-energy computing. 

Quantum defects in carbon nanotubes. Possible uses include single-photon light sources for quantum information processing. 

Graphene sensors. Possible uses include brain-machine interfaces as pursued by Elon Musk's company Neurolink.  


Optoelectronic properties of naturally sourced sustainable materials; light-matter interactions in organic materials and their use in optical and electronic devices


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. Histogram Monte Carlo algorithms.

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)


Contact Dr. Siemens (Computational astrophysics)


(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. Programing with Matlab is highly recommended for image analysis.


(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, and learn about Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics. Programming proficiency required.