Research

The APAM Department offers undergraduate and graduate research in the fields of applied physics, applied mathematics, and materials science and engineering. The graduate program includes research in plasma physics and controlled fusion; solid-state physics; optical and laser physics; medical physics; atmospheric, oceanic, and earth physics; and applied mathematics.

Undergraduate Research

There are multiple on-campus and off-campus research opportunities for undergraduate students

Research Areas

Applied Physics Research
Applied Physics research focuses on plasma physics and controlled fusion; solid-state physics; and optical and laser physics

Applied Mathematics Research
Research focuses on mathematical analysis, partial differential equations, numerical analysis, probability, dynamical systems, multiscale modeling, high performance scientific computation, and numerical optimization with applications in optics and photonics, material science, machine learning, data science, imaging science, biology, and climate modeling

Materials Science & Engineering Research
Research activities focus on thin films and electronic materials that enable significant advances in information technologies

Medical Physics Research
Research focuses on radiation therapy, diagnostic radiology, and nuclear medicine

Cross-Cutting Research

Our faculty's cross-cutting research addresses key and emerging areas in society, such as energy, environment, and health

Biomathematics & Biophysics

Qiang Du, Applied Mathematics
Numerical analysis, mathematical modeling and scientific computation with selected applications in physical, biological, materials, data and information sciences

Oleg Gang, Applied Physics
Soft matter physics; programmable self-assembly of nanoscale systems; soft and biomaterials with tailored functions

Latha Venkataraman, Applied Physics
Single-molecule transport and mechanics, electron transport at the nano-scale, x-ray photoemission spectroscopy

Chris H. Wiggins, Applied Mathematics
Applied mathematics, mathematical biology, biopolymer dynamics, soft condensed matter, genetic networks and network inference, machine learning

Nanfang Yu, Applied Physics
Nanophotonics, mid-infrared and far-infrared optics and optoelectronic devices, 2D and 1D designer optical structures, active plasmonics and meta-surfaces integrating gain and nonlinear media, quantum cascade lasers, infrared imaging and spectroscopy, biophysics: perception and control of infrared radiation by insects

Computational Science

Daniel Bienstock, Applied Mathematics
Applied mathematics, methodology and high-performance implementation of optimization algorithms, applications of optimization: preventing national-scale blackouts, emergency management, approximate solution of massively large optimization problems, higher-dimensional reformulation techniques for integer programming, robust optimization

Simon J. L. Billinge, Materials Science and Engineering
Amorphous and nanostructured pharmaceuticals and molecular materials, methods for solving the nanostructure problem, nanoscale fluctuations in exotic electronic materials, nanostructured materials for energy and environmental remediation, software for complex modeling and nanostructure determination

Qiang Du, Applied Mathematics
Numerical analysis, mathematical modeling and scientific computation with selected applications in physical, biological, materials, data and information sciences

Kyle Mandli, Applied Mathematics
Computational and analytical aspects of geophysical problems dealing with shallow mass; Development of adaptive mesh refinement strategies for geophysics; Design and implementation of wave propagation software

Chris Marianetti, Materials Science and Engineering
Predicting materials properties from first-principles computations; materials with energy related applications; density-functional theory; dynamical mean-field theory; transition-metal oxides; actinides, energy storage and conversion materials

Lorenzo M. Polvani, Applied Mathematics
Atmospheric and climate dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, numerical methods for weather and climate modeling, planetary atmospheres

Kui Ren, Applied Mathematics
Uncertainty quantification (UQ), reduced order models (ROMs), hyperbolic partial differential equations

Amir Sagiv, Applied Mathematics
Differential equations, dynamics, optics, uncertainty quantification, approximation theory, numerical analysis, and mathematical analysis

Adam H. Sobel , Applied Mathematics
Atmospheric and climate dynamics, tropical meteorology, extreme weather

Marc W. Spiegelman, Applied Mathematics
Advanced computation for multi-physics problems with applications to coupled fluid-solid mechanics in Earth Sciences (e.g. magma dynamics, carbon sequestration)

Chris H. Wiggins, Applied Mathematics
Applied mathematics, mathematical biology, biopolymer dynamics, soft condensed matter, genetic networks and network inference, machine learning

Renata Wentzcovitch, Materials Science/Applied Physics
Computational materials physics, simulation of matter at extreme conditions, mineral physics

Earth & Climate

Kyle Mandli, Applied Mathematics
Computational and analytical aspects of geophysical problems dealing with shallow mass; Development of adaptive mesh refinement strategies for geophysics; Design and implementation of wave propagation software

Lorenzo M. Polvani, Applied Mathematics
Atmospheric and climate dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, numerical methods for weather and climate modeling, planetary atmospheres

Adam H. Sobel, Applied Mathematics
Atmospheric and climate dynamics, tropical meteorology, extreme weather

Marc W. Spiegelman, Applied Mathematics
Advanced computation for multi-physics problems with applications to coupled fluid-solid mechanics in Earth Sciences (e.g. magma dynamics, carbon sequestration)

Michael Tippett, Applied Mathematics
Predictability and variability of the climate system, with emphasis on the application of statistical methods to data from observations and numerical models

Renata Wentzcovitch, Materials Science/Applied Physics
Computational materials physics, simulation of matter at extreme conditions, mineral physics

Electron Conduction on the Nanoscale

William Bailey, Materials Science and Engineering
Nanoscale magnetic films and heterostructures, materials issues in spin-polarized transport, materials engineering of magnetic dynamics

Katayun Barmak, Materials Science and Engineering
Processing and structure (crystal structure and microstructure) relationships to electrical and magnetic properties of metal films; developing transmission electron microscopy automated orientation imaging techniques that can be applied to the study of nanostructured materials; use of differential scanning calorimetry for the study solid state reactions and phase transformations in thin films

Latha Venkataraman, Applied Physics
Single-molecule transport and mechanics, electron transport at the nano-scale, x-ray photoemission spectroscopy

Nanfang Yu, Applied Physics
Nanophotonics, mid-infrared and far-infrared optics and optoelectronic devices, 2D and 1D designer optical structures, active plasmonics and meta-surfaces integrating gain and nonlinear media, quantum cascade lasers, infrared imaging and spectroscopy, biophysics: perception and control of infrared radiation by insects

Grain Structures in Films

William Bailey, Materials Science and Engineering
Nanoscale magnetic films and heterostructures, materials issues in spin-polarized transport, materials engineering of magnetic dynamics

Katayun Barmak, Materials Science and Engineering
Processing and structure (crystal structure and microstructure) relationships to electrical and magnetic properties of metal films; developing transmission electron microscopy automated orientation imaging techniques that can be applied to the study of nanostructured materials; use of differential scanning calorimetry for the study solid state reactions and phase transformations in thin films.

Siu-Wai Chan, Materials Science and Engineering
Metal oxides, crystal-size-related structural changes and properties in nanoparticles, thin films, grain boundaries and interfaces as well as their corresponding electrical properties

James Im, Materials Science and Engineering
Laser-induced crystallization of thin films, phase transformations & nucleation in condensed systems

I. Cevdet Noyan, Materials Science and Engineering
Characterization and modeling of mechanical and micromechanical deformation; residual stress analysis and nondestructive testing; x-ray and neutron diffraction, microdiffraction analysis

Inverse Problems

Simon J. L. Billinge, Materials Science and Engineering
Amorphous and nanostructured pharmaceuticals and molecular materials, methods for solving the nanostructure problem, nanoscale fluctuations in exotic electronic materials, nanostructured materials for energy and environmental remediation, software for complex modeling and nanostructure determination

Oleg Gang, Applied Physics
Soft matter physics; programmable self-assembly of nanoscale systems; soft and biomaterials with tailored functions

Kui Ren, Applied Mathematics
Uncertainty quantification (UQ), reduced order models (ROMs), hyperbolic partial differential equations

I. Cevdet Noyan, Materials Science and Engineering
Characterization and modeling of mechanical and micromechanical deformation; residual stress analysis and nondestructive testing; x-ray and neutron diffraction, microdiffraction analysis

Nanomaterials

Siu-Wai Chan, Materials Science and Engineering
Metal oxides, crystal-size-related structural changes and properties in nanoparticles, thin films, grain boundaries and interfaces as well as their corresponding electrical properties

Oleg Gang, Applied Physics
Soft matter physics; programmable self-assembly of nanoscale systems; soft and biomaterials with tailored functions

Irving P. Herman, Applied Physics
Nanocrystals, optical spectroscopy of nanostructured materials, laser diagnostics of thin film processing, mechanical properties of nanomaterials

Chris A. Marianetti, Materials Science and Engineering
Predicting materials properties from first-principles computations; materials with energy related applications; density-functional theory; dynamical mean-field theory; transition-metal oxides; actinides, energy storage and conversion materials

Aron Pinczuk, Applied Physics
Spectroscopy of semiconductors & insulators, quantum structures, systems of reduced dimensions, atomic layers of graphene, electron quantum fluids

Michael Weinstein, Applied Mathematics
Partial Differential Equations, applied analysis, dynamical systems, waves and multiscale phenomena in inhomogeneous, nonlinear and random media

Renata Wentzcovitch, Materials Science/Applied Physics
Computational materials physics, simulation of matter at extreme conditions, mineral physics

Yuan Yang, Materials Science and Engineering
Developing nanostructured materials for batteries and thermal management

Optical Physics

Alexander L. Gaeta, Applied Physics
Ultrafast nonlinear optics, nano-photonics, nonlinear propagation in fibers & bulk media

Irving P. Herman, Applied Physics
Nanocrystals, optical spectroscopy of nanostructured materials, laser diagnostics of thin film processing, mechanical properties of nanomaterials

Michal Lipson, Applied Physics
Silicon photonics, novel micron-size photonic structures for light manipulation, light confining structures

Aron Pinczuk, Applied Physics
Spectroscopy of semiconductors & insulators, quantum structures, systems of reduced dimensions, atomic layers of graphene, electron quantum fluids

Amir Sagiv, Applied Mathematics
Differential equations, dynamics, optics, uncertainty quantification, approximation theory, numerical analysis, and mathematical analysis

Michael I. Weinstein, Applied Mathematics
Partial Differential Equations, applied analysis, dynamical systems, waves and multiscale phenomena in inhomogeneous, nonlinear and random media

Nanfang Yu, Applied Physics
Nanophotonics, mid-infrared and far-infrared optics and optoelectronic devices, 2D and 1D designer optical structures, active plasmonics and meta-surfaces integrating gain and nonlinear media, quantum cascade lasers, infrared imaging and spectroscopy, biophysics: perception and control of infrared radiation by insects

Plasma Physics & Fusion

Allen H. Boozer, Applied Physics
Plasma theory, theory of magnetic confinement for fusion energy, nonlinear dynamics

Michael E. Mauel, Applied Physics 
Controlling high-temperature matter in the laboratory and studying the behavior of magnetized plasma to predict space weather and to achieve cost-effective fusion energy

Gerald A. Navratil, Applied Physics 
Plasma physics, plasma diagnostics, fusion energy science

X-Ray & Neutron Scattering

William Bailey, Materials Science and Engineering
Nanoscale magnetic films and heterostructures, materials issues in spin-polarized transport, materials engineering of magnetic dynamics

Simon J. L. Billinge, Materials Science and Engineering
Amorphous and nanostructured pharmaceuticals and molecular materials, methods for solving the nanostructure problem, nanoscale fluctuations in exotic electronic materials, nanostructured materials for energy and environmental remediation, software for complex modeling and nanostructure determination

Oleg Gang, Applied Physics
Soft matter physics; programmable self-assembly of nanoscale systems; soft and biomaterials with tailored functions

I. Cevdet Noyan, Materials Science and Engineering
Characterization and modeling of mechanical and micromechanical deformation; residual stress analysis and nondestructive testing; x-ray and neutron diffraction, microdiffraction analysis

Yuan Yang, Materials Science and Engineering
Characterizing energy materials by Synchrotron-based techniques