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Coarse-grain modeling of polymers

Physicists at the School of Physics and Astronomy are using modeling techniques to make things easier for chemists working with polymers. Taher Ghasimakbari is a graduate student working in theoretical condensed matter physics on diblock copolymers, a family of materials with wide range of applications from drug delivery to strengthening plastics. Spandex and polyurethane are examples of block copolymers in the same family of materials as diblock copolymers ever since. This class of polymers were invented in the 1950s and have been studied extensively. More »

James Kakalios

The Best of Both Worlds

Professor James Kakalios is a condensed matter experimental physicist whose research involves the growth and study of materials that combine amorphous and nanocrystalline semiconductors. Kakalios and his colleague and collaborator, Prof. Uwe Kortshagen in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota are hoping to get the best of both worlds out of these entirely new, hybrid materials. The composites combine the ease of deposition over large areas at low cost provided by amorphous silicon with the superior electronic properties of crystalline silicon. More »

Martin Greven

Link between charge order and quantum oscillations found in high temperature superconductors

Professor Martin Greven of the School of Physics and Astronomy has led a research effort that found a link between quantum oscillations and charge order in high temperature superconductors. Superconductivity is a quantum mechanical phenomenon of exactly zero electrical resistance and expulsion of magnetic fields that occurs in certain materials when cooled below a characteristic critical temperature. More »

Karl Young

EBEX and the search for B-Modes

Karl Young is a graduate student in Shaul Hanany’s observational cosmology group, working on EBEX. EBEX is a planned balloon-borne telescope designed to observe polarization patterns in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The CMB is a remnant from the Big Bang. Physicists are searching the CMB for evidence of “B Modes”, a theorized polarization pattern imprinted in the CMB by the gravitational waves produced by the expansion of the universe during the Big Bang. Gravitational waves were theorized by Einstein and are a wave caused by the movement of a very large body in space. More »

Semere Tadesse

The interaction between light and sound

Semere Tadesse is a physics graduate student working on optics with Electrical Engineering and Physics graduate faculty member Professor Mo Li. His research integrates optical and surface acoustic wave devices on piezoelectric aluminum nitride film, which enables interaction of light and sound on the same chip. More »

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Society of Physics Students

The Society of Physics Students at the University of Minnesota has one of the most active and effective clubs for undergraduate physics majors in the country. The Minnesota chapter won a national award in 2013 for Outstanding Chapter. More »

Yilikal Ayino

Hybrid topological insulator-superconductor devices

Yilikal Ayino is a graduate student doing condensed matter experiments, working in Vlad Pribiag’s laboratory. Pribiag’s lab is interested in two areas of research, quantum spin transport and Majorana physics in condensed matter systems. The focus is on low dimensional systems – two dimensional electron gases, nanowires, and quantum dots. The group is especially interested in materials that have high spin-orbit coupling, such as Indium antimonide or indium arsenide. More »

Jian Kang

Probing the nematic phase

One of the goals of superconductor research, apart from understanding the physics phenomena, is to discover ways to enhance the transition temperature in superconductors so that they can be made more practical for use in devices. Jian Kang is a postdoctoral researcher, working with Professor Rafael Fernandes in the area of iron-based superconductors. Kang is a theoretical physicist whose research is particularly to understand the mechanism of high Tc superconductors. More »

Dinesh Shenoy

Investigating the Brightest Stars

Dinesh Shenoy is a graduate student in astrophysics working with Professor Terry Jones. He studies eruptions and outflows from very massive stars using telescopes with some of the largest primary mirrors in the world. Shenoy uses the 6.5-meter diameter MMT telescope on Mt. Hopkins, AZ (pictured) and the 8.4-meter diameter Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham, AZ. These telescopes use the novel technique of “adaptive optics” to correct the optical distortions that starlight experiences when it passes through Earth’s turbulent atmosphere. More »

Stefan Fliescher

Polarimetry at the South Pole

Stefan Fliescher is a post doc working with Clem Pryke on the BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments. Both these experiments are polarimetry telescopes located at the South Pole which track the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The CMB is a remnant signal from the Big Bang. Pryke’s group is looking for B Mode patterns in the CMB which would be confirmation of the inflationary model of the early Universe. Cosmologists have long predicted that Universe underwent a period of rapid, exponential expansion in the first few fractions of a second after the big bang. More »


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