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Physics Department Gets Busy Over the Summer

Working in the Modern LabTypically, during the summer break, the Physics Department is anything but quiet. This past summer was no different with several physics majors on campus conducting research. Projects covered a wide array of topics.

Jacob Simmonds '15 studied a method to solve quantum systems using matrix techniques, known as the Spectral Method.

Collin Malone '15 worked  to synthesize solgels, a porous glass, which had been doped with erbium and ytterbium and contain aluminum, yttrium, lanthanum or sodium.

Collaborating with Prof. Dan Boye, Ryan Kozlowski '16, applied the Digitome® software to the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of Blackbeard the Pirate wrecked on a sandbar in Beaufort Inlet in 1718. Digitome® software takes 2-dimensional x-ray images of an object from different perspectives and constructs a 3-dimensional display of the object.

GraDigitome Labham Wrenn '16 worked with Prof. Kristen Thompson on the study of molecular gas clouds.

"Using CLOUDY, we hope to generate computer models of the gas clouds Thompson has been studying," Wrenn explains. "When the modeled data produced by CLOUDY matches the observed data, we can look further into the computer model of the cloud to gain a better understanding of the physics of these molecular clouds."

Becca Garner '16 used the Digitome X-ray system to look at various objects, particularly paintings. With Digitome®, she was able to see hidden paintings and look for underpainting in the Davidson art collection.

Using software to see the image under the imageOther research projects conducted by students include Colin Tyznik '16, evaporative cooling and laser photodetachment spectroscopy of the S2-anion; Grace Watt '15, defects in light emitting diodes; Sarah Friedensen '15, characterized and modeled the low-temperature behavior of materials with disulfide color centers; and Keyuan Zhou '15, defect-related lifetimes and diffusion lengths of charge carriers in semiconductors.

Congratulations to our hard-working physics majors on another successful summer of research!