Physics

p: 704-894-2073

Mailing Address

Box 7133
Davidson, NC 28035

Shipping Address

209 Ridge Road
Davidson, NC 28035

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Facilities

Our teaching and research facilities and advanced laboratories have received more than $400,000 in new equipment during the last five years, and we have some of the best equipment in the country for undergraduate research participation.

Facilities Designed for Interactive Study

Our main lecture hall seats 81 even though our class sizes never get above 40 for the introductory sequence. Introductory laboratory sections are limited to 16 students. Our modern physics and advanced classes, such as quantum mechanics and electromagnetism, usually have 15 or fewer students. The large lecture room has all the modern technological capabilities for teaching. Our small classroom seats 24 and is similarly equipped.

Computer at Every Lab Station

Designed specifically for physics study (including data collection and analysis and multimedia learning), our computers are replaced every three years to maintain power, speed and accuracy. See below for further information regarding the computers designed for physics majors.

Student and Faculty Research

The Physics Department has research opportunities for undergraduates in the areas of computational, experimental, and theoretical physics. The experimental research is concentrated on two of the most active and exciting areas in current research: solid state and laser spectroscopy.

  • Laser spectroscopy of: glasses, bulk crystals, and nanocrystals; negative ions and Rydberg atoms; and semiconductors with applications to opto-electronic devices
  • Theoretical physics with interests in quantum mechanics, particle physics, and quantum field theories
  • Computational physics with interests in the study and implementation of numerical algorithms to solve and visualize problems when the solution does not have a closed-form expression or is too complicated

Student and Faculty Research Equipment

Although you may not know what these pieces of equipment are now, rest assured that hands-on experience is highly valued at Davidson. Our equipment is not locked away and accessible only to faculty, but is a useful and used component of a Davidson undergraduate education. Short on space, we'll describe one such research setup below: the Nd/YAG-pumped OPO laser system.

Nd/YAG-pumped OPO Laser System

There are perhaps only a dozen or so Nd/YAG-pumped OPO laser systems in the United States capable of producing very short (10-8 sec) light pulses from the infrared to the ultraviolet with a peak power of 10 million watts, and we have one of them. While students at other schools probably wouldn't see such equipment until graduate school, Davidson students are working with equipment like this from sophomore year on. Light from this laser system is scattered from materials that Davidson students make and is collected and analyzed by:

  • 1.33m McPherson spectrometer - equipped with a cooled photomultiplier tube
  • 1 GHz digital storage scope - an impressive tool for data taking and analysis

Other key equipment includes a passively stabilized Ti-dye ring laser and a DSC/TGA for calorimetry with microgram resolution.

Physics Resource Center

The Physics Resource Center (PRC) is used by physics majors and majors from other departments for senior projects and other research. The PRC reflects the convergence of scientific computing technologies toward visual and object-oriented programming paradigms and is equipped with the following.

  • High-end workstations in individualized carrels
  • Advanced work including parallel processing
  • Mathematica symbolic algebra
  • PSpice circuit simulators
  • LabVIEW
  • Java programming tools

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact Prof. Wolfgang Christian and schedule an appointment. We welcome your visit at any time.