Senior Research Projects 2020 - 2021

Seniors present to the physics department the results of their Phys 489/490: SYE Advanced Laboratory and Phys 499: Honors SYE research projects at the end of each semester. The abstracts for their research are below and photos of the student presenters follow afterwards:

Spring 2021

An Investigation of vPython - Ben Kelty '21

The goal of this project was to create a series of simulations that would realistically model the physics of real-life situations using the specialized language of vPython. vPython is an adapted version of the programming language Python, but with more specialized features to improve the ability to simulate physical scenarios. This specialized ability includes creating a more accessible and easy to manipulate graphical interface with 3D objects.

For more information, contact Dr. Catherine Jahncke or Dr. Ed Harcourt

Evaluation of the Apple Watch ECG - McKailey Lyndaker '21

The recent development of the FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) feature on the Apple Watch in 2018 has been considered an innovative breakthrough for personal monitoring of individual health parameters. ECGs are able to detect the electrical activity and indicate areas of abnormalities within the heart. The Apple Watch ECG is equivalent to a single lead (Lead I) from a standard 12-lead ECG and provides a single tracing of the heart’s electrical activity with an algorithm that is able to analyze the recording for signs of Atrial Fibrillation. Through this evaluation, I am seeking to investigate the validity of Apple’s claims of the promising nature of the Apple Watch ECG in managing the condition of Atrial Fibrillation and in being part of the future of health monitoring.

For more information, contact Dr. Karen Johnson

Towards a Rowing Training Device - Matthew Parent '21

The goal of my project is to create an electronic training device for the sport of rowing. The device will produce an audible sound describing the force athletes put into the stroke, used to improve the synchronization with the other rowers in the boat. During this semester of research, I was able to create a working circuit that gives an audible noise from a given force like a rowing stroke.

For more information, contact Dr. Catherine Jahncke

Fall 2020

Characterizing Heterobimetallic Materials Using Raman Micro-Spectroscopy - Timothy Cunningham '21

Given the world’s current energy crisis many avenues for producing carbon neutral or green energy are being explored. Following carbon-neutral processes found in nature, several studies have sought to create an artificial photosynthetic cycle to produce fuel using sunlight. Should artificial photosynthesis be achieved and made scalable to the Terawatt capacity, it could produce enough fuel in the form of sugars or H2 gas to support modern infrastructure. Completing the photosynthetic cycle is complex and requires the integration of several important processes including CO2 reduction, H2O splitting, and charge donor processes. The research group I’m part of is investigating the charge transfer properties and structure of inorganic heterobimetallic oxide bridges which have shown potential for applications as charge donors in an artificial photosynthetic cycle.

My objective this semester was two- fold: First I developed a data collection procedure capable of detecting Cobalt Oxide clusters in positive controls. The second goal was to characterize the structure of heterobimetallic units made with different metal combinations under visible light using a Raman micro-spectroscopy system.

For more information, contact Dr. Catherine Jahncke

Individual Resonance of the Human Ossicles In Vitro - Anna Foster '21

The goal of this experiment was to measure the individual resonance of the ear bones. Previous literature has found values for the temporal bone auditory system as a whole, with values at 1.2 kHz and 1.7 kHz, when it’s removed from the body shortly after death. Frequencies for the ossicle pairings in vivo have also been found, with measurements for the malleus alone at 3 and 4 kHz, the malleus and incus at 5 kHz, the incus and stapes at 3 kHz, and all three bones in a system were measured at 5, 6, and 8 kHz. When these ossicles are removed both from the human body and each other, quite different resonant frequencies were expected. It will be shown geometry, stiffness, density, and surrounding temperature all influence an objects’ resonance and these four variables changed when the ossicles are measured separately and outside the human body. Before the ossicles were examined, the resonant frequencies of simpler models such as bars and rods were found and the concepts of clamped bars and rods were explored as well. The values then measured for the ossicles were higher than the literature values for the bones in system, as expected.

For more information, contact Dr. Catherine Jahncke or Dr. Joseph Erlichman