The Department of Physics and Astronomy believes science is best learned, and mastered, through a combination of class work and hands-on research. Therefore, physics and astronomy faculty members are committed to promoting experiential learning outside of the classroom by involving students in collaborative scientific research on campus. Every physics/astronomy faculty member has a strong independent research program, as evidenced by student/faculty co-authorship on publications and presentations at professional conferences. The scientific research in our department has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the Research Corporation and others.

Quantum Transport Research Group
Faculty Leader: Dr. Nina Markovic

Professor Markovic's research involves experimental study of quantum transport in low dimensional systems, in which one or more dimensions are comparable to a characteristic quantum phase coherence length.  In low dimensions, emergent degrees of freedom can often be created, manipulated, and modified by controlling the size, geometry, or boundary conditions of the system.  This provides opportunities to create model systems in which to study fundamental properties on the nanoscale, and to design new states of matter with novel application possibilities.  Prof. Markovic's work has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics Research Group
Faculty Leader: Dr. Sasha Dukan

Professor Dukan's theoretical and computational physics research group studies microscopic behavior of superconductors and related materials in high magnetic fields. Superconductivity is a technology of the future and Dr. Dukan's research possibly contributes to solutions of the global energy challenge. Dr. Dukan's research group has been supported by the grants from the NSF, the Research Corporation and Goucher College.

Accelerator and Beam Physics Research Group
Faculty Leader: Dr. Rodney Yoder

Prof. Yoder's research group studies new methods for charged-particle acceleration, especially ways to power accelerators with laser energy. Accelerators are valuable tools for industry and medicine (as well as scientific research), but are room-sized and expensive.  By filling tiny resonant cavities with infrared laser radiation, we have shown that it is possible to accelerate electrons from nearly zero velocity to 95% of light speed in only a millimeter--a result that has many possible applications for future technologies.  In recent years Prof. Yoder has collaborated with the Particle Beam Physics Lab at UCLA to design, fabricate, and test microchip-sized accelerator structures built from layers of dielectric materials.  The group has also investigated similar technology for creating x- and gamma-ray sources and tested methods for creating micro-scale electron beams, including pyroelectric crystals and nanoemitters.  Our research combines experimental measurement with numerical modeling and computation.  This research has been supported by grants from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Additional Research