Astronomy Research

Spiral Galaxies in Different Environments

Professor Durbala's research involves photometric studies of Sloan Digital Sky Survey ( images of galaxies obtained with a 2.5-m telescope. She also uses interferometric data obtained with a Fabry-Pérot instrument attached to the 2.1-m telescope at San Pedro Mártir in Baja California. Her photometric studies of spiral galaxies in different types of environments (isolated, compact groups and interacting pairs) aim at describing the properties of bulges (classical and pseudobulges), disks, bars and spiral arms.

Phenomenology of Active Galactic Nuclei

Professor Zamfir uses optical spectra from Sloan Digital Sky Survey ( to investigate the properties of the central engines in active galactic nuclei (AGN). His is also interested in a search for systematic differences between radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars.

 Condensed Matter/Solid State Research

Nanoscale Magnetism

Dr. Banerjee employs scanning probe microscopy to examine magnetic effects in materials at nanometer length scales.


Dr. Hinaus studies how the entrance of magnetic vortices affects the superconducting properties of high temperature superconducting grain boundaries. Superconductors exhibit zero resistance with a transition to a non-resistive state. The resistive transition is measured using an Ohm's law type setup as studied in most introductory labs. The resistive transition of the superconducting grain boundary is measured at the temperature and the magnetic field is varied.

Liquid Crystals

Professor Veum and his research students study the surface tension of liquid-crystal films in order to better understand the way molecules arrange themselves at the surface of materials. Liquid crystals are compounds that simultaneously exhibit properties of both liquids and solids (crystals). Since they are a little like ordinary liquids and a little like ordinary crystals, they have come to be known as liquid crystals. In recent years, liquid-crystal films have proven to be outstanding systems in which to study the physics of surfaces, but there is still much to be learned.

 Atomic and Molecular Physics/Optics Research


Dr. Farzaneh's research explores the effects of temperature and heat flow in optoelectronic and electronic devices at the microscale and under operating conditions. You can find out more about her research here.

Photoelectrochemical water splitting

Dr. Menningen's research aims to improve the technology that allows a semiconductor to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using only sunlight.

Femtosecond Lasers

The laser system in Dr. Verzani's laboratory is capable of producing pulses of light lasting only 10 femtoseconds (10−14 s). The pulses are produced by a KMLabsTitanium-doped sapphire (solid-state) laser which is "pumped" by the green light from a 5-watt Coherent Verdi laser. Ultrashort laser pulses have many applications in telecommunications, medicine, industry, and basic scientific research. The equipment in this lab is used to study the ultrafast dynamics of charges in materials.
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