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Student doing physics research


Areas of active research within the Department include, biological physics, AMO physics, condensed matter physics, precision measurements, and physics education. 

Research & Scientific Expertise

Current research is being undertaken in the following areas:

Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics



Main research topics include:

  • Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics (Vemuri)
  • Biomedical Optics (Vemuri)
  • The investigation of non-classical states of light, encryption, and quantum entanglement (Ou).
  • Ultracold Quantum Gases (Luo
  • Trapped Ion Quantum Information (Luo)
  • Precision Optical Measurement (Luo

Biological Physics



Work in progress involves:

  • The use of NMR and to study protein structure and dynamics (Kemple).
  • Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (Kemple) is applied to investigate the effect of free radicals in biological processes.
  • Solid state NMR is used to study biological membranes (Wassall).
  • The structure and function of biological membranes is also investigated by X-ray scattering and ion transport (Petrache).


  • Research is performed using computer modeling and simulations of the physical properties of biological macromolecules (Zhu).
  • There is also ongoing work in modeling the response of cells to cryopreservation (Kleinhans) and modeling membrane channels (Petrache).

Condensed Matter Physics



  • Fabrication and characterization of magnetic nanostructured materials, with the goal of building spintronic devices (Cheng).
  • The optical properties of quantum dots are also investigated in our Department (Decca).

Scanning Probe Microscopy

New techniques are developed to investigate soft materials with Atomic Force Microscopy and Near-field Scanning Optical Microscopy and to place limits on hypothetical new forces (Decca).


Studies of Fundamental Forces



  • Investigations of the Casimir force conducted using MEMS-- microelectromechanical systems (Decca).
  • Studies of possible corrections to gravity at small length scales (Decca).

Physics Education


This field focuses on efforts to develop and assess effective new methods of instruction in physics.


Theoretical Physics


Ongoing Theoretical physics research focuses on PT-symmetric quantum mechanics, non-Hermitian operators, and properties of self-adjoint, non-Hermitian random matrices.


Physics professor appreciates IUPUI’s interdisciplinary environment

Horia Petrache, Ph.D. Assistant Professor