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Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy


Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

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Research Groups

The Department of Physics at Queen's University is one of the leading Physics research institutes in Canada. The research carried out by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff occurs both in Stirling Hall, as well as at external facilities such as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, the Cancer Centre of Southeast Ontario, the HPCVL supercomputer and astronomical observatories around the world. Research is broadly categorized into 4 groups:

  •  Condensed Matter Physics & Optics
  •  Engineering & Applied Physics
  •  Astrophysics & Astronomy
  •  Particle Physics & Particle Astrophysics

  • pseudo Cartesian visualization of the ergo surfaces and event horizons of a Kerr black hole

    This image, by Queen's relativist Dr. Kayll Lake, is a pseudo Cartesian visualization (which is not an embedding in Euclidean space) of the ergo surfaces and event horizons of a Kerr black hole. Such black holes are now considered to be an essential feature of most galaxies.

  • surface erosion, a phenomenon known as sputtering

    High energy ion bombardment may cause surface erosion, a phenomenon known as sputtering. In this example, made by Dr. Lynann Clapham, a single Ni-Cu crystal has been bombarded with Ar+ ions to produce the micron-sized faceted pyramids visible in the photograph.

  • green laser light tracking across a silica microresonator (~300um diameter)

    This microscope image shows green laser light tracking across a silica microresonator (~300um diameter). Dr James Fraser, in collaboration with researchers in the Departments of Chemistry & Electrical Engineering, is exploring the use of microresonators as biochemical sensors.

  • tiny light-emitting p-n junctions in the bulk of the polymer film.

    The planar polymer bulk homojunction device was first demonstrated by Dr. Jun Gao's group at Queen's University in 2005. Upon the application of a large voltage bias, thousands of tiny light-emitting p-n junctions are formed simultaneously in the bulk of the polymer film.

  • Indium atoms on a silicon (111) surface

    When indium atoms are placed on a silicon (111) surface, they order into a regular pattern. This image was taken by Jen MacLeod, a former graduate student of Dr. Alastair McLean, using a scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Each peak in the image represents a single atom.

  • Sudbury Neutrino Observatory experiment

    The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, led by Queen's physicists, has won the inaugural $250,000 Polanyi Prize from NSERC for its many important discoveries made studying neutrinos from the Sun. The group is also actively developing the next-generation of experiments for SNOLAB.

  • UGC10288 showing a vertical quasar (blue)

    The edge-on spiral galaxy UGC 10288 (horizontal) appeared to be a single object in previous radio telescope observations. However, new, detailed blue radio data reveals that the large perpendicular (vertical) extension is a distant background galaxy with radio jets. Blue radio data & imaging: Dr. Judith Irwin; composite image: Dr. Jayanne English.

In addition to having extensive computing facilities and experimental equipment and knowledgeable technical staff within the Department, research is also carried out at a number of external and associated facilities. The Department also has a well-equipped machine shop that students, who have had the appropriate training, can use to build research components, and a world-class instrumentation shop that is staffed by two technicians, as well as Physics Stores, where students can purchase or order an extensive array of equipment and components.


Associated Research Group

Medical Physics at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario


astrophysics and relativity image

  Investigating the cosmos.

condensed matter physics and optics

Exploring condensed matter physics & light-matter interactions.

engineering and applied physics picture

  Applying basic science & physics to
  improve the quality of life.

subatomic physics and particle astrophysics picture

  Uncovering the evolution of the