Research projects involving undergraduate students
Dr. Mellita Caragiu
Experimental research involving undergraduate students:
so that experimental work can be carried out at an appropriate level.
purpose will be to give students an opportunity to observe optical
that are less intuitive. The students will have to set up the
themselves, therefore getting a correct understanding of how various
components work. The experiments will use laser radiation and will
concepts in image formation, spatial filtering, holography and
This practical activity can be corroborated with a design of optical
using computer software commercially available. By trying to design a
optical system that has a certain effect on light propagation, students
deepen the theoretical knowledge acquired in class about image
Students who got involved: Heather Buehler, Nathan Baxter
(independent study), and the students enrolled in the Optics course
Robbie Merrill, Debie Cox, Courtney Buckey
Robbie’s “Bear with a fish”
one of the nicest transmission holograms that we’ve obtained!
Jason Field - arranged the display cabinet at the entrance of Meyer
three reflection holograms, and one transmission hologram;
Angela Phares and Brock Prater
See some pictures of the
students working on the holographic set-up!
Link to the power point
presentation about colloidal crystals.
The results of this research have been communicated at several physics meetings - see a list of them.
Link to the power point presentation of the "pendulum problem".
Solid state computational physics: more precisely, the investigation of the actual position of adsorbed atoms on various surfaces.
Starting in the early 1970s, there has been a continuous interest in
the field of surface physics. The interest is legitimate due to the
that surfaces play in technological applications and much improvement
expected once the processes that occur at surfaces are understood.
It is for the purpose of a detailed knowledge of the interfaces at the atomic level, that the LEED (Low Energy Electron Diffraction) technique is extensively used in the study of solid surfaces. The technique has the capability to provide the coordinates of the surface atoms, facilitating the understanding of the interaction between these atoms and, ultimately, helping one explain and predict the macroscopic properties of the materials.
In principle, the LEED technique consists of a diffraction experiment that provides the raw experimental data. The data is consequently analyzed, so that the information about the atomic coordinates is extracted. The way that structural information is obtained is by a comparison between the experimental data and calculated, theoretical data that correspond to models of the surface under study imagined by the analyst. The theoretical data are a result of complicated computations that use computer programs developed through the efforts of many physicists.
Working on a problem such as resolving the structural parameters of solid surfaces gives the undergraduate students the opportunity of learning a lot about solid state physics, with emphasis on surface aspects, as well as the satisfaction of being able to obtain new results, sometimes unpredictable. The computer programs to be used require some computer knowledge that is usually acquired during the freshman year by most students.
Electron Diffraction Study of the Adsorption Geometry for Pb(111)-(√
Authors: 1Christopher Lemon, 2F.M. Pan, 1M. Caragiu, 2Nicola Ferralis, 2Renee D. Diehl