Faculty Research

Cristian Armendariz-Picon:
  • Dr. Armendariz-Picon studies the origin and evolution of the universe. He is particularly interested in the nature of dark energy and dark matter, and in the origin of the initial inhomogeneities that later became the galaxies and clusters that fill our universe.
Munir Pirbhai:
  • Dr. Pirbhai's research is related to polarized light. He investigates why materials affect the polarization of light. Lately, he has been looking into using polarized light for medical diagnosis. His other interest includes electron beam physics, and he is currently building a system to study single crystal and polycrystalline diffraction patterns.
Catherine Jahncke:
  • Dr. Jahncke's research interests are in optics and optical properties of materials. She uses techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, ellipsometery, and near-field scanning optical microscopy to characterize materials. Her most recent interest is in barium titanate which is a piezoelectric and birefringent material with many applications including super capacitors.
Karen Johnson:
  • Dr. Johnson studies the history of modern physics, particularly nuclear and chemical physics. Her work has focused on the close analysis of the evolution of scientific ideas, such as the wave theory of light and the nuclear shell model. She also studies the history of women in science and the role of collaboration in scientific creativity.
    • Recent publications:
      • Karen E. Johnson, “From natural history to the nuclear shell model: chemical thinking in the work of Mayer, Haxel, Jensen, and Suess,” Physics in Perspective, 6 (2004) 295-309.
      • Karen E. Johnson, “Spontaneous human collaboration: using disciplinary thinking to study interdisciplinary work,” St. Lawrence University 2003 Piskor Faculty Lecture.
Daniel Koon:
  • Dr. Koon's specialty is materials science. Specifically, he probes materials by looking at how they treat their electrons. He measures charge transport, particularly the Hall effect, which is the result of electrical current curving under the influence of a magnetic field. With his students at SLU he has both calculated and measured how local defects alter measured electrical quantities -- a question of interest for quality control in microelectronics fabrication -- and has used resistivity, Hall effect, and optical transmission to monitor hydrogen absorption in metals -- of interest for the storage of hydrogen fuel for transportation. He has carried out these studies with SLU students in his own laboratory at St. Lawrence, in laboratories in Costa Rica, Spain, and the Czech Republic, and with colleagues from Denmark. He is known internationally and across disciplines for having proven that polar bear hair does NOT behave as an ultraviolet lightpipe and that the iridescence of butterflies acts as a sunblock, not a solar collector. Teaching science fiction in the First Year Program led him into translating science fiction from Cuban and other authors from Spanish to English, which he has published online and in print. Koon is a two-time Fulbright scholar.
    • Recent publications:
      • D.W. Koon, M. Heřmanová, J. Náhlík. Electrical Conductance Sensitivity Functions for Convex and Cloverleaf van der Pauw geometries.  Measurement Science and Technology, Volume 26, Number 11 (2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0957-0233/26/11/115004
      • D.W. Koon, F. Wang, D.H. Petersen, O. Hansen. Sensitivity of resistive and Hall measurements to local inhomogeneities: Finite-field, intensity, and area corrections. Journal of Applied Physics. Vol. 116, No. 13, p. 133706. (2014) http://orbit.dtu.dk/fedora/objects/orbit:135369/datastreams/file_8a190b1c-8621-4d7b-b57a-b8b661309f26/content
      • J.R. Ares, F. Leardini, P. Díaz-Chao, J. Bodega, D.W. Koon, I.J. Ferrer, J.F. Fernández, C. Sánchez. Hydrogen desorption in nanocrystalline MgH2 thin films at room temperature. Journal of Alloys and Compounds. 495 (2), 650–654. (2010)
      • D.W. Koon, J.R. Ares, F. Leardini, J.F. Fernández, I.J. Ferrer. Polynomial-interpolation algorithm for van der Pauw Hall measurements in a metal hydride film. Meas. Sci. Technol. 19, 105106. (2008)
Aileen O'Donoghue:
  • Dr. O'Donoghue's research is primarily in radio astronomy and she has conducted observations with the Very Large Array and Arecibo radio telescopes. She has also observed dwarf galaxies in the visible band at the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope and the optical spectra of stars using the 90” Bok telescope at Kitt Peak and the 1.5 m telescope at Cerro Tololo, Chile. She is currently a member of the ALFALFA undergraduate team conducing a blind spectral survey of the sky visible from the Arecibo Observatory cataloging clouds of neutral hydrogen.
    • Recent publications:
      • M.P. Haynes, R. Giovanelli, A.M. Martin, K.M. Hess, A. Saintonge, E.A.K. Adams, G. Hallenbeck, G.L. Hoffman, S. Huang, B.R. Kent, et al. The Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA Survey: The alpha.40 HI Source Catalog, its Characteristics and their Impact on the Derivation of the HI Mass Function. Astronomical Journal. Vol. 142, No. 5. (2011) http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-3881/142/5/170/article
      • R.O. Gray, C.J. Corbally, R.F. Garrison, M.T. McFadden, E.J. Bubar, C.E. McGahee, A.A. O'Donoghue, E.R. Knox. Contributions to the Nearby Stars (NStars) Project: Spectroscopy of Stars Earlier than M0 within 40 pc— The Southern Sample. Astronomical Journal. Vol. 132, No. 1. (2006) http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-3881/132/1/161
Jeffrey Miller
  • Miller is involved in the ALFALFA Project, a consortium of 20 universities led by Cornell University and funded by the NSF, that uses the 1000-ft. antenna of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center's Arecibo Observatory to measure extragalactic abundance of neutral Hydrogen (HI). As part of this group, he has observed at Kitt Peak, Arecibo and Green Bank, and has brought students to an annual workshop at the Arecibo and Green Bank observatories.
    • Recent publications:
      • M.P. Haynes, R. Giovanelli, A.M. Martin, K.M. Hess, A. Saintonge, E.A.K. Adams, G. Hallenbeck, G.L. Hoffman, S. Huang, B.R. Kent, et al. The Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA Survey: The alpha.40 HI Source Catalog, its Characteristics and their Impact on the Derivation of the HI Mass Function. Astronomical Journal. Vol. 142, No. 5. (2011) http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-3881/142/5/170/article