Zone Meeting Photo Recap

Jason and his diffraction glasses
Students enjoying
Dr. Nick Bigelow's talk.
The meeting started with a lecture by our guest speaker, Dr. Nick Bigelow, in the lovely (although still a bit leaky) Edelman Planetarium. As you can see, all of the students were really enjoying the talk, especially Jason and his diffraction glasses.

Luke giving a talk
Luke Willis presenting.
After Dr. Bigelow's talk, the student presentations were given. Four students talked, three from Rowan and Andrew Papale from Juniata. Luke Willis, pictured here at the left talked about the research he has been conducting with Dr. Michael Lim in the field of ultracold plasmas.

The buffet.
What would we physics students be without food? Hungry, that's what. Well, no one went hungry at the SPS Zone 3 meeting. With the money from our SGA funds, we afforded a nice buffet to feed 75, and there wasn't much food left when we had finished. Any remaining scraps were taken by the Rowan SPS Chapter into our Physics Club Room, and subsequently consumed the following day.

Gary White and his spandex.
Anyone can hold a physics conference. What sets apart an SPS conference from any other is truly the result of one man, and his spandex. While eating lunch, we were informed by Dr. Gary White, the SPS Director, about job opportunities and career paths for students with an undergraduate degree in physics. After the discussion... well, we won't go in to much detail, but let's just say that spandex was used, and a good time was had by all.

Panel Discussion.
Unfortunately, we were running quite a bit late at this point and had to cut out the tours session. To see our labs and learn about the research going on, check out the Physics Department homepage. After lunch, we joined some alumni and visiting graduate students back in the Edelman Planetarium for a panel discussion about physics and life after the undergraduate degree.

Poster session.
After the panel discussion, a poster session took place with presenters from Rowan, Juniata, and Stockton. Finally, we headed back to the planetarium for a sneak peak at the upcoming Metallica laser light show, and some of the (more informative) show on the Hubble Space Telescope. Thus, the meeting concluded with everyone happy having eaten good food, learned new things, and listened to Metallica while watching insanely bright and pretty colors flash around a 40 foot dome.

Hopefully we will hold more meetings at Rowan in the future, and with any luck they will be even more successful than the first.

SPS Zone 3 Meeting Details

On this page, you will find a meeting itinerary as well as a list of scheduled talks. These details will be updated as we obtain them, so please check back. To correct any wrong or missing information, please contact the Associate Zone Councilor, Edward Greve.

Schedule of Events

9:30 - 10:00RegistrationRoom 134
10:00 - 10:45Guest Speaker - Dr. Nick BigelowEdelman Planetarium
10:45 - 11:30Student PresentationsEdelman Planetarium
11:30 - 12:00Panel DiscussionEdelman Planetarium
12:00 - 1:15Lunch and Discussion with Dr. Gary White, SPS DirectorRoom 126
1:15 - 1:45ToursLab wing
1:45 - 2:45Poster SessionAtrium
2:45 - 3:15Planetarium ShowEdelman Planetarium

Guest Speaker, Dr. Nicholas P. Bigelow

The quantum identity crisis: from BEC to atom chips
One of the most exciting frontiers of modern physics is the study of matter at temperatures near absolute zero. The coldest samples ever have been achieved using the tools of laser cooling and atom trapping and I will describe these developments in this talk. As matter reaches such low temperatures, particles can become increasingly indistinguishable and even simple things like atomic motion become highly quantum mechanical revealing new states of matter such as in the Bose-Einstein Condensate. This and other novelties such as "atom chips" will be described.

Oral Presentations

Temperature Dependence of Breathing and G-Mode Phonons in Carbon Nanotubes
Richard E. Bergstrom, Dr. Ernst Knoesel - Rowan University
We use Raman Spectroscopy to study optical (G-Mode) phonons in isolated suspended single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). This experiment is being performed to explain the large increase in resistance at high voltages of SWNTs by determining the temperature of the optical phonon mode. We use Raman Spectroscopy to obtain the temperature of each phonon mode by using the ratio of Anti-Stokes to Stokes lines. Research in this area will assist in understanding conductivity of nanotubes and will also help us to investigate heat transfer between nanotubes.

Optical Tweezers: Modeling and Optimization
Andrew Papale - Juniata College
Since its invention two decades ago optical trapping as a way to manipulate objects with light has grown into a versatile field of research with many applications in biophysics and other disciplines. The physics of the optical trap is based on the principle of momentum transfer from a beam of highly-focused laser light to a small, dielectric particle suspended in an aqueous medium.

A model for optical tweezers is explored using the geometrical ray-optics theory of Arthur Ashkin. The Visual Basic based model can compute forces on a particle when it is centered under a Gaussian-profile laser. Optimization of the optical system is investigated as an engineering problem independent of trapping theory. Optimization of a particular setup demands knowledge of lens shaping and practice in manipulating optical components. Two experimental variables are found which must be eliminated before beginning systematic experimentation: sphere stickiness and optical misalignment.

Coherent Population Trapping in the BCS Model
Andrew Robertson, Dr. Hong Ling - Rowan University
Two fermionic atoms of opposite spins (represented by the hyperfine Zeeman sublevels) can be combined either into a molecule highly localized in real space or into a Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) pair highly correlated in momentum space. In an attractive fermionic system with atoms of opposite spins, we show that the simultaneous presence of a Feshbach resonance and an optical laser coupling can lead to a coherent superposition between the ground molecular state and the BEC state. By optically perturbing the system, we demonstrate numerically stable coherent atom-molecule oscillations.

A new apparatus for studying fast recombination in ultracold neutral plasma
Lucas J. Willis, Dr. Michael J. Lim - Rowan University
We have constructed an apparatus for measuring atomic recombination rates in the early lifetime of an ultracold neutral rubidium plasma. The goal of this work is to experimentally verify theory that predicts measurable three-body recombination on the timescale of a few plasma oscillation periods. Supported by Research Corporation, and NSF.

Poster Presentations

Magneto-optical Kerr Effect
Robert Booth, Sam Lofland - Rowan University
Jason Hattrick Simpers and I. Takeuchi - University of Maryland
Fe70Pd30 is a well known shape memory alloy (meaning it has the properties of pseudo-elasticity and shape memory effect) and Fe80Ga20 is a giant magnetostrictive material. A material containing a combination of these properties would have many technological applications. Using combinatorial synthesis, 3-inch wafers of thin film samples of varying compositions of FexPdyGa100-x-y were made and then annealed at different temperatures. The composition was determined by wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS) and the magnetic properties were subsequently studied by utilizing the magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE). From MOKE measurements, magnetic hysteresis loops of each specific composition were generated. The analysis of these loops allows for the determination of the amount of energy dissipated when reversing the magnetization of the material as well as provide insight to the magnetoelastic and magnetostrictive properties.

Correlating Signals of the Gravitational Wave Stochastic Background
Edward Greve, Dr. Giancarlo Cella - European Gravitation Observatory, VIRGO
The purpose of this research is to examine how to best correlate a signal between two (and in theory, more) detectors in the VIRGO interferometer. Normally, signal correlation is not terribly difficult: the covariance is divided by each signals standard deviation and results in a value between -1 and 1, and there is no problem. In our scenario, however, due to the nature of the VIRGO interferometer, we can hope for at best a signal-to-noise ratio on the order of 10-2 or worse. Thus, we must determine how to correlate signals while accounting for this noise. We rework the standard model, which assumes that the noise is white and Gaussian, dropping this assumption and including the assumption that the noise is much greater than the signal. We then examine different possibilities for the types of noise VIRGO is likely to have, and determine several methods for maximizing the detection probability while minimizing the false alarm probability.

Synthesis and Characterization of NbN Thin Films
Juan Roche, Dr. Jeff Hettinger - Rowan University
We have synthesized and characterized both the superconducting transition temperature through electrical transport and the surface structure of the films through Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) of niobium nitride (NbN) thin films. The films were prepared using reactive RF sputtering from a two-inch diameter high purity Nb target. The system is configured with two mass flow controllers that regulate the gas mixture from an N2/Ar ratio of 0.01 to 0.20. The overall pressure is maintained at 6mT using a baffle valve which regulates the effectiveness of a turbopump. The power to the Nb target was held at a constant of 200W for 10minutes resulting in a film of roughly 1000. Depositions were made at several gas mixtures at room temperature, 300C, and 500C. X-ray diffraction indicates that NbN forms at all temperatures but the critical temperatures vary from that of near pure Nb (~7.5K) to a maximum of 14.1K. The surfaces were reasonably smooth with features on the order of 10 . By reducing the overall thickness, we expect to make multilayers with insulator spacers down to 10 .

Surprising Results from Two-Photon Rubidium Spectroscopy
D. Sidor, J. Schultz, R. E. Scholten,* and J. D. White - Juniata College, *University of Melbourne
The investigation of Rubidium spectroscopy through principles in quantum optics provides advanced undergraduate students with an opportunity to apply ideas from the entirety of the undergraduate physics curriculum to a new and exciting field of study. This poster details the re-creation and verification of a novel effect where two near-infrared LASER beams (780 and 776nm) are tuned and combined inside a Rubidium vapor cell, and the result is a visible (420nm) and coherent beam. The mechanism that results in this highly efficient nonlinear frequency conversion is not well understood, but it is (controversially) hypothesized that this phenomenon is an example of Lasing Without Inversion (LWI) - that is, that the blue beam is in fact a LASER beam. Another competing explanation is that this effect is an example of a Four-Wave Mixing (FWM) process. Full characterization of the blue beam, consideration of the production mechanism, and development of a method to tune the output wavelength are currently underway.