Physics

Faculty

G. S. Iannacchione, Associate Professor and Department Head; Ph.D., Kent State University; Soft condensed matter physics/ complex fluids, liquid-crystals, calorimetry, and order-disorder phenomena.

P. K. Aravind, Professor and Associate Head; Ph.D., Northwestern University; Quantum information theory.

N. A. Burnham, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Colorado; Mechanical properties of nanostructures, instrumentation for nanomechanics.

T. H. Keil, Professor; Ph.D., University of Rochester; Solid state physics, mathematical physics, fluid mechanics.

S. Koehler, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Chicago; Structure and dynamics of colloids and granular systems, micro-rheology of complex fluids.

G. D. J. Phillies, Professor; D.Sc., MIT. Theoretical statistical mechanics, polymer dynamics, the glass transition, complex fluids.

R. S. Quimby, Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison; Optical properties of solids, laser spectroscopy, fiber optics.

L. R. Ram-Mohan, Professor; Ph.D., Purdue University; Field theory, many body problems, solid state physics, and finite-element modeling of quantum systems.

I. Stroe, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., Clark University; Experimental biophysics, protein structure, dynamic, and functionality.

E. Tüzel, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Statistical mechanics and polymer physics applied to biology and materials science.

Q. Wen, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Brown University. Experimental biophysics, mechanical properties of tissue cells and biological materials, cell-ECM interactions.

A. Zozulya, Professor; Ph.D., Lebedev Physics Institute; Nonlinear optics, photorefractive materials, atom pipes.

Research Areas

Quantum Physics:

Cold atoms – Bose-Einstein Condensation of bosons and fermions, atom wave guides and interferometers.

Quantum Information – Foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum algorithms.

Wavefunction Engineering – nanostructures, finite-element modeling of quantum systems and wells, field theory.

Optics: Photonics – Nonlinear optics, fiber optics, optical properties of rough surfaces and of thin metal films.

Spectroscopy – laser spectroscopy of impurity ions in glasses, quasielastic/ inelastic light scattering and excitation/ modulation spectroscopy of superlattices, thin films, surface phenomena.

Lasers – development of infrared fiber lasers and materials, mid-IR and FIR quantum cascade laser design.

Condensed Matter:

Semiconductors – optical properties of superlattices, heterostructure laser design, spintronics in diluted magnetic semiconductors, devices.

Magnetic Solids – Magnetic impurities in semiconductors: diluted magnetic semiconductors and the onset of ferromagnetism in spintronic materials.

Nanomechanics – Mechanical properties of nanostructures, instrumentation and metrology for nanomechanics.

Soft Condensed Matter

Biophysics – hydration effects on protein dynamics, thermodynamics of proteins and DNA, self-assembly of biomaterials, dielectric relaxation spectroscopy, relaxation calorimetry, resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, studies of tissue cells, theory and simulations of biopolymers and molecular motors, cell mechanics and intra-cellular transport, physics of the cytoskeleton (cellular skeleton).

Polymers – molecular properties of small sample volumes and single molecules, polymer and bio-macromolecular solutions, surfactants, colloids.

Liquid Crystals – thermotropic/lyotropic/ colloidal systems, phase transitions and critical phenomena, cooperative behavior and self-assembly, quenched random disorder effects, calorimetry instrumentation.

Complex Fluids – theory and simulations, diffusion and transport properties, light scattering spectroscopy of liquids and polymer melts, mesoscale simulations of liquids, capillary wave theory, theory and simulation of phase transitions in multicomponent mixtures.

Glasses – theory and simulation, thermodynamics, relaxations.

Program of Study

WPI physics graduate program prepares students for careers in research that require a high degree of initiative and responsibility. Prospective employers are industrial laboratories, government or non-profit research centers, as well as colleges or universities.

WPI’s physics courses are generally scheduled during the mornings but with sufficient flexibility to accommodate part-time students. Special topics courses in areas of faculty research interest are often available. To improve the course offerings and opportunities for graduate students, the Departments of Physics at WPI and Clark University share their graduate courses. Please visit the Clark University Physics Department web pages for more information on their offerings.

Admission Requirements

B.S. in physics preferred. However, applicants with comparable backgrounds will also be considered.

Degree Requirements

For the M.S.

The M.S. degree in physics requires 30 semester hours of credit: 6 or more in thesis or directed research with the remainder in approved courses and independent studies, to include PH 511, PH 514, PH 515, PH 522 and PH 533 (15 semester hours). The thesis option requires the completion and defense of a M.S. thesis as well as a seminar presentation based on the thesis research. The seminar and defense may be done in conjunction. The non-thesis option requires a satisfactory performance on the Qualifying Examination.

For the Ph.D.

The doctor of philosophy degree requires 90 credit hours, including 42 in approved courses or directed study (which must include PH 511, PH 514-515, PH 522 and PH 533, or their equivalents), 30 of dissertation research, and completion and defense of a Ph.D. thesis. Courses taken to satisfy M.S. degree requirements may be counted against the required 42 credits of courses, but completion of a M.S. degree is not required.

One year of residency and passage of a qualifying examination are required.

A minimum of 60 credits must be earned at WPI.

The Qualifying Examination for the doctor of philosophy degree is usually administered each year at the beginning of the second semester. Ph.D. aspirants who enter after the bachelor’s degree may take the examination during their first year of graduate school, and are expected to take the examination by the end of their second year. There is no penalty for failing or not taking the examination during the first year. Students who fail the examination during their second year must pass the examination when it is next offered. The Qualifying Examination will include, but is not limited to, material taken from PH 511, PH 514-515, PH 522 and PH 533. Each student’s academic work is reviewed on an annual basis by the Physics Department Graduate Committee. Continuation of student status is based on satisfactory progress toward a degree, coursework, research, teaching, and service to the Department. Renewals of research and teaching assistantships are dependent on satisfactory performance of required duties.

 
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