Physics Student Research

Student Research: 2017-2019

2019 Research


Josh McMullen Researches at Jefferson Lab

Josh's Research Statement: 

I participated in the Department of Energy's SULI program at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia. Jefferson Lab is home to CEBAF, the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility which is used to explore fundamental characteristics of hadrons, elementary particles, and the mechanisms that bind them together. The accelerator recently received an upgrade which doubled the energy of the produced electron beam to 12 billion electron volts (GeV). Physicists in Jefferson Lab's Hall A, including my mentor Dr. Douglas Higinbotham, focus their efforts on measuring the distribution of charge and magnetism within the proton and neutron, a value known as the "form factor".

This increased beam energy allows for higher-precision measurements but requires more sensitive and advanced particle detectors to efficiently track particles following a collision between the beam and the target substance. My work this summer was concerned with the technical upgrades that have been made to Hall A's "BigBite" spectrometer in preparation for the upcoming 12 GeV runs. BigBite's detector package is responsible for identifying the scattered electrons while also providing precise timing and trajectory information. My project included collecting technical specifications on each detector and organizing the information into a journal article to be submitted to Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Significant upgrades that required special attention included the addition of gas electron multiplier (GEM) detectors and modifications made to the gas ring imaging (GRINCH) Cherenkov chamber. I also spent a portion of my time doing hands-on work with the spectrometer. My duties included the implementation of high voltage and data acquisition cables and conducting cosmic ray tests on various detectors.

2018 Research


Jarryd Horn Researches at Ohio State University

Jarryd's Research Statement:

I spent 10 weeks with the Ohio State University Center for Emergent Materials, working with experimental condensed matter physicist Dr. Fengyan Yang and a few of his graduate students. The project to which I primarily contributed was with graduate student Mark Meng, primarily growing thin films with the goal of discovering highly desirable magnetic properties for possible spintronic application.

I worked primarily to optimize the crystallinity and epitaxial quality to obtain the desired electronic and magnetic properties. I used magnetron sputtering to deposit thin films and helped synthesize high-quality powder targets for the sputtering process. In characterizing the resulting thin films, I used X-Ray diffraction and used magnetometry techniques to verify crystallinity, growth quality and magnetic activity.

The experience gave me insight into a fast-paced experimental environment in which I was able to observe several projects in varying stages working in parallel in the same lab. As a result, I exposed to a lot of new concepts and experimental techniques between working with Mark and bugging some of his colleagues to ask a lot of questions and offer my own insights.

2017 Research


Barlow Researches at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia

Recent NMU physics graduate, Jonathan Barlow, completed a summer internship at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia. As an intern, Jonathan learned about essential nuclear physics hardware, software, and data analysis techniques. With this information, he studied the ability of a new piece of hardware within a Data Aquisition system and compared it to the behaviors of legacy modules


Hagen Works as Astrophysics Intern at Brookhaven National Laboratory

Physics major, Thomas Hagen, spent most of the summer working as an astrophysics intern at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. Brookhaven is a multipurpose research institution funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Thomas’s learning objective was to acquire data analysis techniques for astrophysics research instruments.  He analyzed sensor data from LSST sensors which failed an implementation test to figure out why they were failing.

At the end of the summer, Thomas wrote a formal research paper, took part in a poster presentation, and provided two PowerPoint presentations for the members of the research team


Jarryd Horn Researches at National Laboratories in England and Canada

Jarryd Horn, physics major and McNair Scholar, has been participating in physics research with his faculty mentor, Dr. P.W. Mengyan. In addition to work at NMU, the research involves conducting experiments with their small collaboration at two national laboratories: the Neutron and Muon source at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England and TRIUMF (actual name) which is Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics and accelerator-based science located in Vancouver, BC.

Jarryd’s work has been focused on addressing some open questions relating to properties of semiconductors (Solid State Physics) by using the Muon Spin Research technique. He has been active in helping run experiments (planning, operating the instruments and data collection at the international facilities), data analysis and interpretation. This summer, he completed a research paper and presented some of his work at the National McNair Research Conference. His continual involvement in the collaboration’s work will continue to contribute to international conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.

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Student Research: 2014-2016

Student Research: 2011-2013


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