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Research by Faculty and Students in our Physics Programs

The research of the Physics Department falls into four broad areas:

  • Soft Condensed Matter Physics, especially Liquid Crystals and Complex Fluids;
  • Correlated Electron Physics, including Superconductivity;
  • Nuclear and Hadronic Physics; and
  • 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 and our nascent virtual tours page.

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

James Gleeson
Satyendra Kumar
Elizabeth Mann
Samuel Sprunt    Theoretical
David Allender    See Also
Kumar Group
Liquid Crystal Institute    IMAGE: lc_film    

Nuclear and Hadronic Physics

Bryon Anderson
Mina Katramatou
Declan Keane
Mark Manley
Spiros Margetis
Gerassimos (Makis) Petratos
John Watson    Theoretical
Veronica Dexheimer
Michael Strickland
Peter Tandy    See Also
Center for Nuclear Research    IMAGE: auau_130gev    

Correlated Electron Physics

Carmen Almasan
Brett Ellman
Almut Schroeder    Theoretical
Maxim Dzero
Khandker Quader     See Also
High Tc Superconductors    IMAGE: ybco1237_small    


Hamza Balci
Elizabeth Mann
Samuel Sprunt    Theoretical
David Allender
John Portman    See Also
Portman Biophysics Group    IMAGE: ProteinFoldingVideoFrame    

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).

A number of faculty take a specific interest in Physics Education and innovative methods to improve the process, sometimes assisted by external funds. Faculty who have the most direct experience in such efforts include John Barrick, Stan Christensen, Brett Ellman, Tom Emmons, Mina Katramatou, 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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