Research by Faculty and Students

Are you interested in graduate-level research?  We invite you to consider applying to our Ph.D. or Master's program.  Current graduate students should contact faculty individually to discuss current research directions and opportunities.

Are you currently an undergraduate at Kent?  If so, please also see our page on undergraduate research.

Research Areas

Soft Matter Physics

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We study the physics of liquid crystals, materials intermediate in order between crystals and liquids, which are essential for modern technology. For basic research, we investigate novel phases and phenomena, using a variety of experimental techniques including light and x-ray scattering as well as advanced characterization methods for structure and dynamics. We use analytic theory and computer simulations to model phase transitions and defect structures. In further applied research, we develop new uses for liquid crystals in displays and other technologies. Our research benefits from the Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute which offers extensive experimental infrastructure.

Experiment:  Phil BosBrett EllmanJames GleesonAntal JakliOleg LavrentovichElizabeth MannSamuel SpruntDeng-Ke Yang
Theory:  Jonathan SelingerRobin Selinger

Low Temperature Physics

Facilities and techniques in experimental condensed matter physics at Kent State University include nonlinear optics, electro-optics, tunneling and atomic force microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, electron paramagnetic resonance, x-ray scattering, light scattering, microcalorimetry, milli-Kelvin refrigeration, SQUID magnetometry, and magnetoresistance and Hall effect measurement. Theoretical research in condensed matter at Kent is centered on problems in the main two areas above, as well as independent work in computational physics, and techniques for the quantum many-body problem.

Experiment:  Carmen AlmasanBrett EllmanAlmut Schroeder
Theory:  Maxim DzeroBenjamin FregosoKhandker Quader

Astrophysics

We conduct theoretical research on neutron stars and supernovae, which are objects that possess conditions so extreme that exotic phases such as hyperonic matter, quark matter, and color superconducting phases play a key role.  A recent focus has been on the physics of magnetars and, in particular, the impact of large magnetic fields on the equation of state of quark matter and nuclear matter.

Theory:  Veronica Dexheimer

Nuclear and High Energy Physics 

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Our work encompasses diverse aspects of nuclear/particle physics.  The group’s theoretical work focuses on using quantum chromodynamics to study the properties of the quark-gluon plasma, produced in high-energy collisions in the laboratory and present in the early universe.  The experimental groups carry out related research at the relativistic heavy ion collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory and at Jefferson Laboratory. More information can be found at the Center for Nuclear Research

Experiment:  Mina KatramatouDeclan KeaneSpiros MargetisMakis Petratos
Theory:  Veronica DexheimerMichael Strickland

Biological Physics

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Constructing complex materials using DNA nanotechnology, such as DNA-origami,  and using such materials for various purposes, ranging from drug-delivery to membrane protein localization, comprise  an important part of our work.  In addition, we use modern, cutting edge techniques to perform high precision measurements on single biomolecules and their interactions, such as DNA-protein interactions. We also pursue novel theoretical and computational models aimed at understanding protein motions important to biological function. Other efforts aim to characterize lipid monolayers and bilayers as model systems to understand fundamental structural and dynamic properties of biological membranes and properties of cellular migration in complex environments.

Experiment:  Hamza BalciElizabeth MannOleg LavrentovichThorsten-Lars SchmidtSamuel Sprunt
Theory:  John Portman