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Research by Faculty & Students in our Physics Programs

The research of the Physics Department falls into four broad areas: (1) Soft Condensed Matter Physics, especially Liquid Crystals and Complex Fluids; (2) Correlated Electron Physics, including Superconductivity; (3) Nuclear and Hadronic Physics; and (4) Biophysics.

The listings below give a classification of our faculty members according to research area, and further information on their interests can be found on their individual pages. These classifications are largely determined by our experimental programs, and some of our faculty have research interests that are broader than indicated.

Another way to survey our active areas of research is to consult an alphabetical list of the physics topics and research techniques that we study. Additional information on our research activities can also be gleaned from our slide show on graduate student research.

Are you are interested in graduate-level research? We invite you to consider applying to our PhD or Master's program. Are you currently an undergraduate at Kent? If so, please see our page on undergraduate research.

Liquid Crystals and Complex Fluids

Daniele Finotello
James Gleeson
Satyendra Kumar
Elizabeth Mann
Samuel Sprunt

See also
Kumar Group
Liquid Crystal Institute
David Allender
polarizing-microscope texture of a nematic liquid crystal thin film

Nuclear and Hadronic Physics

Bryon Anderson
Mina Katramatou
Declan Keane
Mark Manley
Spiros Margetis
Gerassimos (Makis) Petratos
John Watson

See also our page
Center for Nuclear Research
Peter Tandy

Gold-gold collision at the RHIC collider imaged with STAR detector

Correlated Electron Physics

Carmen Almasan
Brett Ellman
Almut Schroeder

See also our page on
High Tc Superconductors
Khandker Quader

structure of a high-Tc ceramic superconductor


Hamza Balci
Elizabeth Mann
Samuel Sprunt

See also
Portman Biophysics Group

David Allender
John Portman
Frame from video showing calculation of protein folding
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, millikelvin 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.

Several of the condensed matter faculty at Kent State University are affiliated with the Glenn H. Brown Liquid Crystal Institute (LCI), the only institute of its kind in the United States. The National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Advanced Liquid Crystalline Optical Materials (ALCOM) is based at Kent State University's LCI.

The nuclear physics faculty perform experiments or perform theoretical calculations relevant to the experimental programs at national laboratories, especially Jefferson Laboratory (JLab) in Virginia and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in New York. Some of the specific areas of interest to the nuclear physics faculty at Kent include development of neutron detectors and polarimeters, field-theoretical modeling of the quark-gluon structure of hadrons, experimental and theoretical studies of relativistic nuclear collisions, experimental and phenomenological studies of baryon resonances, and measurements of fundamental structure functions of the neutron and proton. The activities of the nuclear physics faculty are promoted by the Physics Department's Center for Nuclear Research (CNR).

Interest in Physics Education is growing significantly, and faculty involved in sponsored research in this area include John Barrick, Stan Christensen, Brett Ellman, Tom Emmons, Elizabeth Mann, and John Portman.

A research niche statement prepared by the physics faculty a few years ago provides an overview of research efforts and planned future directions for our research and graduate program.


The Physics Department is located in Smith Hall in the heart of Kent State University's Science Complex. A Machine Shop staffed by an expert machinist is located on the main floor of Smith Hall; a Student Shop is attached to the Main Shop. On the third floor, there is an Electronics Shop staffed by a Departmental Research Engineer. There is a local clean room, and many additional facilities of relevance to experimental work in soft condensed matter physics are available in the Liquid Crystal Institute. The Chemistry/Physics Library, located in adjacent Williams Hall houses research journals, texts, and monographs.


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