Our main areas of research are astrophysics, optics, and planetary, and solar science. Both graduate and undergraduate students are involved in the department's research groups and projects. Galaxies, Galaxy Groups and Clusters, Cosmology People Dr Ming Sun Dr Andrea Morandi (Post-Doctoral Assistant) Sarthak Dasadia (GRA) We study galaxy groups and clusters, the evolution of their member galaxies, supermassive black holes, AGN feedback and cosmology with multi-wavelength data from radio, sub-mm, infrared, optical to X-rays. We also use the data from astronomical surveys on various data mining projects. Planetary Sciences People Dr Richard Miller Deanna Smith (JUMP student) The Planetary Science group uses nuclear and particle physics techniques for its investigations. To date the research activities have focused on the nature of airless planetary bodies like the Moon and asteroids. A primary research focus is orbital geochemistry of the Moon using neutron and gamma-ray spectroscopy, including multiple discoveries related to the identification of water at the lunar poles. Recent work also includes the development of muon radiography as a probe of the interior of asteroids. We are part of several national and international collaborations including NASA’s Lunar Science Institute (NLSI, Polar), NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI, VORTICES), and NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC). Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics People Dr Richard Miller Ongoing work includes the development of new astrophysical techniques and the establishment of the Moon as a platform for astrophysics investigations. With a focus in the nuclear regime, the goal is to enhance our understanding of the Cosmos through detailed studies of the lifecycle of matter and energy. Our tools include innovative detection and imaging approaches, detector development, advanced scintillator materials, inter-disciplinary approaches, and extensive computer simulations. Investigations include both space- and ground-based gamma-ray astrophysics (MeV through TeV), neutrino astrophysics, and cosmic-ray studies. High-Energy Solar Physics People Dr James A Miller Samer al-Nussirat (GRA) We study the acceleration of electrons and ions to hundreds of MeV and beyond in solar flares, which are some of the most efficient and remarkable sources of high-energy particle acceleration in astrophysics. These energetic particles produce a host of diagnostics, including gamma-ray bremmstrahlung, nuclear de-excitation lines, the positron annihilationa and neutron captures lines, and pion decay radiation. Ultrafast and Precision Optics People Dr Lingze Duan Lin Yang (GRA) Hemang Jani (GRA) Dipen Barot (GRA) Bing Zeng (GRA) Reem Alsalamah (GRA) The Precision Ultrafast Light Sciences (PULS) group at UAH strives to extend the boundary of optics and photonics toward shorter time scales, smaller spatial scales, higher precision, lower noise, and broader scopes of scientific contexts. The research activities at PULS encompass the areas of femtosecond lasers, optical frequency combs, precision optical metrology, fiber-optic sensing, nanophotonics, optical imaging, optical spectroscopy, and photonic detection. There is also a strong interdisciplinary theme leading to collaborations with other fields such as astrophysics, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Group Website. Nanophotonics and Quantum Devices People Dr Seyed Sadeghi Waylin Wing (GRA) Rithvik Gutha (GRA) Brett McWilliams (PhD Student) At Nanophotonics and Quantum Devices group at UAH, we study the intrinsic and collective properties nanomaterials, including metallic nanoantennas and semiconductor quantum dots, and their applications. Our goals are to understand the fundamental properties of these materials and explore ways to achieve novel properties via application of quantum mechanics in hybrid systems consisting of these nanostructures. We are interested in applications of such systems for quantum devices and nanosensors wherein detection is done via the impact of biological molecules on the coherent dynamics induced via quantum effects. The research in Nanophotonics and Quantum Devices group covers plasmonics, metal-oxide control of optical properties of quantum dots and metallic nanoparticles, and ultrafast processes in hybrid nanoparticle systems.