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Graduate School

    The University of Maine
   
 
  Sep 24, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

Engineering Physics



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Degree Programs

Programs of study leading to the degrees of Master of Science, Master of Engineering (Engineering Physics), and Doctor of Philosophy are offered through the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy: Typically a total of 5-6 years are needed to complete the Ph.D. degree for a student who enters the program with a bachelor’s degree. This time is approximately equally divided between course work and dissertation research. A dissertation presenting the results of an original investigation in a specialized area of physics is an essential feature of the program and must be completed and defended successfully. Requirements also include passing the comprehensive examination, which must be passed by the end of the third year of study for students who enter the Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s in physics or by the end of the second year for students entering with a master’s in physics.

The program of study for each student in the Ph.D. program includes a minimum of 30 course hours. The following courses, or their equivalents, are required of all students: PHY 501 Mechanics, PHY 502 Electrodynamics I, PHY 574 Methods of Theoretical Physics, PHY 503 Quantum Mechanics I, PHY 603 Quantum Mechanics II, PHY 512 Statistical Mechanics, PHY 510 Graduate Laboratory, and PHY 624 Solid State I. In addition, students must take at least one advanced course, chosen from among PHY 598 Continuum Mechanics, PHY 602 Electrodynamics II, PHY 575 Methods of Theoretical Physics II, PHY 598 Statistical Mechanics II, and PHY 625 Solid State II.

Students must also take at least one research specialty elective course, which must be approved by the student’s dissertation advisory committee. These electives do not have to be PHY courses, and they can not be from among the 400-level PHY undergraduate core courses in Electricity and Magnetism, Quantum and Atomic Physics, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, Mathematical Methods, or Optics.

In general, additional courses beyond the above minimal requirements are expected to be included in a student’s program of study, at the discretion of the student’s dissertation committee (or the Department Graduate Coordinator prior to formation of the dissertation committee). Each of the 400-level undergraduate core courses may be taken for graduate credit under this additional course expectation.

Master of Science

The program of graduate study for the master’s degree, which normally requires two academic years on a half-time basis, is developed around an original investigation, the results of which are presented as a thesis.

Of the minimum of 30 semester hours required for the Master of Science degree, 24 are devoted to courses in physics and such allied fields as other sciences, mathematics, and engineering. However, the following courses or their equivalents, which are offered every year, must be included: PHY 501 Mechanics; PHY 502 Electrodynamics I, and PHY 503 Quantum Mechanics I.

Master of Engineering (Engineering Physics)

http://www.physics.umaine.edu/programs/degrees/grad.html#masterengphy

A minimum of 30 semester hours is required for the Master of Engineering (Engineering Physics) degree. Of the total of 24 required course hours, nine hours must be selected from a meaningful engineering course sequence. In addition, nine hours must be selected from three of the following courses: PHY 501 Mechanics, PHY 502 Electrodynamics I, PHY 503 Quantum Mechanics I, and PHY 510 Graduate Laboratory. A thesis is optional but is strongly encouraged and requires a minimum of 6 credits of thesis (PHY 699). The thesis may be completed in either the Physics Department or the engineering department in which the engineering course sequence is taken. Satisfactory completion of the non-thesis option requires 36 approved course credits.

Research

Experimental research is being conducted in the following areas: the physics and chemistry of surfaces, including microsensors, catalysis, adhesion, thin film growth, surface crystallography, phase transitions, tribology, and development of new instrumentation; liquid crystals and colloidal crystalization; environmental nuclear radiation; health physics; biophysics, including Fluorescence Microscopy and Spectroscopy, Function and Lateral Organization of Biomembranes, Single Molecule Fluorescence Photophysics, and the biophysics of membranes and macromolecules; low temperature physics, including superconductivity; optical, x-ray, and radio observations of galaxies and clusters of galaxies; general relativity; physics education, investigating student learning. Theoretical work includes studies of galactic formation and stability, atomic and solid state theory, semi-conductors, non-linear systems, pattern formation, chemically-driven microscopic motors and pumps, radionuclide transport theories, statistical mechanics, equilibrium and nonequilibrium phase transitions, and surface physics.

Cooperative Research

Cooperative research projects involving students in Physics degree programs have been conducted with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in studies of semiconductor devices and sensor technology; the Department of Chemistry in optical and resonance studies on anticancer compounds and polymers on metallic surfaces; the Institute for Quaternary Studies in studies of glaciology; the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology in studies of nucleic acids; the Departments of Geological Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering in natural radioactivity in the environment; and the Departments of Biological Sciences and Geological Sciences in acid rain studies.

A major interdisciplinary research organization at the University is the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology in which research opportunities exist in high technology areas related to surfaces, interfaces, and thin film materials. Specific information is available at http://www.umaine.edu/lasst/.

Research Facilities

Cooperative research projects involving students in Physics degree programs have been conducted with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in studies of semiconductor devices and sensor technology; the Department of Chemistry in optical and resonance studies on anticancer compounds and polymers on metallic surfaces; the Institute for Quaternary Studies in studies of glaciology; the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology in studies of nucleic acids; the Departments of Geological Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering in natural radioactivity in the environment; and the Departments of Biological Sciences and Geological Sciences in acid rain studies.

A major interdisciplinary research organization at the University is the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology in which research opportunities exist in high technology areas related to surfaces, interfaces, and thin film materials including thin film synthesis, processing, and characterization; scanning probe microscopies; optical and electron spectroscopies; X-ray and electron diffraction; sensor device testing and electronic characterization; gas absorption and desorption analysis and a Class 1000 clean room for microelectronic device fabrication. Specific information is available at http://www.umaine.edu/lasst/.

Admission

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements of the Graduate School, candidates for advanced degrees in physics should have completed at least 16 semester hours in physics beyond the introductory course and have studied mathematics at least through differential equations. Candidates who have majored in other physical sciences or mathematics are encouraged to apply. A candidate’s preparation for graduate study in physics or astronomy can be strengthened by taking selected undergraduate courses for graduate credit.

Financial Assistance

Teaching assistantships are available for the academic year and include remission of tuition for up to nine credit hours per semester and three credit hours in the summer session. These appointments provide for approximately half-time teaching and half-time study. Teaching assignments usually involve six contact hours per week. Summer support is usually available for students in the program.

The University of Maine supports a number of University fellowships and tuition scholarships. Research assistantships are also available in some of the areas of investigation listed above.

Application

Applications are accepted at any time for admission in the Fall (September), or the Spring (January) semester. Application materials can be obtained from the Graduate School, 5755 Stodder Hall, Room 42, Orono, ME 04469-5755, e-mail at graduate@maine.edu, or downloaded from the web site http://www.umaine.edu/graduate/admissions/admissions.

Additional Information

Individual faculty may be contacted via their email addresses above. The department’s home page is http://www.physics.umaine.edu/.

Alternatively, the Graduate Coordinator can be reached by regular mail at Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, by telephone at (207) 581-1039, or by FAX at (207) 581-3410.

Graduate Faculty

Susan R. McKay, Ph.D. (M.I.T., 1987), Professor and Chair. Condensed matter theory, phase transitions and critical phenomena, systems with quenched disorder, spin glasses, random-field ferromagnets, systems far from equilibrium, pattern formation, non-linear systems, and chaos.(e-mail: susan_mckay@umit.maine.edu)


R. Dean Astumian, Ph.D. (Texas-Arlington, 1983), Professor. Design of microscopic mechanical and electrical pumps and motors powered by non-equilibrium isothermal chemical reactions. (e-mail: astumian@maine.edu)

David J. Batuski, Ph.D. (New Mexico, 1986), Associate Professor. Observational cosmology, large-scale structure in the universe, dynamics of galaxy clusters, interacting galaxies and radio sources. (e-mail: batuski@maine.edu)

Neil F. Comins, Ph.D. (University College, Cardiff, 1978), Professor. Galactic formation, structure, stability, evolution stellar stability, observational astronomy (optical, radio), computational astrophysics general relativity, and astronomy education. (e-mail: neil.comins@umit.maine.edu)

Charles T. Hess, Ph.D. (Ohio, 1967), Professor. Alpha and gamma spectroscopy, x-ray fluorescence, environmental radioactivity, radon in water and air, and health physics. (e-mail: hess@maine.edu)

Samuel T. Hess, Ph.D. (Cornell University, 2002), Assistant Professor. Biophysics, lateral membrane organization, protein structure and dynamics, single molecule fluorescence spectroscopy, nonlinear fluorescence microscopy, development of new markers for intracellular imaging, numerical modeling, quantum dots. (e-mail: sam.hess@umit.maine.edu)

Peter H. Kleban, Ph.D. (Brandeis, 1970), Professor. Member of the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (LASST). Theory of phase transitions, surface science, and electron spectrometers. (e-mail: kleban@maine.edu)

Robert J. Lad, Ph.D. (Cornell, 1986), Professor. Director of the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (LASST). Surface physics and chemistry, ceramic materials, interfaces, thin films and gas-surface interactions. (e-mail: rjlad@maine.edu)

James McClymer, Ph.D. (Delaware, 1986), Associate Professor. Digital imaging and light scattering from equilibrium and nonequilibrium phase transitions in liquid crystals. (e-mail: mcclymer@maine.edu)

Richard A. Morrow, Ph.D. (Princeton, 1963), Professor. Semiconductor theory and defects in GaAs. (e-mail: morrow@maine.edu)

Donald B. Mountcastle, Ph.D. (Virginia, 1971), Associate Professor. Molecular biophysics, structure and function of biological and model membranes, cooperative interactions, microcalorimetry, and thermodynamics.(e-mail: donald.mountcastle@umit.maine.edu)

Charles W. Smith, Ph.D. (Ohio, 1968), Professor. Low temperature experimental physics, superconductivity, point contact spectroscopy, and condensed matter physics. (e-mail: charless@maine.edu)

John Thompson, Ph.D. (Brown, 1998), Assistant Professor. Member of Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research. Co-director, Physics Education Research Laboratory. Physics Education: student conceptual understanding of physics topics including thermal physics, sound and longitudinal waves, and two-dimensional kinematics; research on understanding of science teaching and learning; curriculum development and assessment. (e-mail: John_Thompson@umit.maine.edu)

William N. Unertl, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1973), Professor. Member of the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (LASST). Surface physics and chemistry, atomic force microscopy electron spectroscopy, surface structure, friction and adhesion. (e-mail: unertl@maine.edu)

Michael C. Wittman, Ph.D. (Maryland, 1998), Assistant Professor. Director of the Laboratory for Research in Physics Education (LRPE). Investigating student learning (wave physics, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism), research-based curriculum development and dissemination, modeling student reasoning in physics. (e-mail: wittmann@maine.edu)

Research and Associate Graduate Faculty

David Frankel, Ph.D. (Stanford, 1978), Senior Research Scientist, Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology. Surface science and vacuum technology.

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

Jayendra C. Rasaiah, Ph.D. (Pittsburgh, 1965), Professor. Statistical mechanics of electrolytes and polar fluids, computer simulation studies of solutions, fluctuation-dominated kinetics in heterogeneous media, theory of electron transfer reactions, and molecular biophysical chemistry.

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