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Physics and Engineering Research Experience at Miami University

Physics and Engineering Research Areas

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics and Quantum Optics

Samir Bali

Undergraduates in the Bali lab work on experiments that (a) use trapped ultracold atoms at 10 µK to create highly efficient nano-ratchets which may show the path toward creating artificial nano-devices capable of rivaling biomolecular motors in performance, and (b) use quantum coherence in gases to create ultraslow-moving pulses of light at speeds a million times less than the speed of light in vacuum, for applications in quantum information processing and storage. Students gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art home-built diode laser systems and amplifiers, single-mode fiber optics, acousto-optic and magneto-optic devices, magnetic shielding techniques, precision frequency tuning and locking of lasers, and sensitive light detection systems.

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • Construction and design of tapered amplifier systems for laser cooling and trapping experiments
  • Artificial Brownian ratchets on the nanoscale using ultracold atoms
  • Design and implementation of an inexpensive fast imaging system for cold atom experiments
  • Creation and detection of ultraslow light in atomic vapor
  • Information storage in ultraslow propagating twisted light

Burçin Bayram

Experimental atomic, molecular and optical physics offers rich avenues of explorations and understanding of atoms and molecules and their interaction with light. Students will gain hands-on experience in time-resolved spectroscopy, molecular and laser spectroscopy using various pulsed and cw lasers, spectrometers, detectors, optics and electronic devices. The research has a wide range of applications, including condensed-matter, astronomy, quantum optics, chemistry, test and measurement in the semiconductor industry, materials characterization, and biological analysis.

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • Time-resolved spectroscopy
  • Molecular Spectroscopy
  • Quantum Beat Spectroscopy
  • Polarization spectroscopy
  • Construction and characterization of Littman-Metcalf laser cavity using pulsed lasers
  • Absorption and emission spectra of alkali atoms and molecules

E. Carlo Samson

Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to participate in a project involving an ultracold atomic system (Bose-Einstein condensate [BEC] of Rb-87) and the development of quantum protocols for its manipulation and control using laser beams. Aside from performing experiments in the creation of BECs, students will have hands-on experience in the following mini-projects: building an optical system for laser beam control; development of instrumentation control programs using LabVIEW and MatLab; and theoretical/numerical simulations of BEC superfluid dynamics.

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • Raspberry Pi Polarimeter and Beam Profiler
  • Shortcut to Adiabaticity for Harmonic and Anharmonic Traps using BFGS Algorithm
  • Numerical Simulations of the Fast Adiabatic Transport of an Ultracold Quantum System
  • GPU-Accelerated Numerical Simulation of Quantum Turbulence in Bose-Einstein Condensates

Biophysics and Biological Physics

Paul Urayama

Ongoing projects include developing of optical methods for the real time sensing of mitochondrial function with applications in biotechnology and biomedicine, and towards understanding metabolic response under pressurized (100-1000 atm) conditions.

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • Spectral phasor analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiaeautofluorescence in the presence of a NADH fluorescence quencher
  • Monitoring changes in cellular conformations of NADH in yeast during metabolic transitions induced by alcohols
  • High pressure effects on the solvent denaturation of NADH probed via fluorescence spectroscopy

Karthik Vishwanath

Undergraduates choosing to work in the OSIM (Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging Methods) lab will explore the use of optical techniques for non-invasive and non-destructive sensing to quantitatively measure properties of soft-condensed matter systems, such as animal or plant tissues. Open projects include development and optimization of time-resolved optical spectroscopy instrumentation, advanced computational visualization and simulations for tracking photon propagation in scattering media and/or applications of using optical spectroscopy to quantify changes of blood perfusion/oxygenation in skin and muscle with applied external pressure.

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • Monitoring heart-rate from videos
  • Impact of acute-stress on brain hemodynamics
  • Laser speckle imaging of freely flowing fluids
  • Diffuse correlation spectroscopy to quantify blood flow

Condensed Matter Physics

Mahmud Khan

In my magnetism research lab student will get the opportunity to learn to prepare intermetallic alloy samples by Arc melting and annealing techniques. They will also get the opportunity to perform various measurements including AC and DC magnetization and electrical resistivity measurements on their samples. Undergraduate students in my lab have worked on the structural and magnetic properties of Heusler alloys and have published several papers on their research.

Engineering Physics

James Chagdes

Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to participate in biomechanics research by collecting human subject data, simulating mathematical models of human balance and walking, and creating software such as smartphone applications. These research tasks help to achieve our lab's goal of developing assistive technologies for improving the quality of life of individuals.

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • Development of a smartphone application for analyzing shoe insole data
  • Development of a virtual reality environment for human balance studies
  • Nonlinear dynamics of a human balance using a passive-case

Computational Astrophysics

Stephen Alexander

My group's research centers around computational astrophysics where we attempt to solve astronomical problems employing computational physics. These problems have consisted of many issues associated with the formation of solar systems and the orbital and rotational evolution of planetary satellites. Recently, we have adapted our codes to study self-bound gravitating systems like stellar clusters and galaxies. Here, we are simulating the motion of stars in Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies using an alternative to the dark matter paradigm, i.e. Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND).

Recent undergraduate projects:

  • A New Potential-Density Pair For Spherical Star Systems
  • Numerical Tools For The Study Of Primordial Black Holes As Dark Matter In Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy Halos

Quantum Information Theory

Imran Mirza

Have you heard about quantum computers? Are you interested in learning physics behind quantum computing and quantum ways of information processing? Please come and join Dr. Mirza's group where we are exploring these areas. In addition to being interested you should be ready to do some mathematics and running some fun computer simulations.

Physics and Engineering REU Program Outline FAQ

When will the program run?

The REU program will be offered for a ten-week period during the summer of 2024 and has been cancelled for summer 2023 due to lack of funding. Check back in the winter to apply for the summer 2024 program.

Participants should plan to spend the entire time at Miami University. This is a full-time program, i.e., there is no “extra time” for activities such as employment, or taking summer classes. You must be able to commit to the full ten weeks of the program. If you cannot do that (e.g. your college semester ends after May 30), then you will not be admitted.

Regular activities are scheduled Monday through Fridays, acknowledgement of Memorial Day and Independence Day will be off. While some recreational and social activities will take place on weekends, most weekends will be off.

What will you do?

You will be assigned to work on a  project as part of a research group  based on your preferences and available faculty mentors. Research groups may consist of one or more undergraduate or graduate students under the direction of a faculty mentor from Miami’s Department of Physics or one of the engineering departments. In addition to working on research projects, the students of the REU program will participate in professional development activities, as well as social activities. REU students will also have access to recreational facilities on campus, such as the Recreation Center and the Goggin Ice Center for a fee.

Where do you stay?

All REU students will be housed in a residence hall on the Miami Oxford campus, generally in double rooms. Meals are not included, but you will receive a food allowance of $15/day that can be used in a number of dining halls on campus. There are also several restaurants within walking distance of campus. There is also an allowance for use of the laundry facilities in the residence hall.

How will you get paid?

Participants will receive a $5,000 stipend for the entire 10-week period, paid on a regular schedule. Arrangements for travel cost reimbursement to Oxford in May and return to your home in August will be made once you have accepted the offer to participate in the REU. In addition you will get a $750 allowance for consumables and lab supplies to use on your research project. During the year after the REU you may have the opportunity of getting travel support from the REU in order to present your result at a national or regional conference. Details will be explained before you leave the REU.

Are you eligible to apply?

In order to participate in this REU you must be an undergraduate student majoring in physics or a closely related field and have completed at least a full year of introductory college-level physics by the time the REU begins. The program is open to US citizens and to US permanent residents.

What is the application timeline?

The deadline for completing the application will be in February 2024. Both of your recommendation letters also must be received by that date. Offers will be sent out within one or two weeks of the application deadline. Once you have received an offer, you will have one week to accept or decline the offer. Once an offer has been declined, another student will receive an offer until all spots are filled.

Department of Physics

217 Kreger Hall
500 E. Spring St.
Oxford, OH 45056