Undergraduate Research

The University of Alabama strongly encourages students to get involved in research throughout their undergraduate degree. Research significantly enhances a student’s understanding of the scientific process and is a critical component of a student’s qualifications for graduate programs, especially in the fields of physics and astronomy.

two female students stand next to their research poster presentation
Interdisciplinary student engineers Erin Martin (left) and Tobi Adedokun (right) present a poster at the 2016 UA Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Symposium.

Research Opportunities

Students at The University of Alabama have multiple opportunities to undertake research both within the Dept. and University or at external sites such as national labs or other institutions. In addition, students at UA are awarded the opportunity to present their research at regional and national conferences and meetings. For more information on research opportunities, please refer to the following sites:

Dept. of Physics & Astronomy Undergrad Research

The Department of Physics and Astronomy provides many opportunities for  students majoring or minoring in physics, astronomy, or related fields, to be involved in active research on cutting edge scientific topics. This page lists some faculty currently seeking undergraduates to be involved in research and examples of projects students are currently or have recently been involved in.

The following faculty members are currently accepting undergraduate students for research projects:  Jeremy Bailin, Thejesh Bandi, Sergei Gleyzer, Adam Hauser, Matthias Kaminski, Marzieh Kavand, Preethi Nair, Igor Ostrovskiy, Andreas Piepke, Marcos Santander, Dean Townsley, Wang-Kong Tse.

If you are a student looking to get into research and something sounds interesting to you, please email the faculty member and make an appointment to discuss research with them. You are also encouraged to contact other faculty members not on the list above to inquire about projects during the semester or the summer.

Current & Recent Projects

  • Dual accreting supermassive black holes in merging galaxies.
  • Theoretical investigation of valley Hall effect in 2D transition metal dichalcogenide under photoexcitation.
  • Micromagnetic investigations of spatial fluctuations of the first order perpendicular anisotropy.
  • X-ray properties of merging galaxies.
  • Structural decomposition of elliptical galaxies in the HST COSMOS and Frontier field.
  • Measuring Spiral Arms in nearby galaxies
  • Structural decomposition of barred galaxies in the HST COSMOS field.
  • Impedance analysis of zirconium-based chemical sensor materials.
  • Theoretical investigation of damping in exchange bias systems.
  • X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD) of metal-oxide nanoparticles.
  • Applying pattern recognition techniques to galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Illustris simulation.
  • Thermal Spin Transfer Torque in Confined Systems.
  • τ neutrino detection in IceCube and IceCube-Gen2
  • Materials Design for Spintronic Devices.
  • Reflection High Energy Electron Diffraction of Epitaxial Films
  • Photometry of Galaxy Zoo collisional ring galaxies.
  • Raman Spectroscopy of carbon coalescence induced modes.
  • Automation of a Near-Field tip production apparatus.
  • Setting up a Magnetostriction apparatus: a instrumentation point of view.
  • Introduction to experimental particle physics research
  • Hard-Magnetic Alloy Formation in Magnetic Superlattices
  • Studying the Outskirts of Non-Cool Core Galaxy Clusters With Suzaku
  • How quickly do the properties of dark matter halos change?
  • The formation of warps in galaxy formation simulations
  • Synthetic images of simulated galaxies
  • Development of calibration sources for dark matter search experiments
  • Detection and control of of radon-induced activities in bulk plastic
  • Research with the Hadron Calorimeter of the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC
  • Development of a radon detector.
    • Emily Baade, Alexander Mathers, William Layfield / Dr. Piepke
  • Switching behavior of RAMA (Reconfigurable Array of Magnetic Automata) cells
  • Vibrating sample magnetometry
  • Calibration of IceCube Energy Scale with LED Flashers
  • Simple experiments for public outreach
  • Calibration of Radio Neutrino Detectors in South Pole Ice
  • Verifying Shock-capturing Methods for Hydrodynamic Simulations in Degenerate Matter
  • Fourier-transform noise spectroscopy
    • Tara Gernhardt / Dr. LeClair
  • Development of a thin film susceptometer
  • Analog & digital electronics
  • Development and installation of a data acquisition system for the cosmic ray veto detector of the EXO double beta decay experiment.
  • Development of an open-source 3D physics engine
  • Construction and characterization of a solid-state audio-distortion circuit
    • Hunter Adams, Mathew Ware, Dan Mitchell / Dr. LeClair
  • X-ray reflectivity of epitaxial multilayered structures
  • Fabrication and Calibration of Muon Veto Panels for the EXO Neutrino Project
  • Non-local damping effects in Py-Cu-FeMn trilayers
  • Monte Carlo simulation of electron track topology in gaseous Xenon
  • Low temperature and high frequency ferromagnetic resonance investigations
  • Calculation of ion transport through gaseous Xenon
  • Investigating magnetostrictive properties of thin ferromagnetic films on silicon substrates
  • Development of data acquisition hardware for the EXO muon veto
  • Developing an algorithm for detecting double-pulse structures induced by tau neutrino interactions in IceCube data
  • Stoner-Wohlfarth astroid (online simulation)
  • Developing a tau neutrino simulation in the low-energy extension of the IceCube neutrino detector
  • Characterization of solid-state and vacuum tube audio amplifiers
  • Electron Tunneling through self-assembled monolayers
  • Impedance spectroscopy and optically-assisted transport in organic semiconductors
  • Preparation and testing of plastic scintillation detectors for the EXO neutrinoless double beta decay experiment
  • Low cost data acquisition system for undergraduate electricity and magnetism lab experiments
  • Development of a microwave point-contact system for spin-torque tunneling experiments
  • Testing of the cosmic ray veto detector system for the EXO double beta decay project
  • Census of star formation in the galaxy cluster Abell 851, from Kitt Peak imagery and correlated with galaxy structures from Hubble data
  • Surface photometry of Seyfert galaxies from Hubble archival data, part of a wider project on the history of supermassive black holes
  • Connections between dust structures in galaxy nuclei, from Hubble data, and structures in the outer regions of the galaxies as seen in ground-based images
  • 222Rn activity detection Limits of delayed coincidence
  • Electron Spectroscopy of Ultra Thin Magnetic Films 9/05-present
  • Thin Film Materials for Magnetic Storage
  • Construction of an Advanced Electronic Control System
  • The Farnsworth Fusor-A Portable Plasma Fusion Generator
  • Defect analysis in MOSFET oxide layers
  • Design and prototype tests of the calibration systems for the Double
  • Development of event reconstruction algorithms for the Double Chooz experiment
  • Measurement of the cosmic ray muon flux at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM