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: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 Summer 2021
Eligibility Requirements:Core courses or QFT-1. First-year and Second-year students preferred.
Faculty:Maryam Modjaz
Project Description: I have a number of potential observational projects in time-domain astrophysics. They range from understanding the deaths of massive stars as Supernovae and Gamma-ray Bursts - by investigating the explosion properties (from light curves and spectra) and/or their environments - to improving photometric selection techniques for upcoming, large-scale transient surveys. For most of the data sets, the data are all in hand and already reduced and for some cases constitute the largest data sets every gathered.
Funding Source:Start-up and/or NSF grant
Funding Term:3 years +
Eligibility Requirements:1st or 2nd year graduate student with good academic record, strong work ethic & communication skills and some background in astrophysics. Strong coding skills a plus.
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