School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy

Head
Dignam, M.M.

Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Courteau, S.

Professor
Clapham, L., Courteau, S., Dignam, M.M., Duncan, M.J.5, Gao, J., Gerbier, G., Gooding, R.J.6, Hanes, D.A.7, Hughes, S.5, Irwin, J.A., Lake, K.W., McLean, A.B., Nunzi, J.M., Widrow, L.M.

Associate Professor
Chen, M.C., Di Stefano, P., Fraser, J.M.7, Knobel, R.G., Noble, A.J., Rau, W.6, Singh, M.A., Stotz, J.A.H.

Assistant Professor
Martin, R.D., Wright, A.J.

Professor Emeritus
Atherton, D.L., Castel, B., Evans, H.C., Ewan, G.T., Harrison, J.P., Henriksen, R.N., Johnstone, I.P., Leslie, J.R., MacArthur, J.D., Mak, H.B., McDonald, A.B.,  McLatchie, Wm., McLay, D.B., Robertson, B.C., Sayer, M.,Stott, M.J., Taylor, D.R., Wintle, H.J., Zaremba, E.

Cross Appointed Faculty
Carrington, T., Krause, T.3, Loock, H.P.,  Spekkens, K.3, Wade, G.A.3

Adjunct Professor
Schreiner, L.J.1

Adjunct Associate Professor
Atkinson, W.2, Boulay, M.G.4, Kerr, A.T.1, Morelli, J., Patton, D.2, Sabat, R.G.3

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Joshi, C.P.1, Olding, T.R.1, Salomons, G.J.1, Shiell, R.2, Wortis, R.2

1 - Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSEO)
2 - Trent University
3 - Royal Military College
4 - Carleton University
5 - On Leave July -December 2017
6 - On Leave January-June 2018
7 -  On Leave July 2017 -June 2018

 


Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Telephone: 613 533-2687 Fax: 613 533-6463
World Wide Web: http://www.queensu.ca/physics


Departmental Facilities

The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy is located in Stirling Hall on Bader Lane. This teaching and research centre houses facilities for investigations in astronomy and astrophysics, condensed matter and low-temperature physics, engineering and applied physics, and sub-atomic physics. In addition, research is conducted at a number of external facilities.

Most of the observational work in radio astronomy is done with the Very Large Array (VLA) of the NRAO near Socorro, New Mexico and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. Optical and infrared observations are carried out at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the National Optical Astronomy Observatories, the Gemini Telescope, Lick Observatory, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, and other international facilities, including the Hubble Space Telescope. Astrophysical theorists work in the areas of general relativity, physical cosmology, high energy and particle astrophysics, star formation, and solar system dynamics. For more information, see the separate calendar entry under Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Research in many areas of condensed matter, low-temperature, and applied physics is carried out using a wide variety of equipment. Access to very low temperatures is provided by a facility for reaching millikelvin temperatures, which is unique to Canada. The Applied Magnetics group has extensive industrial collaboration, a large number of highly innovative test rigs and a major investment in state-of-the-art finite element field-computational software. The Applied Solid State Physics group has extensive facilities for physical and chemical deposition of thin films and for microcircuit development of novel circuits integrated into silicon. The electronic states on semiconductor surfaces are studied using a high-resolution inverse photoemission spectrometer. The geometry of semiconductor surfaces is studied, at the atomic level, using electron emission holography and scanning tunnelling microscopy. The properties of two-dimensional electron gas systems over a wide range of temperature and magnetic fields are studied by precision measurements of transport properties. Data at very high magnetic fields are obtained using facilities at Nijmegen, The Netherlands. X-ray and optical experiments are used to investigate phase transitions in polymer blends and crystals with magnetic and structural disorder. This research also makes use of X-ray and neutron scattering facilities at Brookhaven and Chalk River. At the Kingston General Hospital, X-ray, gamma-ray and electron beam sources are used in investigations of ionizing radiation in various types of tissue, and the MRI scanner is used in various projects related to imaging.  Nanoscale electronic and mechanical devices are fabricated using electron-beam lothography.  These devices are cooled to cryogenic temperatures and studied with precision radio frequency techniques.

The research program of the experimental subatomic physics group at Queen's focuses on particle astrophysics, in particular neutrino physics and astrophysics, and dark matter detection. The experimental work takes place at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) and the newly expanded underground laboratory known as SNOLAB. SNO is a solar neutrino detector currently taking data in its third and final operational phase. Its unique capability of measuring the total flux of all neutrino flavours from the Sun along with the electron flavour component enables SNO to examine fundamental neutrino properties such as neutrino mass, mixing and flavour oscillations. By studying the neutrino flux from the Sun, details of the solar interior, such as the central temperature, are also being probed, allowing stringent tests of solar models. The Queen's group is actively involved in data analysis and has responsibility for the calibrations of the SNO detector. In addition to SNO, Queen's researchers are active in the development the next generation of experiments in particle astrophysics for SNOLAB. Researchers participating in the PICASSO and DEAP projects at Queen's are developing technologies and experiments for dark matter detection, with operational prototypes being installed in SNOLAB in the current and upcoming few years.  Researchers at Queen's are developing the follow-up experiment to SNO, known as SNO+.   A large liquid scintillator detector, SNO+ will continue to make precision measurements of fundamental neutrino properties, probing the nature of the neutrino-matter interaction and SNO+ will study geo-neutrinos, the neutrinos emitted by radioactivity in the Earth, contributing valuable new information in the field of geophysics.  Researchers at Queen's are also involved in the Majorana double beta decay experiment, the next-generation experiment employing enriched germanium detectors, searching for evidence of neutrinoless double beta decay, and thus probing neutrino mass at very low (and interesting) energy scales.  Facilities at Queen's that support this research include clean rooms for assembling low background detectors, mechanical and electrical technical support, and computing.

Research facilities are supported by many computers and work-stations in the department, and by large computers in the University Computing Centre.

The department maintains a well-equipped instrument shop.

Financial Assistance

Graduate students are normally supported by various assistantships and scholarships. Students holding external awards (eg. NSERC or OGS) are offered additional support. Please contact the department for details.

Fields of Research

Astronomy and Astrophysics

  1. Formation and dynamical evolution of the Solar System.
  2. Non-linear dynamical systems, chaos and astrophysics, self-similarity and hierarchical structures.
  3. The interstellar medium and star formation.
  4. Observation studies and dynamical simulations of star clusters; star clusters in external galaxies separate class.
  5. High energy astrophysics, stellar structure and evolution.
  6. Theoretical and observational studies of pulsars, galactic x-ray sources, neutron stars and black-holes.
  7. The interstellar medium in external galaxies, and active galactic nuclei.
  8. Radio Astronomy:  theoretical and observational studies of radio galaxies and extragalactic x-ray sources.
  9. Galaxy formation, structure, and evolution; galaxy mergers.
  10. Physical Cosmology:  theoretical simulations and observations of large scale structures in the Universe; Extragalactic distance scale.
  11. The early Universe:  formation of large structure, dark matter.
  12. Mathematical General Relativity:  gravitational collapse, singularity structure, cosmic censorship, exact solutions, quantum theory on curved spacetime.

Engineering and Applied Physics

  1. Film and coating deposition by CVD, sputtering and sol gel processes.
  2. Materials analysis and characterisation by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy.
  3. Development of biologically active surfaces.
  4. Development of advanced magnetic inspection techniques for oil and gas pipelines.
  5. Development of low frequency through-wall eddy current inspection methods for heat exchangers and large diameter tubes.
  6. Use of magnetic and acoustic Barkhausen noise and neutron- diffraction strain measurements to correlate stress, magnetic anisotropy and magnetic flux leakage patterns.
  7. Modelling of ferromagnetic hysteresis.
  8. Thin film ferroelectrics and piezoelectric transducers and actuators.
  9. Modelling of fibre amplifiers and nonlinear optical propagation in fibre-optic communications systems.
  10. Characterization and optimization of radiation beams used in cancer treatment.
  11. Projects related to various aspects of medical imaging.
  12. Fabrication and measurement of nanoscale electronic and mechanical devices.

Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

  1. Study of superconductors and quantum fluids; development of low temperature bolometers for particle detection.
  2. Transport properties of semiconductors and their heterostructures; reduced dimensionality systems.
  3. Conduction and phase transitions in oxide films, block copolymers, and ceramics. Photoconduction and space charge in polymers.
  4. Optical, x-ray and neutron scattering studies of phase transitions.
  5. The study of semiconductor surfaces using inverse photoemission, electron emission holography and scanning probes.
  6. Photonic devices based on optically and electronically active polymers.
  7. Cryogenic measurements of quantum electronic systems at radio frequencies.

Experimental Particle Astrophysics

  1. Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics (SNO, SNO+ and Majorana)
  2. Solar Neutrinos and Neutrino Oscillations (SNO and SNO+)
  3. Supernova Neutrinos (SNO and SNO+)
  4. Geo-Neutrinos (SNO+)
  5. Dark matter detection (DEAP and PICASSO)

Theoretical Physics

  1. Density functional theory applied to atoms, solids and classical liquids; theory of liquids.
  2. Condensed matter: strongly correlated electronic systems, Bose-Einstein condensation, mesoscopic physics.
  3. Statistical physics, phase transitions, dynamical systems and approach to equilibrium; nonlinear optics of semiconductors; self-organized criticality and the dynamics of financial markets (econphysics).
  4. Particle astrophysics.
  5. Relativistic magnetohydrodynamics and gravitation applied to specific astrophysical problems.
  6. General relativity.
  7. Nuclear structure.

Programs of Study

Applicants are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.)

The Departmental requirements for the master's degree program are a minimum of two full graduate courses (or four half-courses), plus research and thesis. At most, one of these four graduate level half courses can be jointly offered (double-numbered) with an undergraduate course.  At least one full course (or two half-courses) must be from among those offered by the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy.  At most, one full course (two half-courses) may be taken from a department other than Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy subject to the approval of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Departmental requirements for the Physics doctoral program are usually a minimum of six term-length graduate courses beyond the bachelor's degree level, plus research and thesis. Only two of these six graduate level courses can be jointly offered (double-numbered) with an undergraduate course. The required courses must also include two of the following three term-length courses or their equivalent:

  1. PHYS-831* Electromagnetic Theory or PHYS-832* Classical Electrodynamics or an approved substitute from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering or the Royal Military College,
  2. PHYS-825* Advanced Quantum Theory, or
  3. PHYS-870* Statistical Mechanics.

In exceptional cases, subject to the approval of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy, proficiency in Quantum Mechanics at the level of PHYS-345 will be accepted in lieu of PHYS-825*. The requirement of PHYS-825* for PhD level students would thus be waived but the total course work requirement of the PhD is not reduced.

Up to four term-length courses may be taken from a department other than Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy, subject to the approval of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy.

An Engineering Physics doctoral student will be required to take a minimum of four term-length graduate courses (or equivalent) beyond the Master's degree course requirement. Engineering Physics students promoted from our Master's program to our Doctoral program are required to take a minimum of six term-length graduate courses past completion of the B.Sc./B.A.Sc.

A comprehensive requirement must be satisfied by passing of a candidacy examination normally held during the fourth term of full-time registration. In addition, all students will be required to participate in the course on Science Leadership and Management (PHYS-904).  PhD students entering their third year of study in academic year 2017-18 need not enroll in PHYS-904 and must complete PHYS-901.

Materials Science and Technology

The Department cooperates with the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Materials Engineering in offering courses and research projects to students wishing to concentrate in materials science and technology. Students are registered for MSc and PhD degrees in one of these five departments and are encouraged to take relevant courses from the others.