Physics News


Physics Faculty and Staff Submit New Patent Application

Prof. John R. Williams (Physics Emeritus Professor), Tamara F. Isaacs-Smith (Physics Department Staff), Ayayi Claude Ahyi (Physics Research Assistant Professor), Prof. Leonard C. Feldman (Professor, Vice-President, and Director Institute for Advanced Materials, Devices and Nanotechnology, Rutgers University), and Prof. Jogesh K. Sharma (School of Engineering, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom) have filed a US non-provisional patent titled "Semiconductor Devices Including Polar Insulation Layer Capped by Non-Polar Insulation Layer".

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Auburn Senior Physics Major Named Rhodes Scholarship Finalist

Auburn University senior Patrick Donnan has been selected as one of the Rhodes Scholarship finalists and will interview at the end of November.

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Auburn Senior Physics Major Named Finalist for United Kingdom's Marshall Scholarship

Auburn University senior Patrick Donnan has been named a finalist for the Marshall Scholarship for an opportunity to study in the United Kingdom next year. He will interview at the British Consulate in Atlanta Nov. 12 to possibly be chosen as one of only 40 U.S. students named as Marshall Scholars and to attend their choice of any United Kingdom university. Donnan, a native of Auburn, Ala., is a student in the Honors College double-majoring in physics and music, concentrating on the bassoon, and minoring in mathematics.

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Donnan conducts physics research in Germany and gives presentation at international conference in Scotland

Physics senior Patrick Donnan made his mark as an academic elite when he was chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar , an honor bestowed upon approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Ever eager for more knowledge and experience in the realm of physics, Donnan, who is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music, spent the summer working in Dresden, Germany, at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems under the guidance of Thomas Pohl, leader of the Complex Dynamics in Cold Gases unit.

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Professors Thomas and Konopka receive funding for dusty plasma research

Ed ThomasEdward Thomas, Jr. (pictured left), the Lawrence C. Wit Professor, and associate professor Uwe Konopka (pictured below), both of the Plasma Sciences Laboratory in the Department of Physics, were awarded two new grants from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation totaling $765,000 for the project titled, “The Physics of Magnetized Dusty Plasmas.”

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Liu receives grant from the National Science Foundation

Kaijun Liu, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, received a three-year, $240,444 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. The project, “An Integrated Study of Fast Magnetosconic Waves in the Radiation Belts,” aims to comprehensively understand the excitation of fast magnetosonic waves, or “equatorial noise,” and their interactions with relativistic electrons in radiation belts. Liu and his team will use satellite data analysis, linear kinetic dispersion theory, kinetic plasma simulations, and test-particle computations to carry out an integrated study.

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Dhar receives grant from the National Science Foundation NSF

Sarit Dhar, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, was awarded a $598,777 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation program. The grant will support collaborative research between Auburn University and industry partners CoolCAD Electronics, LLC, in College Park Md., and United Silicon Carbide, Inc., in Monmouoth Junction, N.J. CoolCAD Electronics performs design, analysis and prototyping for cryogenic SiC and IR electronics, and United Silicon Carbide works on the design, fabrication and commercialization of SiC technologies.

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Summer Science Institute at Auburn College of Sciences and Mathematics

Alabama and Georgia high school students are getting an opportunity to explore cutting-edge research topics in biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics through the Summer Science Institute at Auburn University.

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Fogle receives NSF grant for international collaboration

Professor Mike Fogle received a one-year grant in the amount of $21,511 from the National Science Foundation's Catalyzing New International Collaborations program, which is funded through the Office of International Science and Engineering. The grant, titled, "U.S.-Sweden Planning Visit: Research on the Dynamics of Complex Systems with Ion Storage Rings," will cover travel costs for Fogle and a graduate student to travel to Stockholm, Sweden, to develop a collaboration with Richard Thomas, a research associate at Stockholm University. Thomas' research group in Stockholm recently completed construction of a new, state-of-the-art ion storage ring facility, the Double Electrostatic Ion Ring Experiment, which will be used to investigate the detailed structure and dynamics of molecular systems under precisely controlled interaction conditions. No devices of this type exist in the U.S.

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Engleman discusses what to look for in the summer night sky, upcoming celestial events and tips

Do you want to learn more about the night sky? Nicole Engleman, a graduate student in physics at Auburn who has taught the astronomy lab, suggests two simple things people can do to enhance their sky-watching enjoyment: purchase a pair of binoculars and locate a start chart. "The night sky is awesome. There is so much up there, so a star chart, whether you print one out or download one to your smart phone, helps you to know what you are looking at, which is really cool. Once you know you are looking at certain constellations, the night sky is 100 times more amazing," Engleman said. "And using a pair of binoculars is an inexpensive way to enhance your view of space without investing a lot of money in a telescope." Engleman said that there are many easy objects to identify, such as the Big and Little Dipper, Polaris, also known as the North Star, which is found in the Little Dipper, and the fifth-brightest star, Vega, which is part of the Lyra constellation. "Honestly, the summer sky is kind of boring compared to other times of year," Engleman said. "Orion is not even up there in the summer, and you can see it at other times of year. It's also not as easy to see as much in the summer because the atmosphere is humid. The moisture makes it more difficult to see the sky because water vapor reflects light."

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Donnan named a 2013 Goldwater Scholar

Patrick Donnan, an Auburn University Honors College student double-majoring in physics and music, has been chosen as a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, an honor bestowed only to approximately 300 students nationwide each year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

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Prof. Lin Selected as a Changjiang Chair Professor

Coordinated by the Chinese Ministry of Education, Changjiang Scholars Program is one of the most prestigious higher education development programs of China provided by the Ministry of education and Li Ka Shing Foundation.

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New antimatter method to provide ‘a major experimental advantage’

Prof. Francis Robicheaux is co-author of a study published in the Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics that describes a method for cooling trapped antihydrogen which they believe could provide ‘a major experimental advantage’ and help to map the mysterious properties of antimatter that have to date remained elusive.

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AubieSat-1 mission is a success

The Auburn University student-built satellite, AubieSat-1, was the first student-built CubeSat in the state to be accepted by NASA for launch. A “CubeSat” is a 4-inch, cube-shaped satellite that is used primarily for research. The satellite launched into space at 2:48 a.m. PDT on Oct. 28, 2011, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California aboard a NASA-sponsored Delta II rocket. For approximately eight months, AubieSat-1 orbited the globe, and numerous universities and individual ham radio operators signed up to help track the satellite. The first signal was received shortly after launch from Vigo University in Spain. The signal was heard as far away as Japan and as nearby as the University of Alaska, and daily information arrived to the AubieSat-1 team via an amateur radio operator named Mike Rupprecht, who lives in Germany.

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Physics student speaks at annual meeting

Senior Patrick Donnan was invited to give a talk at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics in Orange County, Calif., that was held June 4 - 8. Donnan, who is double majoring in physics and music, gave a presentation during the undergraduate session of the national meeting titled, “Calculations of Hyperfine Antihydrogen Spectroscopy.”

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Auburn researchers play role in antimatter breakthrough featured in journal Nature

A recent scientific breakthrough could lead to changes in the world of antimatter physics, according to Francis Robicheaux, an Auburn University physics professor and member of ALPHA, the international team of scientists conducting the antimatter research. Last year the ALPHA (Anti-Hydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus) team was able to trap and hold the antimatter version of the hydrogen atom. They have now accomplished the goal they set at that time of being able to measure the fundamental properties of antihydrogen. An article in this week’s edition of the journal Nature, titled “Resonant quantum transitions in trapped antihydrogen atoms,” describes the progress made in that research. The article reports that ALPHA has made yet another monumental step toward being able to make defendable and precise comparisons between atoms of matter and those of antimatter. Recently, Robicheaux and collaborators were able to measure the frequency needed to alter the magnetic properties of the antihydrogen atom by sending microwaves through the atom trap. “This is the first baby step into doing great experiments with antihydrogen atoms,” Robicheaux said. “This is the first time any properties of antihydrogen have been measured with any type of precision.”

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Auburn University and Auburn City Schools educators fly in NASA's "Weightless Wonder"

Educators from Auburn University and Auburn City Schools floated like astronauts during a once-in-a-lifetime flight on NASA's "Weightless Wonder" aircraft. The team of six educators call themselves the "Flying Tigers," and as they floated, they conducted experiments that were set up in a clear plastic box to see how various objects and scientific concepts would alter under a reduced gravity environment. According to the team, words cannot accurately describe the feeling of being weightless.

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AU Student Space Program featured on Alabama Public Television

Alabama Public Television did a feature on COSAM's Auburn University Student Space Program as they prepare for the launch of the first student-built satellite in the state, AubieSat-1.

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Physics professor receives $2.1 million grant

Physics Professor and Director of the Plasma Sciences Laboratory, Edward Thomas, received an NSF award through the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program. This competitive program research training in our nation's institutions of higher education, museums, science centers and not-for-profit organizations. The total amount awarded to Thomas is $2.1 million, which includes a 30 percent cost-sharing by Auburn University. This project represents one of the largest MRI projects ever awarded to Auburn University.

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Physics professor involved in anti-matter breakthrough

Last year, an international team of scientists including Auburn University physics professor Francis Robicheaux made a scientific breakthrough by trapping and holding the anti-matter version of the hydrogen atom. When the discovery was initially announced, the team, known as ALPHA, had captured 38 atoms of antihydrogen, storing each for a mere sixth of a second. Since then, ALPHA has made significant progress by trapping 309 antihydrogen atoms, with some held for as long as 15 minutes.

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