The applied physics option is designed to extend knowledge of the principles of pure physics to the development of new technologies. Research in applied physics focuses primarily on problems of technological importance. The interdisciplinary nature of this option allows considerable flexibility in coursework, training and individual research interests to enhance maximum breadth and depth.
Current areas of specialization within applied physics span a wide range of topics such as Photonics including multiwavelength fiber telecommunications, integrated microphotonic and nanophotonic devices, holographic data processing and storage, and optical approaches to quantum computation; Solid-state materials and device work including nanostructured materials and devices, wide bandgap semiconductors and heterostructures for optoelectronics, photovoltaics, novel memory devices, and spin-dependent transport; Biophysics including single-molecule-scale studies of the mechanics of DNA, proteins, and their assemblies; Plasma-physics including spheromak plasmas for fusion application, plasma processes occurring in the sun, and the dynamics of pure electron plasmas; Hydrodynamics, nonlinear dynamics and thermal behavior in small scale systems including symmetry breaking in soft condensed matter, micro/nanofluidic, optofluidic, and biofluidic devices, optical trapping in fluids, pattern formation and phase separation in nanoscale films and convection-diffusive phenomena in natural and mimetic systems.
Students are encouraged to obtain a well-rounded course of study pursuant to the B.S. degree in applied physics. The option representative and/or undergraduate adviser will gladly assist students in choosing appropriate elective courses. Students ultimately interested in pursuing an advanced degree in applied physics or related fields are encouraged to complete a senior thesis project through APh 78 or APh 79.