Congratulations to Our New Ph.D.'s!

Mukut Kalita,  Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Korsch
Field: Nuclear Experiment
Thesis Title: Search for a Permanent Electric Dipole Moment of 225Ra
Current employment: Post-doc, TRIUMF, precision atomic/nuclear physics

Mukut Kalita, working under Prof. Wolfgang Korsch’s supervision at Argonne National Lab, extracted, for the first time ever, an upper limit on the electric dipole moment (EDM) of radium-225. The basic concept of the experiment is shown in the figure below. Atoms of radium-225 are laser-cooled to a temperature of about 45 μK and captured in an optical trap. They precess in a magnetic field while a strong electric field is applied. Any change in polarization which is correlated with the E-field direction would indicate the existence of a non-zero EDM; however, no such correlation was found, and Dr. Kalita was able to extract a first upper limit on the EDM of 5.0 x 10-22 e-cm, an important bound on possible time-reversal violating effects and on physics beyond the Standard Model. His work, published in Physical Review Letters, clearly demonstrated that modern atomic techniques can be used to probe physics at energy scales comparable to the particles produced in high energy accelerators. After defending his Ph.D. thesis, Dr. Kalita accepted a postdoctoral research position at the TRIUMF national laboratory in Canada where he continues to work on precision experiments using lasers and trapped radioactive atoms.

Nandita Raha,  Ph.D. ’15 
Advisor: Gorringe
Field: Nuclear Experiment
Thesis Title: Measurement of the dμd Quartet-to-Doublet Molecular Formation Rate Ratio (λq : λd) and the μd Hyperfine Rate (λqd) Using the Fusion Neurons from μ− Stops in D2 Gas
Current employment: INFN fellowship in Rome, Italy

Nandita Raha’s dissertation research with Prof. Tim Gorringe was conducted with the MuSun experiment at Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. The experiment is designed to the measure the absorption of negative muons by deuterium nuclei. The measurement of so-called μ−d capture permits the determination of the two-body weak nuclear force. In turn this enables the precise calculation of solar thermonuclear fusion, the reaction that powers the sun, and the neutrino-deuterium interactions responsible for solar neutrino oscillations. Dr. Raha was responsible for installing, calibrating, and operating the UK neutron detector array that enabled the measurement of several μ−d atomic and molecular reactions. Her dissertation research has provided the key reaction rates that are needed for the interpretation of the MuSun experiment and the determination of the two-body weak nuclear force. Dr. Raha now holds a prestigious International Postdoc Fellowship in experimental physics with the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Rome, Italy. She is working with several Italian groups on a precision laser calibration system for the muon g - 2 experiment to be conducted at Fermilab.


Zachariah Miller,  Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Kovash
Field: Nuclear Experiment
Thesis Title: A Measurement of the Prompt Fission Neutron Energy Spectrum for235U(n,f) and the Neutron-induced Fission Cross Section for 238U(n,f)
Current employment: Postdoc at UIUC with STAR collaboration

Zachariah Miller constructed, tested, and then used a novel layered scintillation detector to make the first low-MeV measurements of prompt neutrons emitted in neutron-induced fission of uranium-235, using the pulsed neutron beam at the Los Alamos National Lab. His instrument successfully reduced the detected backgrounds, exposing the relatively weak signal of fission neutrons. The excellent time and position resolution of the detector then allowed the fission neutron spectrum to be determined in the range from 0.5 to 3 MeV.

Dr. Miller is now a postdoc in the physics department of the University of Illinois at Chicago working on measuring bottom and charm (heavy) quark production in p+p, p+Au, and Au+Au collisions. The goal is to use the production of heavy quarks as a probe to study the Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP), which is formed in Au+Au collisions but not p+p or p+Au, by comparing how the measured production rates change with and without the QGP present.

Elise Tang, Ph.D. ’16
Advisor: Crawford
Field: Nuclear Experiment
Thesis Title: An Analysis of the Parity Violating Asymmetry of Polarized Neutron Capture in Hydrogen from the NPDGamma Experiment
Current employment: Postdoc at Los Alamos National Lab

Elise Tang, in her dissertation research with Prof. Chris Crawford, investigated the role that the weak force plays in the binding of protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus. The weak force depends on the correlated distance between pairs of quarks inside protons and neutrons. It is about a ten-millionth of the strength of the strong force, and is very hard to extract from the strong force background. She did this using a unique property of the weak interaction: parity violation. To isolate this asymmetry between normal life and life as seen through a mirror, she measured a “left handed” signal from neutron capture on liquid hydrogen: the correlation between the spin of the neutron and the direction of the photon.  Dr. Tang did her research with the international NPDGamma collaboration at the $1.4B Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Taking data for two years at the highest flux neutron beamline in the world, she was able to measure the longest-range component of the weak force to a precision of one part in 100 million. Dr. Tang is now based at Los Alamos National Laboratory with her husband and newborn baby girl.

Patrick Hunley, Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Strachan
Field: Condensed Matter Experiment
Thesis Title: Synthesis, Integration, and Physical Charaterization of Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes
Current: Staff scientist, Cypress semiconductor corporation

Kyle McCarthy, Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Wilhelm
Field: Observational Astronomy
Thesis Title: Characterizing the Nearest Young Moving Groups
Current: Teacher at Troy Preparatory Charter School

Khayrullo Shoniyozov, Ph.D. ’16
Advisor: Kovash
Field: Nuclear Experiment
Thesis Title: Elastic Compton Scattering from Deuterium Near 100 mev

Abishek Sundaraarajan, Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Strachan
Field: Condensed Matter Experiment
Thesis Title: A Study on Atomically Thin Ultra Short Conducting Channels, Breakdown, and Environmental Effects
Current: Staff scientist, Cypress semiconductor corporation

Hongwei Yang,  Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Kovash
Field: Nuclear Experiment
Thesis Title: The N-P Scattering Cross Section from 90 kev to 1.8 mev
Current: Senior Software engineer, Brion Technologies, San Francisco

Hao Zhang,  Ph.D. ’15
Advisor: Brill
Field: Condensed Matter Experiment
Thesis Title: The Development and Implementation of Systems to Study the Physical Properties of Tantalum Trisulfide and Small-Molecule Organic Semiconductors
Current: Staff engineer, Alliance Fiber Optics, CA

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