Physics & Astronomy Research
The department of physics and astronomy is active in a number of areas of research. Our research activities and interests are outlined below.
The Laboratory for Materials Physics is maintained by Ken Krebs. The lab's primary emphasis is on the fluorescent properties of impurity ions embedded into metal oxide matrices using a wet chemical (sol-gel) process.
The Terahertz Radiation and Non-linear Optics lab encompasses the research program of Amy Lytle and Etienne Gagnon.
F&M is engaged in a NATO-funded effort with international partners to develop a multi-sensor robotic platform for the reliable identification of buried landmines and unexploded ordnance. This work is being led by Tim Bechtel (Earth and Environment Dept.) with contributions from Froney Crawford and a number of physics students. More information can be found on the Landmine Detection at F&M website. This work has been funded by NATO Science for Peace and Secutiry Programme projects G5014: "Holographic Impulse Subsurface Radar for Landmine and IED Detection" and G5731: "Multi-Sensor Cooperative Robots for Shallow Buried Explosive Threat Detection".
Our main research interests in astrophysics are in the areas of cosmology and large-scale structure (Beth Praton), galaxy formation and black holes (Ryan Trainor), interstellar chemistry and the molecular content of late-stage stars and planetary nebulae (Debbie Schmidt) and gravitational wave physics and pulsar astronomy (Froney Crawford).
F&M is also a member of North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) and the NANOStars research and education program. This program gives students at F&M the opportunity to use the Arecibo 300-meter radio telescope to remotely conduct pulsar search and timing observations as well as to hunt for new pulsars in Arecibo survey data.