Last updated on August 21, 2020. 

Jesse Berezovsky (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, much of my work is motivated by possible quantum computing and primarily concerns the behavior of optically excited spins near defects and in quantum nano-structures. I am also interested in acoustics.

Potential Projects

By confining an electron within a nanoscale semiconductor structure, we can study its quantum behavior in a controlled environment, which may lead to new types of computing based on quantum phenomena.  We are currently planning several experiments to understand and control the coherent dynamics of electron spins in these types of systems, and to explore the interaction of these spins with photons.  Possible projects would include: 1. Controlling the spin/photon interaction with optical resonators; 2. Developing new techniques for measuring the coherent dynamics of electron spins; 3. Studying the coupling of confined spins with a magnetic environment. 

Robert Brown (last updated 8/17/2020 ): An imaging / industrial / medical / particle physicist, I am also interested in science education. 

Potential Projects

1) We are studying a novel device (CAPTIV) for the detection and capture of both the infecting SARS-CoV-2 virus particles and separately the anti-viral human antibodies to provide not only diagnosis of active infection but also collection of antibodies important for demonstrating recovery from the infection using rapid, low-cost, highly sensitive measurements. The approach utilizes the attachment of magnetic particles to the viral material or antibodies present in biological fluids. Both computational and laboratory work are envisioned, the latter have safeguards with respect to handling virus samples and also with respect to social distancing guidelines. This project is built on a successful senior thesis last year by Brendan O’Donnell on Lyme disease studies.

2) A theoretical project involving the solution of the Navier-Stokes equation for spheres moving in a fluid. We are looking for accurate formula over a range of Reynolds numbers that would agree with the famous Stokes law in the limit of small Re (drag force proportional to velocity) and for larger Re recover the velocity-squared dependence expected from a simple momentum transfer model. This can be tested by comparison with published data and a successful model could be utilized in new magnetic particle research.

3) A high-energy particle physics project pertaining to experiments on new accelerators in operation or proposed. This would be built on one or another papers we have published in the past where the groundwork has been laid for new research planned at the new machines. Examples are two-photon exchange during electron-proton scattering, quark-antiquark creation in photon-photon and electron-positron annihilation. The goal is better understanding of the composite systems made up of quarks and gluons. In a separate direction, a recent dark-matter experiment has brought attention to the possibility of evidence for unexpected electromagnetic interactions by neutrinos. This is also related to previous work we have published on possible neutrino-photon coupling.

4) We have developed two deep learning models for magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF), a new imaging technique that allows quantification of intrinsic tissue parameters. They achieve fast and accurate reconstruction for spatial-temporal MRF signals. The first model performs image de-aliasing before the traditional MRF reconstruction. The second model provides an end-to-end MRF reconstruction without any additional processing. We would like to study the three instabilities now known to be challenges AI work: instability under small perturbations of the input, difficulties in detecting small tumors, and failures generated by over-training!

Ed Caner (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): An Entrepreneurial Physicist, I run the Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Programs (STEP) program.  I sometimes advise or co-advise students who have projects related to entrepreneurial goals and may also be able to help you connect with other advisers related to industrial or entrepreneurial projects.  

Gary Chottiner (last updated 3/4/2020 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, my interests include thin films, surfaces and the ultrahigh vacuum techniques required to study them.  I am particularly interested in physics important to energy generation and storage.

As the instructor-of-record for PHYS 351/2/3, I can also help students who wish to pursue a project of their own design that is not closely related to the research interests of department faculty. Such projects should have a connection to physics, but almost everything does.  My assistance might take the form of helping you identify a research mentor with appropriate expertise or, failing that, supervising your effort directly.

Potential Projects

My research laboratory is in a bit of disarray because of a recent move and it might not be possible to support the projects described below.

1.  Understanding the properties and behavior of lithium is of great importance in developing better battery storage systems for a variety of purposes, and it’s often the surface rather than the bulk of the lithium component that matters in these applications.  Unfortunately, a truly clean lithium surface is extraordinarily difficult to create and sustain due to lithium’s high reactivity.  Our lab (G. Chottiner + D. Scherson of the Dept. of Chemistry) has experience in this area and may hold the record for the cleanest lithium surface ever reported.  This project will employ the ultra-high vacuum (UHV) system in Rockefeller 314 (and perhaps other UHV systems on campus) to compare various methods of producing a clean lithium surface, including ion sputtering a solid Li disk and evaporating Li from a thermally heated source.  We’ll then investigate how the surface evolves when it is intentionally contaminated with simple molecules such as nitrogen and oxygen, and possibly more complex molecules that are used in the manufacture of Li batteries.

2. One of the more useful experimental techniques in surface science is Temperature Programmed Desorption, TPD.  A mass spectrometer is used to monitor gasses that leave a surface as a sample is heated.  TPD can be used to measure the binding energy of atoms or molecules to a surface (a quantity that is critically important but difficult to measure in any other way) and, with the help of isotopically labeled gases, the reactions that can occur when molecules and atoms interact with each other on a surface.  One can’t simply purchase a TPD apparatus, it has to be constructed from individual components and the software has to be written to control the experiment and analyze the data.  Our research group has experience in this area but doesn’t currently have a fully operational TPD system.  The student who takes on this project will continue development of a TPD system started by a senior project student AY 2012-2013 and use it to examine a variety of scientifically and technologically interesting problems.

Craig Copi

Corbin Covault (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): An Astrophysicis Experimentalist, my primary interests are in high energy cosmic rays including the Pierre-Auger Observatory that detects them.       

Potential Projects

Our group is active in experimental research in High Energy Astrophysics. Our major experimental effort is on the Pierre Auger Observatory which includes data collection from the completed Auger South (in Argentina) and R&D in anticipation of Auger North (to be deployed in southeastern Colorado) We are also active in two minor projects (XOSS and OSETI). Information can be found on the HEA group web page: . What all these efforts have in common is (a) they involve looking for rapid flashes of light with photomultiplier tubes, and (b) each involves extensive collaboration with scientists and students within our group and among other groups. Senior projects in our group will be developed around one of these five efforts, typically with both instrumentation and software (analysis or simulation) components.

Possible senior projects include optical calibration studies, timing measurements with GPS equipment, cosmic ray shower simulations, and detector prototyping. Our group attracts a number of undergraduates with at least eight senior projects in the past four years. There are also some opportunities for projects in distributed computing and physics education research.

Pavel Fileviez Perez (last updated 3/30/2020 ): Particle Physics and Cosmology, Physics beyond the Standard Model, Dark Matter and Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in the Universe, New Physics at Colliders, Unification of Fundamental Forces, Supersymmetric Theories and others. 

Potential Projects

– Dark Matter: the study of different dark matter candidates, axions, weakly interacting massive particles and others.

– Neutrino Physics: Investigate the origin of neutrino masses, the study of new neutrino interactions and others

– Baryon Asymmetry in the Universe: Investigate different mechanisms to explain the baryon asymmetry in the Universe

– Formal aspects of field theory.

– Higgs Physics at the Large Hadron Collider

Xuan Gao (last updated 3/4/2020 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, I am interested in the synthesis and characterization of a variety of nanoscopic materials, including transparent conductors, semiconductors, topological insulators and 2D materials for nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, energy conversion, and sensing.

Potential Projects

New 2D Semiconductor Transistors with High-Performance
Two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors similar to graphene, a single atomic sheet of carbon atoms, have received much interest for the development of next-generation nanoelectronics (e.g. nanoscale transistors). We will explore new 2D semiconductors (e.g. using van der Waals materials beyond transition metal dichalcogenides) or device modality (e.g. tunneling transistor instead of conventional field-effect transistor) to establish novel transistors with atomic thickness and high-performance.

Optoelectronics with Atomic Thickness
The extraction of atomically thin graphene from bulk graphite has inspired the broad pursuit of 2D materials with atomic thickness. In addition to their electronic properties, 2D materials’ optoelectronic behavior is of high interest for the development of nanoscale optoelectronics. We will explore the separation of ultra-thin nanoflakes of novel optoelectronic materials (e.g. hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites that have shown great promise in solar cells) and study their optoelectronic characteristics for photodetectors or photo-transistors.

Hetero-interfaces of 2D Materials
There are a variety of graphene-like 2D materials with unique physical properties or phases. For example, a 2D material can be metal, semi-metal, semiconductor, insulator, ferromagnet, superconductor, or even host more exotic quantum phases with topological protection. Interfacing a material with another one with different quantum phases offers the opportunity to introduce new phases or functionality in a material. In this project, we aim to build hetero-structures of 2D materials and introduce controllable ferromagnetism or superconductivity in a 2D semiconductor via the proximity effect.

Michael Hinczewski (last updated before 5/6/2019 ):  A Biophysics and Soft Condensed Matter Theorist, I am interested in the interactions of biopolymers such as proteins and force microscopy as a probe thereof.  

Kurt Hinterbichler

Kathleen Kash (last updated 5/6/2019 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, I am interested in figuring out how to grow new materials, particularly complex novel nitride semiconductors, and how their increased complexity can change their properties in unexpected and useful ways.

Potential Projects

Synthesis and characterization of nitride semiconductors

The binary III-V semiconductors GaN, InN and AlN and their alloys, so-called because one of the constituent elements has valence III, the other valence V, are responsible for the revolution in lighting technology, and the award for the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics. The much larger, and intimately related, family of ternary II-IV-nitride semiconductors like, for example, ZnGeN2, are much less well-studied, but recent research is starting to reveal some unique properties of these newer materials. Possible projects could include developing new ways to grow an entirely new ternary or even quaternary nitride semiconductor, or improving on growth methods we have already developed in my laboratory. Other possible projects could include measuring the optical properties of these materials and new materials grown by collaborators to understand electronic processes—how electrons excited by photon absorption lose their energy. A computational project to calculated the energy levels and optical properties of ultrashort-period, random super-lattices may be available.

Lydia Kisley (last updated 3/13/2020 ): Experimental biophysics, soft condensed matter physics, microscopy, interfacial/surface science, nanoscience, physical chemistry/chemical physics, signal processing, and image analysis.

Potential Projects

Prof. Kisley is already committed to supervising two – and possibly three – senior projects in the 2020 – 2021 academic year and will not be supervising any additional projects.

Walter Lambrecht (last updated 8/21/2019 ): A Theoretical and Computational Condensed Matter Physicist, I am interested in modeling  a variety of materials and materials properties using quantum mechanical approaches, ranging from semiconductors and defects to magnetic materials. Some projects focus on specific materials, others on methods development.

Potential Projects

Creating a data repository on nitride semiconductor properties
Our group together with Prof. Kash has been studying a family of semiconductors called the II-IV-N2 materials, where II and IV refer to the column in the periodic table, for example ZnGeN2.  We want to make the data gathered over the years accessible in a searchable database format or “repository” and facilitate visualizing the data on-line on demand by the user. For example, if we know the Raman tensor for each of the vibrational modes than a small code could generate the  simulated Raman spectrum for any polarization of incoming an scattered light. The project would involve building software to do this and incorporate it in our current website. This project would require good programming skills by preference in python and an interest in how to handle data for machine learning.

Michael A. Martens: (last updated before 5/6/2019 ) Primarily a Medical Imaging Physicist, I am interested in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a variety of other magnetic imaging modalities.  I have also worked in Experimental Particle Physics and will consider supervising a range of projects in experimental physics.  I also co-advise projects with other faculty members interested in Magnetic Resonance

Potential Projects

Please come talk to me.  I have wide interests in Experimental Physics and particularly Magnetic Resonance techniques.

Harsh Mathur (last updated 3/4/2020 ): A theoretical physicist, I work on condensed matter physics, gravitation and cosmology and interdisciplinary problems.

A selection of past projects with undergraduates are listed below. Future projects would be on similar subjects.

Potential Projects

[1] “Symmetry breaking, strain solitons and mechanical edge modes in monolayer antimony”, Joshua Chiel, Harsh Mathur and Onuttom Narayan (submitted to Physical Review B, Dec 2019; arXiv:1912.05791).

[2] “The Effect of Forcing on Vacuum Radiation”, Katherine Brown, Harsh Mathur and Ashton Lowenstein, Physical Review A99, 022504 (2019) (link).

[3] “Contact interactions and Kronig-Penney Models in Hermitian and PT-Symmetric Quantum Mechanics”, Foster Thompson, Katherine Brown, Harsh Mathur and Kristin McKee, Journal of Physics A51, 495204 (2018) (link).

[4] “The Radial Acceleration Relation and a Magnetostatic Analogy in Quasilinear MOND”, Katherine Brown, Roshan Abrahahm, Leo Kell and Harsh Mathur, New Journal of Physics 20, 063042 (2018) (link).

[5] “An Electrostatic Analogy for Symmetron Gravity”, Lillie Ogden, Katherine Brown, Harsh Mathur and Kevin Rovelli, Physical Review D96, 124029 (2017) (link).

[6] “Exploring extra dimensions with scalar waves”, Katherine Brown, Harsh Mathur and Michael Verostek, American Journal of Physics 86, 327 (2018) (link).

[7] “An analysis of the LIGO discovery based on Introductory Physics”, Harsh Mathur, Katherine Brown and Ashton Lowenstein, American Journal of Physics 85, 676 (2017) (link).

[8] “Particle in a box in PT-Symmetric quantum mechanics and an electromagnetic analog”, Anirudh Dasarathy, Joshua Isaacson, Katherine Jones-Smith, Jason Tabachnik and Harsh Mathur, Physical Review A87, 062111 (2013) (link).

[9] “Correlations and Critical Behavior of the q-model”, Alexander St. John and Harsh Mathur, Physical Review E84, 051303 (2011) (link).

Benjamin Monreal (last updated 5/3/2019 ): a nuclear, particle, and astro experimentalist. My lab is working on new detector technologies for future neutrino and dark-matter detectors; on solving engineering problems of giant optical telescopes; and on miscellaneous astroparticle phenomenology simulations and data analysis.

Potential Projects

A hands-on lab senior project might involve designing, fabricating (possibly 3D-printing), and testing some new structures which could be used to amplify tiny electron signals in a gas proportional counter; there is a chance that an astronomical optics project is available. An engineering-design-oriented project might involve (if you have MechE interests) design of large telescope hardware components to try to meet thermal, vibration, or strain specifications; electrical, civil, or aerospace-centric design projects can also be imagined. A software/simulation/data-analysis-oriented project might be writing a GEANT simulation of a large particle detector; or running an optical simulation package to analyze a telescope’s adaptive optics limitations; or possibly astronomical data analysis.

Charles Rosenblatt  (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, I am interested in liquid crystals, including symmetry and interfacial properties, as well as phase transitions.  Much of our work is done at the nanoscopic level, often involving nanoparticle inclusions. I am also interested in fluid dynamics studied by means magnetic levitation, particularly its application in the study of fluid interface instabilities.

Potential Projects

Soft Condensed Matter Physics

We study (sexy*) symmetry and electro and magnetooptic properties of liquid crystals, polymers, micelles, and other “soft” materials; their phases and phase transitions, interactions with nanopatterned surfaces and with nanoparticles, and use in devices. Possible projects include nanoscopic control of surfaces for fundamental studies of elastic behavior on very short length scales and for device applications, properties of liquid crystal / nanoparticle mixtures, and creation of controlled topological defect arrays. Additionally, projects may involve the role of chiral symmetry on the liquid crystal’s physical properties, including electric polarizations at an interface that arise because of symmetry considerations.

*This is to catch your attention

Simulated zero and partial gravity

We have been using magnetic levitation techniques to study the property of fluids in gravitational environments ranging from 1g down to 0g. Moreover, we can control the effective gravitational force with time, i.e., introduction of a time-varying force. Possible projects include the study of acceleration-driven fluid-fluid interface instabilities, the study of fluid flow through randomly-packed colloids, how the flow rate varies with gravity and with time, pinning and depinning behavior, and the effects of a time-varying gravitational force.

John Ruhl (last updated 8/21/2020 ): An Astrophysics Experimentalist, I study the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), primarily small angle and polarization (B-mode) correlations in the CMB.  I use radiotelescopes, either near the south pole, or carried on balloons.

Potential Projects
Projects related to radio-telescope observation of the small angle scale and polarized CMB are available.  Please come talk with me. 

Ken Singer (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, I am interested in the linear and non-linear optical behavior of a variety of materials, including high density information storage in layered polymer systems and nanoscopically assembled biological systems.  I also study organic semiconductors for transistors and solar cells and how nanoscopic materials can improve their efficiency. 

Potential Projects

Solar Energy: Next Generation Photovoltaic Materials
Polymers are currently receiving intense interest as the next generation materials for solar energy conversion.  My group is investigating the optical and electronic properties of these new materials.  Potential senior projects on this topic include studies of charge mobility in new self-assembling polymer blends, imaging studies of nanoscale morphology using 3-D tomographic electron microscopy and nonlinear optical near-field imaging, and studies of optical trapping and power conversion efficiency in ultrathin polymer blend films.   Students will carry out optical and electronic measurements and fabricate structures in our new solar cell fabrication laboratory.

Nonlinear Optical Materials
Nonlinear optical materials have a number of current and future applications such as tunable lasers, optical data storage, optical computing, etc.  We are looking into new polymeric and organic materials for these applications and are working on studying mechanisms and materials for nonlinear optics.  Potential senior projects include studies of nonlinear optical responses in new materials, optical second harmonic generation in multilayer polymer films, nonlinear absorption and intensity dependent refractive index measurements.  These are all laser experiments using widely tunable pulsed lasers in the Organic Optoelectronics laboratory.

Glenn Starkman (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): An Astrophysics / Particle Physics Theorist, I have a variety of interests, including theoretical analysis of the Cosmic Microwave Background to understand if the universe is truly infinite or if it has a non-trivial topology.

Potential Projects
I am willing to discuss a variety of projects in theoretical cosmology and particle physics. 

A list of Professor Starkman’s papers can be found at here.  Browsing this
list will give you a good idea of the types of problems on which I might be interested in working
with you.

Giuseppe Strangi (last updated before 5/6/2019 ): A Condensed Matter Experimentalist, I am interested in the design, synthesis and characterization metamaterials and other plasmonic materials.  Metamaterials are nanoscopically patterned mixtures of (some or all of) metals, crystals, nanoparticles, polymers and liquid crystals that have optical properties different from bulk materials.  They have a variety of applications, including sensitive sensors and nanoscopic imaging.

Potential Projects
I am willing to discuss a variety of projects including:

Stimulated Emission in Metamaterials

Metals, which are essential for many metamaterials unfortunately absorb light.  Projects are available that will study how to compensate for these losses using simulated emission from organic dyes or semiconductor nanoparticles.


The evanescent waves in some metamaterials can result in the reflection from one surface of a metamaterial being dramatically sensitive to the properties of the other surface.  Projects are available to make and characterize such sensors.

Cyrus Taylor (last updated 8/17/2019 ):  I have worked on (and supervised undergraduate senior projects in)  a wide variety of physics areas, including aspects of both theoretical and experimental high energy physics, physics entrepreneurship, mathematics of finance, and studies of access and equity issues in physics.  Much of my current work is related to aspects of physics and climate change.

Philip Taylor  (last updated 5/3/2019 ): A Condensed Matter theorist I am interested in a variety of things, including batteries and fuel cells, as well as other topics, partly described in as Projects offered.

Potential Projects

Prof. Taylor is now on ‘half-time’ and no longer supervising senior projects.

Idit Zehavi  (last updated 8/17/2020 ): Astrophysics, Cosmology, Large Scale Structure, Observationally-motivated theorist.

Potential Projects*

Large galaxy surveys such as the SDSS have greatly improved our understanding of large-scale structure and enable detailed studies of the clustering of galaxies and their implications for cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution, and the relation between galaxies and dark matter halos. We aim to explore the galaxy-halo connection using simulations of physical models in order to extend the current empirical approach and build better models to describe the data. Related projects at the interface of theory and observations will explore the role of the large-scale environment in shaping the galaxy content of dark matter halos, their physical properties and galaxy clustering.

* Prof. Zehavi is committed to mentoring a project this year and will not be taking on additional senior project students.

Shulei Zhang (last updated 3/17/2020 ): A condensed matter theorist. I am interested in spin and charge dynamics/transport in magnetic and topological materials including ordinary transition metal ferromagnets, magnetic insulators, topological insulators and semimetals

Potential Projects

Spin wave modes in chiral magnets
Chiral magnets are a class of noncentrosymmetric magnetic materials that are known to host topological spin textures such as skyrmions, meron-antimeron pairs etc. Different types of topological spin textures carry different topological charges (which are characterized by integer numbers -1, +1 etc). It would be interesting to explore how spin wave modes – collective excitations of magnets – depend on the topological property of a nontrivial spin texture. This project requires both analytical and numerical methods to solve a set of coupled partial-differential equations (i.e., the Landau-Lifshitz equation).

Motion of magnetic textures driven by spin waves
While the motion of a magnetic texture in a nanowire is usually driven by either an electric current or a magnetic field, in principle it can also be driven by propagating spin waves since each spin wave carries an angular momentum which can be transferred to the magnetic texture. The propagating spin waves can be excited by a local alternating magnetic field or a temperature gradient. This project will involve seeking numerical solutions of the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert (LLG) equation via micromagnetic simulations which are well-established numerical tools for studying multidomain magnetization dynamics.