Department of Physics

Student Research

Physics majors are encouraged to participate in our research programs. This participation often leads to opportunities to make presentations at research conferences as well as to co-author articles for publication in refereed research journals. Most importantly, we believe, is that this experience is extremely useful for promoting the careers of future scientists, teachers, engineers, doctors, and the careers of the many other professions pursued by our graduating students.

Each summer, several research fellowships are available to students. Typically, Fellows are awarded a stipend of $4000 for 10 weeks of research during the summer. Along with the stipend, a modest equipment and supplies budget of $500 is also available to those engaged in experimental work.

Summer 2020 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • First-principles study of V(1+x)S(2-x) monolayer, Adam Ramker (P. Lukashev, advisor)
  • Chemical substitution induced half-metallicity in CrMnSb(1-x)Px, Devon VanBrogen (P. Lukashev, advisor)

  • Spin-gapless semiconductivity in Ti2CoSi, Evan O'Leary (P. Lukashev, advisor)

  • Griffiths Phase in disordered magnetic materials, Aaron Janaszak and Lukas Stuelke (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Exploring the Griffiths Phase in the 3D Ising Model, Paul White (P. Shand, advisor)

Summer 2019 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Aligning the PRISMS Plus Curriculum with the Next Generation Science Standards and Education Research, Juliana Huegerich (L. Escalada, advisor) 

  • Acquisition of Physics Knowledge Using the Parallax BOE Online Manual for Coding and Robotics, Tyler Brown (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Stochastic Lattice Simulation of the RAD51 Nucleoprotein Filament Formation on Single-Stranded DNA, Mary Sutton (A. Tabei, advisor)

  • Technique development of finite layer dichalcogenides through mechanical exfoliation on gold substrate, Taylor Harris (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Identifying Elemental Composition of Sand Grains with EDX, Gaoyong Wu (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Analysis of Insulative Properties of Cellulose Aerogels by Solid Volume Fraction, Dexter Cox (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Analyzing Understanding of Electromagnetism in Workshop Physics, Ernest Toutant III (J. Morgan, advisor)

  • Half-metallicity in CrAl-terminated Co2CrAl Thin Film, Ryan Carlile (P. Lukashev, advisor)

  • The Manhattan Project and the Globalization of Nuclear Weapons, Cole Schreiber (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Molecular Dynamics Study of an Actin Cytoskeletal Network, Nathan Schmidt (A. Tabei, advisor)

  • Electronic, Magnetic, and Structural Properties of Fe2MnSn Heusler Alloy, Sam Prophet (P. Lukashev, advisor)

  • Scanning Tunneling Microscope Tip Preparation by Electrochemical Etching, Sophie Roberts (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Electrical Properties of Gold on MoS2, Dylan Blattner (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Quantum Growth of Palladium on MoS2, Skylar Scott (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Building a Sample Holder to Measure Conductivity in Situ, Adam Ramker (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

Summer 2018 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Density Optimization of Nanocellulose Aerogels for Improved Catalytic Behavior, Dexter Cox (T. Kidd, advisor)
  • Magnetic Phase Transitions in Manganese-Intercalated Dichalcogenides, Paul White (P. Shand, advisor)
  • Understanding Intercellular Transport, Nathan Schmidt (A. Tabei, advisor)
  • Quantum Size Effects in Silver, Evan O'Leary (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)
  • Structural and Magnetic Properties of bulk Mn2PtSn, Sam Prophet (P. Lukashev, advisor)
Summer 2017 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Magnetic Properties of Crystalline Mn–intercalated Tantalum Disulfide, Jake Parks and Michael Kuntz (P. Shand, advisor)
  • Computational Biophysics of Cytoskeleton Structures, Joseph Tibbs (A. Tabei, advisor)
  • Nanocellulose TiO2 Composite Aerogels, Keegan Morrissey, (T. Kidd, advisor)
  • Raman Spectroscopy of Two-Dimensional Materials, Chuhan Wang and Xiaoxiao Liu (R. He advisor)
  • Raman Spectroscopy of Nanomaterials, Logan Winford (R. He, advisor)
Summer 2016 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Quantum Size Effects in Au Layers on MoS2Jacob Weber and Ryan Holzapfel, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Magnetic Properties of FexTaS2, Neil Campbell and Matthew Junge, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Walking on Self-Similar Structures, Michael Martin and Colten Lastine, (A. Tabei, advisor)

  • TiO2 Coated Nanocellulose Aergoel Catalysts, Byron Fritch (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Printing in 3D with Chocolate, Kristine Nielson, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Migration and Aggregation in Subsurface Nanostructures grown on Layered Materials via Electron Beam Radiation, Payton Burken, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Investigation of Niobium Diselenide (NbSe2) by Raman Spectroscopy, Cai He, (R. He advisor)

  • Optical Studies of SnS, Chuhan Wang (R. He advisor)

  • Measurement of Raman Shift of MoS2, Gaihua Ye, (R. He, advisor)

  • Raman research of nanomaterials, Xiaoxiao Liu, (R. He, advisor)

  • First principles (DFT) and experimental (PLD) study of electronic structure in half-metals: IrMnSb, and Co2Mn, Juliana Herran, (P. Lukashev, advisor)

  • Effects of pressure, biaxial strain, and surface state on spin polarization of IrMnSb, Ibrica Tutic, (P. Lukashev, advisor)

Summer 2015 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Testing the Energy States of MoS2Using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, Keith Doore, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Transformations of Magnetic Order in Mn.18TaS2 Nanotubes, Lucas Beving, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Developing Standards- and Research-based High School Physics Instructional Units, Kirsten Olson, (L. Escalada, advisor)

  • Studying the Properties of Hindered Diffusion, Andrew J. Milbrandt, (A. Tabei, advisor)

  • Van der Waal Interactions in Ultrafine Nanocellulose Aerogels, Byron Fritch, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Magnetic Behavior of Nanostructure Mn0.15TaS2 and Mn0.16TaS2, Matthew Fleming, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Oiramy, the Electric Go Kart, Kristine Nielsen, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Autonomous Wi-Fi Detecting Rover, Colten Lastine, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Nanostructure Growth Rates and Structural Composition, Ryan Holzapfel, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Electrical Currents and Nanomaterials, Payton Burken, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Structural and Electronic Properties of Mn2RuSn, Noah Hurley, (P. Lukashev, advisor)

  • Labview Controlled Robotics, John Danker, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Sustainable Robotics, Jessica Thatcher, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • AFM of Nanostructured Layered Materials, Amber Hartness, (T. Kidd, advisor)

Summer 2014 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Laser Heating of Bi2 Te3 NanoplatesLouis (Chao) Ji, (R. He, advisor)

  • Superspin Glass Behavior of Nanostructured Mn-Intercalated TaS2, John Danker, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Raman Studies of Vibrational Properties of doped Topological Insulators, Casie Means-Shively, (R. He, advisor)

  • Studies of Monolayer MoS2 /WSe2 Heterostructures, Zhipeng Ye, (R. He, advisor)

  • Electron Injection into Finite Layer Materials, Andrew Folken, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Simultaneous Synthesis of Nanoscale Carbon and Molybdenum Disulfide via Ultrasonic Cavitation, Eric Clausen, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Exploring the Complex Mechanics of Six Legged Movement, Gaihua (Sebastian) Ye, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Robotic Prosthetics: Interfacing Electronics with Biology, Jessica Thatcher, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Electron Injection into Finite Layer Materials, Matthew Cook, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Creating Nanoscale SIS Junctions Using Layered Materials, Josh Frost, (T. Kidd, advisor)

Summer 2013 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Manual of 3D First Person View Quadcopter, Zhipeng Ye, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • The Physics of Mario Kart, Alex Corker, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Preparation of Nanocellulose Areogels, Andrew Folken,  (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Nanoparticle Synthesis Via Ultrasonic Cavitation, Eric Clausen, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Surveying Iowa High School Physics Teachers, Darian Everding, (J. Morgan, advisor)

  • Incorporation of Carbon Nanotubes into Nanocellulose Solids, Shawn Poellet, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Investigation of Twisted Bilayer Graphene by Raman Spectroscopy, Courtney Keiser, (R. He, advisor)

  • Magnetic Phase Transitions in Intercalated Dichalcogenide Nanostructures, Corbyn Mellinger, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Creation of 3D Nanostructures in Layered Materials, Kyle Spurgeon, (T. Kidd advisor)

  • Probing Phase Transition and Surface Properties of Topological Insulator Nanostructures by Ramn Spectroscopy, Conor Delaney, (R. He, advisor)

  • The Study of Intercalates and Nanostructures in BSCCO via the STM, Noah Hurley, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Calculation of Magnetic Penetration Depth in Superconductors, Josh Frost, (J. Deisz, advisor)

  • Strong Gravitational Lensing by Black Holes, Seth Ebling, (T. Yasuda, advisor)

Summer 2012 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Magnetic behavior of Mn-intercalated TaS2 nanostructures, Corey Cooling, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Measurement of Si film attenuation in varied hydrogen environments, Bradley Friend, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Scattering of charged gold grains, Matthew Eckes, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • IPTIR Program Analysis and UNI Physics Education Enhancement, Jeremy Hulshizer, (L. Escalada, advisor)

  • Optical spectroscopy of topological insulator nanoplates, Conor Delaney, (R. He, advisor)

  • Three dimensional nanostructures on layered dichalcogenides, Ben Beck, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Gravitational lensing in astrophysical systems, Sarah Pearce, (C. Chancey, advisor)

  • Applications of Wavelet Analysis in Physical Problems, Logan Smith, (T. Yasuda, advisor)

  • Creating a Wireless Sensing and Control Network Using LabVIEW, Chris Reilly, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Pentacene Monolayers Deposited onto Graphine, Madiha Ahsan, (M. Roth, advisor)

Summer 2011 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Acoustics: Inharmonicity of Piano Strings, Amber Zingler, (R. Hanson, advisor)

  • Magnetic Properties of Mn-In Iron Based Intercalated TaS2Zach Griffith (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Analyzing the Success of the Iowa Physics Teaching & Instructional Resources (IPTIR) Program using the RTOP, Jeremy Hulshizer (J. Morgan, advisor)

  • Auto Correlation and Electronic Behavior, Brad Noethe, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Electrical Transport Anomalies in Nanometer Scale Manganese Films, Erik Wolter, (T. Kidd advisor)

  • Magnetic and Electronic Properties on One-dimensional Intercalated Chalcogenide Systems, Stroh Leslie, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Measuring Attenuation in AuFilms using BEEM, Brad Friend, (A. Stollenwerk advisor)

  • Massively Parallel Deterministic Simulations of Fullerenes on Graphite, Jeff Wallace, (M. Roth advisor)

  • Effects of Boundary Conditions on the Internal Degrees of Freedom of Graphenen Layers, Charlie Hubbard, (M. Roth advisor)

  • Forming 3D Nanoscructures on Layered Materials, Aaron O'Shea, (T. Kidd advisor)

Summer 2010 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Construction of Thin Film Deposition Chamber, Laura Hattaway, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Parallelization and Optimization of a Material Point Method Algorithm, Paul Bergmann (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Properties of Layered Chalcogenides, Aaron O'Shea (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Investigating Voltage Dependence in TiS2 , Byron Tasseff, (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Design and Construct a High Vacuum Sample Holder, Erik Wolter, (T. Kidd advisor)

  • Magnetic Properties of Intercalated Transition-Metal Dichalcogenides, Adam Wilson, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Modeling Dynamical Systems in Reverse Time, Zach Griffith, (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Variable Humidity Etching on Dichalcogenide Crystals, Kody Waldstein (A. Stollenwerk, advisor)

  • Magnetic Properties of Neodymium-based Supermagnets, Mackenzie Johnston (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Internship at Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory, Newport News, VA, Jeordan Piper

Summer 2009 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Experiments in Nanostructured Surfaces, Jason Dove, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Hydrogen Storage in Crystal Structures, Matt Kaspar, (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Profiling Secondary Physics Education in Iowa, Trevor Kittleson, (J. Morgan, advisor)

  • Modeling Nanoscale Magnetic Cluster in Disordered 2D System, Sofya Sergeevna Markova, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Simulating the Cause of the Obliquity of the Uranian System, Tyler Rash, (P. Gray, advisor)

  • Low-temperature Magnetic Behavior of Nanostructured Gadolinium-iron Alloys, Michael Streicher, (P. Shand, advisor

  • Research and development for development of Alternative Energy, Jeff Wallace, (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Computer Simulations of Molecular Systems Under Various Types of Confinement and Pressure, Brodie Wandling, (M. Roth, advisor)

Summer 2008 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Application of Laser Interferometry in Characterization of Solid and Fluid Surfaces, Matthew Connolly, (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • Growth Characteristics of CaF2 on Si(111), Shanon Davis (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Joint Experimental and Computational Studies of C60 Adsorbed onto Graphite, Nareanthiran Karalasingam, (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Molecular—Dynamics simulations of submonolayer pentane and hexane films on graphite, Matt Kaspar (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Computational Studies of Long Nanoscale Molecules, Eddie Maldonado (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Creation Spiraling Semiconductors for IR Sensitive Devices, Viktoria Matveeva (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Behavior of Coercivity in Melt-Spun Gd100-xFex, Andrew Meyer, (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Synthesis of Manganese Intercalated Titanium Sulfide Using Chemical Vapor Transport, Tyler Rash (T. Kidd and L. Strauss, advisors)

  • Grating Stabilization and Control of Diode Lasers, Adam Schulte (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Solar Cell Material Structure’s Study, Valeria Stifeeva (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Magnetic Properties of Cd1-xCrxSb, William Sullivan (P. Shand, advisor

  • Application of the Renormalization Group Method to Simple Classical Physics Problems, Gary Yost (T. Yasuda, advisor)

Summer 2007 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • STM Topography and Spectroscopy of TiSe2 and Mn0.05TiSe2 Single Crystals, Brett Gamb (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Unexpected Mobility and Diffusion of Gold on TiSe2, Chris Massina (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Determination of Critical Exponents for the Paramagnetic to Ferromagnetic Transition in Melt-Spun Gd0.946Fe0.054, Nick Jensen (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Noncontact Determination of Surface Tension in a Small Fluid Sample by Laser Interferometry, Dan Eivins & Craig Pawlak (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • On the Behavior of C60 Fullerenes Deposited onto Graphite: Low-Energy Electron Diffraction and Molecular Dynamics Studies, Matt Karl (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Numerical Study of Unified Models for an Inflationary Universe and a Present Accelerating Universe, Gary Yost (T. Yasuda, advisor)

  • Studying Student Learning in Lens Imaging Experiments, Polina Skietachenko (J. Morgan & D. Olson, advisors)

  • Mass Change of Silver Halide Holographic Gratings during Chemical Processing, Shawn Breuklander (D Olson, advisor)

  • Numerical Simulations of Blood Flow and Thin Films, Eddie Maldonado (M. Roth, advisor)

Summer 2006 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • The Magnetic Properties of Disordered Rare-Earth Nanostructures, Justin Bohnet (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Theta Modulation and the House Diffraction Plate, Shawn Breuklander (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Parallel Computer Simulations of Hydrocarbons Physisorbed onto a Graphite Substrate, Matt Connolly (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Simulating Wind Velocity and Turbulence Using MPM Simulations, James Dean (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Synthesis and Magnetic Characterization of a II-V Diluted MagneticSemiconductor: Cd1-xMnxSb, Jenah Harris (P. Shand and L. Strauss, advisors)

  • Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Studies of Semiconductor Interfaces, Jon Lamb (T. Kidd, advisor)

  • Celestial Body Formations Due to Celestial Collisions, Chris Massina (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Detection of Nanoscale Vibration of Solid Surface by Laser Interferometry, Craig Pawlak (F. Behroozi, advisor)

Summer 2005 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Atomistic Computer Simulations of Projectile Impact on Biological Systems, Matt Connolly (M. Roth, advisor)

  • The Calming Effect of Oil on Capillary Waves: Measurement of the Extinction Length by Laser Interferometry, Kimberly Cordray (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • The Calming Effect of Oil on Capillary Waves: Measurement of the Wave Energy Dissipation by Laser Interferometry, William Griffin (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • Optical Measurements Using a Stabilized Single Mode Laser, Cody L. Law (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Quantitative Study of Double Holographic Lens Fringes, Charles E. Pelton III (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Ion Beam Spectroscopy and Quantum Approximation Techniques to Study Alloying at Metal-Metal Interfaces, Cary Pint (REU Montana State University)

Summer 2004 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Gravitational waves: Their spacetime propagation and detection strategies, William Griffin (C. Chancey, advisor)

  • Theta modulation: Holographic gratings for optical image processing, Natalia Ksenofontova (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Parallel molecular-dynamics computer simulations of the phases and phase transitions of submonolayer hexane physisorbed onto the basal plane of graphite, Cary Pint (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Endohedral fullerene complexes as an alternative to radioisotope dating: Deterministic computer simulations, Bryce Suchy (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Computational study of a nanostructured magnetic system, Kevin Twedt (P. Shand, advisor)

Summer 2003 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Modeling the activation mechanism of sodium channels in neurons, Ryan Collins (C. Chancey, advisor)

  • Investigating the effectiveness of the professional development of high school teachers on their learning and their students' learning and applying the results to develop innovative physics curriculum, Andrea Conley (L. Escalada, advisor)

  • Modeling conductive and capacitive properties of lipid bilayer membranes, Jason Djuren (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Volume holography for color control in fiber optics and display holography, Kimberly Kirchner (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Determination of surface tension from dispersion data on capillary waves, Adam Perkins (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • Molecular dynamics computer simulations of novel phase transitions and behavior of alkanes physisorbed onto nanotubes, Ryan Sanger (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Computer modeling of superconductivity, Tom Slife (J. Deisz, advisor)

  • Investigation of the magnetic behavior of mechanically milled GdAl2, Chris Stark (P. Shand, advisor)

  • Theoretical neuroscience: Modeling the activation mechanism of potassium channels in neurons, Kevin Twedt (C. Chancey, advisor)

  • Volume holography for data storage, Victoria Zhukova (D. Olson, advisor)

Summer 2002 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Fabrication and characterization of non-linear photorefractive holographic film, Olga Brusova (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Computational quantum mechanics/non-contact viscosity determination, Wes Even (M. Roth and F. Behroozi, advisors)

  • Numerical exploration of fluids flowing around objects of various shapes with random roughness introduced to the shape to explore the onset of turbulent flow, Jane Mesentseva (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Control, measurement, and application of laser coherence length in a gas and a diode laser, Aaron Rueter (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Computational quantum mechanics/non-contact viscosity determination, Justin Smith (M. Roth and F. Behroozi, advisors)

  • Spin-glass behavior of mechanically milled GdAl2, Chris Stark (P. Shand, advisor)

Summer 2001 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • An investigation on determining effective strategies in addressing student preconceptions in physics, Ekaterina Chtchourova (R. Unruh & L. Escalada, advisors)

  • Collision based planetary formation, Wesley Even (M. Roth, advisor)

  • Dispersion of capillary waves in binary fluids: Relation between surface tension and density gradient, Justin Smith (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • Developing and analyzing physics materials that utilize PRISMS pedagogy, Nora Taylor (L. Escalada & R. Unruh, advisors)

  • AC susceptibility of mechanically-milled GdAl2, Cody Wilson (P. Shand, advisor)

Summer 2000 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • Analysis of the Effect of Disorder and Interactions in 2d Superconductors, Benjamin Buhrow (J. Deisz, advisor)

  • Bulk Viscosity of Binary Fluids, Daniel Eivins ( F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • Factors Contributing to Student Success In Introductory Physics, Carl Gross (M. Thoresen, advisor)

  • Asymmetrical properties of a vibrating wire and their effect, Andrew Morrison (R. Hanson, advisor)

  • Development of a CCD Camera System for Use in Holographic Character Recognition And Surface Measurement, Preston Podaril (D. Olson, advisor)

  • Bulk Viscosity vs. Surface Viscosity of Binary Fluids, Noah Podolefsky (F. Behroozi, advisor)

  • Internship at John Deere Product Engineering Center, Julia Moeller (P. Shand, advisor)