Lasers, Plasmas, Optics

Project Tags: 
Time Critical: 
Wednesday, January 1, 2025
Research Project Description: 

Undergraduate research opportunities are available for Physics & Astronomy majors at all levels from first year to senior thesis. Projects are designed to fit the student level and career direction. Experiments and computer simulation are done with lasers, optics, and plasma physics. Examples of current student research projects include

Senior Thesis:
1.) Plasma Electrosurgery Characterization and Simulation; 
2.) Laser-Induced Fluorescence Measurements of Velocity Distribution Function of Molecular Iodine

2nd Year:
1.) Infrared laser measurements of real-time laser mirror damage from high peak power laser pulses;
2.) Torque generated by eddy currents in rotating magnetic fields;
3.) Optical and Scanning Electron Microscope Characterization of Micrometeorites Collected from Building Rooftops

1st Year:
1.) Build a solid state or gas laser and measure the optical characteristics;
2.) Make a Michelson interferometer;
3.) Make Holograms

Undergraduate Student Participation: 

Students will build experimental, theoretical, and simulation skills. Emphasis on thinking physics before the useful math, order of magnitude estimate skills, learning to make measurements (including precision and accuracy decisions).

Time Commitment: 

Time commitment is designed to fit each student, making sure excellence in enrolled courses is not compromised.

Minimum GPA: 
Contact Info: 

Prof. Roger McWilliams, B010 Reines Hall,
Lab location is found by putting latitude and longitude into GPS map and going into hallway at that location:  33.6443, -117.8432


How many hours per week will you be able to work on the project? Will you be available to work outside of the academic year (particularly during the Summer)?
List any lab and computer programming courses you have completed (with grades received) and for which you are currently enrolled.
Briefly describe any previous research experience (less than 300 words). If you have previously received course credit for student research, list those courses here (with grades received) and the name(s) of your supervisor(s).
Give a brief statement (less than 300 words) summarizing what qualities you will bring to the research program and explaining what you hope to achieve through your participation. (Is there something essential that you want to get out of the project? Paid position? Senior thesis? Co-author a journal publication?)
Files must be less than 2 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf.