NYU Arts & Science

Graduate Student Research Opportunities

Graduate Student Research Opportunities
Browse list of available research assistant opportunities by Physics faculty.
Contact faculty directly if interested.
Faculty:Andrew Kent
Project Description:An important and overarching goal of spintronics is to discover and characterize more efficient means of generating spin currents and associated spin torques on magnetization. Recently it has been established that spin-orbit interactions enable very efficient charge-to-spin conversion and large torques on magnetic layers. However, the spin polarization that acts on the ferromagnetic layer is typically confined to the layer plane, and thus is very effective at reversing the magnetization of in-plane magnetized layers but far less effective in switching and exciting the magnetization of perpendicularly magnetized elements. This project investigates spin currents associated with spin-orbit coupling in ferromagnetic layers and their interfaces to nonmagnets, which have the potential to generate spin currents polarized perpendicular to the layer planes. The charge-to-spin conversion efficiency and the symmetry of the response are studied for a variety of transition metal materials and interfaces as a function of magnetization angle. Time-resolved and spatially resolved probes of magnetization dynamics are employed to reveal magnetization switching mechanisms in thin perpendicularly magnetized layers and patterned nanostructures to further the understanding of the nonlinear magnetization dynamics excited by spin-transfer torques.
Funding Source:National Science Foundation
Funding Term:2-3 years, with potential for additional support dependent on funding availability
Eligibility Requirements:Interest and aptitude for Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, studying the fundamental properties of magnetic nanostructures, publishing high profile papers and presenting at APS and magnetism conferences
Faculty:Elisa Riedo
Project Description:We are looking for creative and brilliant experimental physicists to join the picoforcelab.org group of Prof. Elisa Riedo. The research will be at the forefront of nanoscience and 2D materials for applications in nanoelectronics, nano-biosensors and material science.
Funding Source:DoE, ARO and Private Sector
Funding Term:Entire phd
Eligibility Requirements:Brilliant Mind and Motivation
Faculty:Glennys Farrar
Project Description:Particle physics relevant for sexaquark discovery via lab experiments and astrophysics. Dark Matter may be an as-yet- undiscovered stable particle composed of 6 quarks: uuddss, called sexaquark or S. A parameter-free estimation of its relic density agrees with DM observation and all lab, cosmological and astrophysical constraints to date are consistent with expected or required behavior. This opens multiple lines of research and I have support for 3 GRAs to work on different aspects as well as other areas of astroparticle physics and astronomy/cosmology. Depending on student interests: (1) Simulations of S production and interactions at the LHC, and development of an optimal trigger for its detection in Milliqan (LHC experiment lead by NYU’s Andy Haas). (2) Theoretical investigations aiming to calculate the amplitude for dissociation of S into 2 Lambda (uds) baryons. (3) Predictions for the impact of S on the QCD equation of state at ultrahigh density and the Neutron Star Mass-Radius relation; constraints on S from gravitational wave and NICER observations. (4) Constraining S interactions from ultrahigh energy cosmic ray air showers.
Funding Source:NSF
Funding Term:2 years +
Eligibility Requirements:Some of the funding is for members of under-represented groups, most is unrestricted.
Faculty:Glennys Farrar
Project Description:Astrophysical constraints on light Dark Matter and DM having significant non-gravitational interactions with ordinary matter. The best constraints on cold DM (CDM) are from direct and indirect detection and laboratory production experiments, which have excluded most WIMP models. However these techniques leave the interesting parameter space for light dark matter (sexaquarks, axions, fuzzy axions, massive neutrinos,...) relatively unconstrained. Generically, these models predict that very small scale density fluctuations in the Early Universe are smeared out relative to CDM, generating differences in dwarf galaxy abundances, etc, relative to CDM expectations. However to obtain robust constraints on DM requires accounting for the non-trivial impact of the non-standard DM properties, on the evolution from early universe to structures observed today; this has not been done in studies so far. In this project, a variety of tools -- ranging from simulations of galaxy formation to studies of Milky Way dwarf galaxies and stellar stream observations — will be brought to bear to derive reliable limits. Another facet of the project is to determine whether DM-baryon interactions can explain the observed but unexpected early growth of supermassive black holes.
Funding Source:NSF
Funding Term:2 years +
Eligibility Requirements:Some of the funding is for members of under-represented groups, most is unrestricted.
Faculty:Glennys Farrar
Project Description:Discovering the origin and structure of the magnetic field of the Milky Way, and the origins of Ultrahigh Energy and Galactic Cosmic Rays. This project has multiple aspects which can be chosen to match student interests. Fundamental astrophysics: improve our theoretical understanding and the model description of the large scale magnetic field of the Milky Way and external galaxies. Astroparticle Physics: Use Auger and other observations of the UHECR spectrum, composition and arrival-direction anisotropies, and IceCube and other neutrino data, to discover or constrain the sources of the highest energy cosmic rays in the Galaxy and in the Universe. Compare properties of candidate acceleration sites to these constraints.
Funding Source:NSF
Funding Term:2 years +
Eligibility Requirements:Some of the funding is for members of under-represented groups, most is unrestricted.
Faculty:Javad Shabani
Project Description:Recent superconducting qubit experiments have demonstrated single and two-qubit gate operations with fidelities exceeding 99%, placing fault tolerant quantum computation schemes within reach. Semiconductor based devices have their own merits: fast manipulation, low-power consumption and a more direct path toward scalability. We aim to study hybrid superconductor and semiconductor devices that could have advantages of both systems. This project investigates quantum devices and qubits to study the Andreev states, measure and tune charging and Josephson energy in direct current and microwave frequency regimes.
Funding Source:Army Research Office / Air Force Office of Research / Start up
Funding Term:3 years +
Eligibility Requirements:1st or 2nd year graduate student with good academic record and good communication and teamwork skills
Faculty:Aditi Mitra
Project Description:My research area is quantum condensed matter theory. There is typically a lot of flexibility in choosing problems. A possible project could be to work on topological insulators. These are systems that are insulating in the bulk, and have edge states that are protected by time reversal symmetry. (An analogous system in the absence of time-reversal symmetry are quantum Hall systems). Topological insulators are well understood only for non-interacting fermions. The project would involve understanding what happens when the fermions are interacting, and also driven out of equilibrium. A second possible project is related to nonequilibrium dynamics in closed quantum systems with applications to cold-atomic gases and ultra-fast phenomena in strongly-correlated systems.
Funding Source:NSF or DOE
Funding Term:3+ years starting Spring 2023
Eligibility Requirements:Core courses or QFT-1. First-year and Second-year students preferred.
Faculty:Jasna Brujic
Project Description:The project will involve studying liquid-liquid phase separation of lipids on the surface of oil-in-water emulsion droplets. The student will observe the phase separation in 3D using confocal microscopy, analyze the lipid domain trajectories and thus deduce the interaction potential between the domains. From this data, the student will derive the physical origin for the stability of the domains in terms of electrostatics, curvature and line tension. The patterns on the droplet surfaces will then be used for controlling the self-assembly of droplets into well-defined geometries.
Funding Source:NSF start-up
Funding Term:
Eligibility Requirements:1st or 2nd year graduate student with good academic record, strong work ethic & communication skills and a strong interest in experimental physics - either in soft matter or biophysics. Strong coding skills are a plus for image and data analysis and interpretation.
Faculty:David Pine
Project Description:Self-assembly of colloidal crystals with a photonic bandgap and exploring their optical properties. We recently self-assembled a diamond crystal, a longstanding goal in photonics. This opens up a wide spectrum of new research opportunities. This project is primarily experimental and will involve preparing samples and studying their optical properties through experiments and simulations.
Funding Source:Army Research Office
Funding Term:3 years
Eligibility Requirements:1st or 2nd year graduate student with good academic record and a strong work ethic.
Faculty:David W. Hogg
Project Description:Reverse-engineering an imaging spacecraft for time-domain astrophysics: We have all the photon detections (times of arrival and focal-plane positions) for every photon detected by the NASA GALEX satellite. The information in these photon data about spacecraft orientation is much greater than the sum of all the spacecraft pointing calibration data. If we can reverse engineer the three-axis orientation of the spacecraft from the photon data and recalibrate the detector plane, we can deliver the first ever large-scale ultraviolet time-domain data set in astrophysics. We expect to be able to discover planets around white dwarfs, tidal disruption events at supermassive black holes, and other valuable time-domain phenomena.
Funding Source:NASA
Funding Term:2 years +
Eligibility Requirements:solid coding abilities; ability to communicate with engineering teams; probability and inference
Faculty:Alexandra Zidovska
Project Description:Our lab is a cell biophysics lab with the focus on physics of the genome. We use experimental, analytical and computational approaches from biophysics, polymer physics and soft condensed matter physics to reveal physical principles governing behavior of the genome in live cells. Examples of our experimental tools include high-resolution optical microscopy, small angle X-ray scattering and random-positioning machine. Currently available projects range from investigations of physical principles underlying the genome's non-equilibrium organization, dynamics, rheology, emergent phenomena, phase separations, hydrodynamics, functional liquid condensates to astrobiophysics studying the effect of microgravity on the human genome. More details can be found here: https://physics.nyu.edu/zidovskalab/research_general.html or reach out directly to Prof. Zidovska at az45@nyu.edu.
Funding Source:NSF / NIH / Start-up
Funding Term:3 years +
Eligibility Requirements:1st and 2nd year graduate students with good academic record and strong work ethic. Strong coding skills a plus, no prior biology knowledge necessary.