Research Trip

Our faculty members have a wide range of individual research interests that enhance your hands-on experience. You will get to work side-by-side with us, as we discover through our research.

Young woman working on computer

Our astronomy research is centered on observational stellar astronomy with applications in binary stars.

Observations are made remotely with the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) telescopes in Arizona, Chile, and the Canary Islands. There are also research-grade telescopes on the Cooper science building rooftop on Ball State’s campus. These photometric observations are made using sophisticated charge coupled device (CCD) cameras coupled to broad- band filters.

Relevant Research

“Modeling of Eclipsing Binary Systems NSVS 7322420 and NSVS 5726288”

Matthew F. Knote, Ronald H. Kaitchuck, and Robert C. Berrington
Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, submitted, 2018.

“New Observations of Close Eclipsing Binary Systems with δ Scuti Pulsations”

Garrison Turner, Ronald Kaitchuck, and John Holaday
Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, V42, 134, 2014.

“A Search for Exoplanets in Short-Period Binary Star Systems”

Ronald Kaitchuck, Garrison Turner, and Joseph Childers
Journal of Astronomy and Space Sciences, vol. 29, no. 1, p.41, March, 2012.

Student working with machines

Nanoscience at Ball State includes both experiments and theory. Experiments focus on nanotechnology and its applications to devices, more specifically, functionalized carbon nanotubes and their applications in thermionic emission and thermionic cooling. The Nano Materials and Devices Laboratory has substantial materials growth and devices fabrication and characterization capabilities, which provide research and training opportunities to both graduate and undergraduate students in the exciting field of emerging nanotechnology.

The lab is also used for teaching. Students in the PHYC 312 Nano Materials and Devices Fabrication class use the facilities to gain hands-on experience in nano materials growth and devices fabrication, and students who take the PHYC 356 Electronics II learn and acquire skills in automated data acquisition and computer-controlled instrumentation in the lab.

Relevant Research

“High thermionic emission from barium strontium oxide functionalized carbon nanotubes thin film surface”

Feng Jin and Allyn Beaver
Appl. Phys. Lett., 110, 213109 (2017)

“Barium strontium oxide functionalized carbon nanotubes thin film thermionic emitter with superior thermionic emission capability”

Feng Jin and Allyn Beaver
Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, 35, 041202 (2017)

Our research interests in condensed matter theory center on the physical properties of low dimensional materials. Today’s technology makes it possible to create artificial structures almost atom by atom and the discovery of new materials has opened a new area of research in materials science, physics, and engineering. Our research emphasizes three themes in this rapidly expanding field:

We apply a number of computational approaches to study the electronic and thermal properties of effectively two-dimensional materials such as graphene, carbon nanotubes and related materials. 

Electron transport is an important process that controls physical properties and chemical activities of both conventional semiconductor devices and molecular and biological systems such as DNA. We explore charge transport in quantum dots and in DNA, and how to harness it for applications such as DNA-based biosensors and quantum computing.

Finally we work on improving the models and approximations that go into the computer simulations we use – how to represent complicated many-electron effects by simple models and how to predict electronic structure without the need for chemical orbitals.

Relevant Research

“How a Fano resonance crosses the mobility edge in quantum waveguides”

Yong S. Joe, V. Vargiamidis, A. M. Satanin, E. R. Hedin, and Y. D. Kim
Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics, 153, p126, NN5-6 (2018)

"Flux and Strain Effects on Electron Transport in a Linear Array of Mesoscopic Rings"

Eric R. Hedin and Y. S. Joe
The European Physical Journal B, 90: 56. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2017-80025-8 (2017)

“Perpendicular susceptibility and geometrical frustration in two-dimensional Ising antiferromagnets: Exact solutions,”

K.A. Muttalib, M. Khatun, and J.H Barry
Phys. Rev B Vol. 96, No 18, 184411 (2017)

“Effects of Band Hybridization on Electronic properties in Tuning Armchair Graphene Nanoribbons”

Mahfuza Khatun, Zhe Kan, Antonio Cancio, and Chris Nelson
Canadian Journal of Physics Vol. 94, No. 2, pp. 218-225 (2016)

"Visualisation and orbital-free parametrisation of the large-Z scaling of the kinetic energy density of atoms"

Antonio C. Cancio, Jeremy J. Redd
Molecular Physics, 115, 618 (2016).

“Laplacian based models of the exchange energy”

A.C.Cancio, Chris E. Wagner, and Shaun A. Wood,
Int. J. Quantum Chem., early online publication, DOI: 10.1002/qua.24230.

Student looking into microscope

Medical physics is a profession that combines principles of physics and engineering with those of biology and medicine to effect better diagnosis and treatment of human disease while ensuring the safety of the public, patients and those caring for them.

Some of the medical physics research at Ball State includes the investigation of the electrical and magnetic properties of propagating action signals in nerve and muscle bundles.

Relevant Research

“Thickened Liquids: Are They Scientifically Accurate?”

L. Bantley, A. Wortkoetter, M. Ewing, and R.S. Wijesinghe
International Journal of Advanced Research, 5(8):1197-1216 (2017)

"Variations of the Viscosity of Thickened Liquids Used to Treat Pediatric Dysphagia”

R.S. Wijesinghe, M. Ewing, M. Tarlton, and M. Clifton
Annals of Neurological Surgery, 1(2):1006-(2017)

“Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Devices Dose Estimates for Radiotherapy Patient Management"

D. McIlarth, R.S. Wijesinghe, and A. Foster
J of Electronics and Communications, 1(1), (2016)

Student and professor working together

Research in nuclear physics includes the study of nuclear reactions for astrophysics, radiation protection, and application of nuclear radiations for medical treatment.

Experimental studies of nuclear reactions are conducted in collaboration with the Nuclear Group Joint Institute of Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA) at the University of Notre Dame. For applications in medical treatment, interactions of nuclear radiations with biological specimens are studied.

Relevant Research

“Low energy scattering cross section ratios of 14N(p,p)14N”

R.J. deBoer, D.W. Bardayan, J. Gorres, P.J. LeBlanc, K. V. Manukyan, M. T. Moran, K. Smith, W. Tan, E. Ubersender, M. Wiescher, P. F. Bertone, A. E. Champage, M. S. Islam
Physical Review C 91, 045804 (2015)

"Linear attenuation coefficient and buildup factor of MCP-96 alloy for dose accuracy, beam collimation, and radiation protection”

Deidre N. Hopkins, Muhammad Maqbool, Mohammed S. Islam
Radiological Physics and Technology. Volume 5, Number 2, 229-236 (2012)

A team of two working on an experiment

Particle physics studies the properties and interactions of the most fundamental structures of matter, also called "elementary particles."

Relevant Research

“Measurement of the Cross Section and Longitudinal Double-Spin Asymmetry for Dijet Production in Polarized Collisions pp Collisions at √s = 200 GeV”

L. Adamczyk et al., (STAR Collaboration)
Phys. Rev. D 95, 71103(R) (2017)

“Measurement of the Transverse Single-Spin Asymmetry in p + p& → W±/Z0 at RHIC”

L. Adamczyk et al., (STAR Collaboration)
Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 132301 (2016).

Physics education research is a dynamic field, with many opportunities for growth and additional study. What was once being done in just one or two physics departments is now a vital part of scores of high schools, colleges, and universities worldwide.

Physics education research is concerned with increasing our understanding of how students learn physics. Development tries to design instructional environments and curricular materials that take advantage of advances being made in our knowledge of physics students and how they learn the concepts of physics.