Programs & Awards  

2003-04 Sigma Pi Sigma Undergraduate Research Awards
Award Information & Previous Recipients

Old Dominion University

  Left to right--back row: Peter Bradshaw, Charles Sukenik (Faculty Advisor) Middle Row: Tammie Wallace, Sharon Careccia, Jonathan Wood Front Row: Rebecca Clark, Mike Maskell, Patricia Hoeft Not Pictured: Rodney Beckner, Christine Thomas

Laser Cooling and Trapping Apparatus for Undergraduate Study

Final Report

Our chapter proposes to build an atom trapping apparatus that we could integrate into undergraduate classes and laboratories. We will use an already published procedure to build this magneto-optical trap. We wish to use this award to acquire research experience and provide an opportunity for all students to explore this new and exciting field

Advisor: Dr. Charles Hyde-Wright

Cypress College

  Left to right: (top) Alex Mitroi, Jason Wiley, Julius DeRojas, Anatol Hoemke, Peter Koo, Dr. Armale; (bottom) C.J. Coshow, Grace Danico, Adam Dye. Not Pictured: Sylvia Duran, John Manus, Vipul Joesephe Masih, Sung Hwang, Roy Hwang.

Constructing a Cosmic Ray Detector and Investigating the Nature of Secondary Cosmic Rays

Final Report

The Cypress College chapter of SPS plans to construct, calibrate, and test a Cosmic Ray Detector to investigate the intensity and distribution of secondary cosmic ray sources, primarily muons. We will measure the cosmic ray flux as a function of detector orientation, altitude, solar wind, and time of day.

Advisor: Dr. Ron Armale

Pittsburg State University

  Left to right: (sitting) Emily Pentola and Cassie Stuckey, (standing) Jacob Stich and Jeremy Burnison.

Analysis of Acceleration Sensitivity on Crystal Oscillators by Measurement of Frequency Shift Effects

Final Report

We are proposing research for NASA Wallops Flight Facility investigating frequency shifts of crystal oscillators when subjected to acceleration. We will acquire oscillators, subject them to accelerations, and quantify reactions to devise compensations. This will provide Wallops with an affordable solution to deploy TDRSS (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System) communications on their sounding rockets.

SPS Advisor: Dr. R.S. Wijesinghe
Project Advisor: Dr. Jim Lookadoo

Drake University

  Left to right: Mallory Knodel (SPS chapter co-president), Aaron Frazier, Dr. Athan Petridis (SPS advisor), Kavitha Pundi and Ben Krueger.

Assembly and Initial Operation of a Transmission Electron Microscope

Final Report

Members of the SPS chapter at Drake University will assemble and operate a Transmission Electron Microscope. The assembly process will provide direct laboratory experience for the students involved and the end result will be continuing educational and research opportunities for a multidisciplinary program involving undergraduate Physics and Biology majors at Drake.

Advisor: Dr. Athanasios Petridis

Rowan University

  Left to right: Keith McDonald, Bart Seider, Leo Wong, Dr. Michael Lim and Dr. Sam Lofland.

Construction of an Apparatus to Study Fast Atomic Recombination in Ultracold Plasmas

Final Report

Our group is building a new experiment to characterize the early behavior of ultracold neutral plasmas made by photo-ionizing laser-cooled atoms. Because the resulting plasma is so cold (down to ~1 K), it is possible that the average potential energy of a charge in the plasma may approach or exceed its average kinetic energy. A plasma with this inverted energy hierarchy is said to be “strongly-coupled”, an exotic condition that would depend on the plasma maintaining its initially low temperature. We hope to directly address recent theoretical studies that predict strong heating due to atomic recombination during the first 100 ns after the creation of the ultracold plasma. To this end, we are currently designing and building a magneto-optical trap, an electron beam system, and an amplified, pulsed dye laser.

Advisor: Dr. Sam Lofland

Florida Institute of Technology

  Left to right: Ian Foizen, Christina Pelzer (lower), Kristin White, Chris Malone, Albert Einstein (former advisor), Allie Manion, Katie Habermas, Doug Nickerson, and Robert Wilkos. Not pictured: Andrew Johnson, Brian Wright, Linnel Martinez, Rob Damadeo, and Stephanie Rafferty.

Electrochemical Deposition Experiment (EDEP)

Final Report

The Electrochemical Deposition Experiment (EDEP) is to fly aboard the KC-135 and investigate the limiting effects of gravity on fabrication of electrochemical deposited thin films for solar cells. Thin film solar cells theoretically show a conversion efficiency as high as 72%; however, laboratory efficiencies do not exceed 20%. We will study the deposition process of copper-indium-diselenide (CIS) in gravity and micro gravity environments to determine if the defects caused by gravity influence solar cell efficiency.

Advisor: Dr. Rong-Sheng Jin

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