NOTES FROM THE DEPARTMENT HEAD
Another year has passed and it's past time for me to write
my yearly column about the happenings in the
Department of Physics.
This has been a year for which Dickens' opening lines
are very appropriate: "It was the best of times, it was the
worst of times . . . " We hired an excellent young Assistant
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory,
Donna Naples. Gary Wysin was promoted to Associate Professor and
granted tenure. Our sponsored research support in fiscal 1995
was $4.299 million, as reported by the Office of Research and
Sponsored Programs. The
American Association of Physics Teachers
awarded Dean Zollman the Millikan Medal. But Associate Professor
John Giese died in July, 1995. A short article about John
in the newsletter.
Like many other people, we continue to watch the ways in
which the new Congress has been asserting itself. As I write
this, we're into our second government shutdown and it's not
clear how everything is going to play out. Everyone asks if the
changes are going to severely affect our research funding. I
knock on wood and say that we have seen some effects, but so far
they are not catastrophic. At the same time, our Kansas
legislature also had a large turnover last year and it appears
that we may experience real problems with the state funding for
the university and for the department. We're presently under a
hiring freeze and we will have to defer one faculty search this
year at least to next year, it appears.
In the meantime we've installed in Cardwell what our Vice
Provost for Research likes to call the only supercomputer in
Kansas, a Convex Exemplar parallel processing computer. It has
sixteen processors at present and will expand to thirty-two
processors next summer. Those of you unfamiliar with these
newest computers can find a description in the January, 1996,
issue of BYTE. This computer purchase was granted by
to an interdisciplinary computational group whose principal
investigator is Talat Rahman.
In July, 1964 (just a few years before my time), A. B.
Cardwell hired a young Adolph (Ed) Holub as an Accountant I for
the department. On December 15, 1995, Ed retired as Accountant
II. As many of you know Ed was very important to the smooth
operations of the department, and I definitely had mixed emotions
as we gathered for his retirement party. I remember that I
really had to work hard to get Ed converted to using a computer
in his job; Ed liked the way he'd been doing things for over
twenty years. But he did recognize that he needed the speed of
the computer to keep up with the department's expanding budgets,
and it became indispensable in the last few years. I took great
delight in presenting Ed with his retirement gift from his fellow
workers -- a full-featured multimedia computer. What a change a
few years make! I'm sure there are many readers of this
newletter who join me in wishing Ed the best possible retirement.
JOHN P. GIESE
John P. Giese,
Associate Professor of Physics at Kansas
State University, died on July 23, 1995, of respiratory failure
John was born Sept. 14, 1959, in
Leavenworth, Kansas. He earned his B.S. degree from KSU in 1982
(Magna cum Laude, Honors Program) and earned his Ph.D. from KSU
in 1986. He spent one year as a visiting research scientist at the
University of Aarhus
and one year as an ORAU postdoctoral
before returning to join the KSU faculty in
1989 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate
Professor in 1993.
John's early research at KSU was on electron capture from
inner shells and from atomic hydrogen by highly charged ions. At
Aarhus he and Erik Horsdal Pederson worked on angular
distributions of hydrogen atoms formed from fast-proton
bombardment of helium. They reported a peak in the ratio of
double to single target ionization that helped to stimulate
recent attempts to factor simple collisions into underlying
two-body Coulomb mechanisms. He continued along similar lines at
Oak Ridge with investigations of two electron excitations in
helium by highly charged ions.
He developed an interest in
and established a close collaboration with Erhard Salzborn and Frank
Melchert at the
at Giessen, Germany.
Building on this collaboration, he originated at KSU a project to
study collisions of highly charged ions with highly charged ions.
John was responsible for the building up of the only facility in
the United States for the study of such collisions. This
facility was just reaching completion at the time of his death.
In addition to his many research contributions in ion-atom collisions,
he took great interest in undergraduate teaching. He
helped to develop new curricula and new courses in physics and
gave much of his time to talk to and encourage young physics
students. He spent his entire adult life with the full awareness
that he had less time to spend on earth than most have, and he
was always in a hurry to get on with life so as to miss as little
John Giese memorial scholarship
fund has been set up, and
we expect to award the first scholarship this spring. Recipients
will be outstanding students, active in the physics club and
departmental research. In this way, we can honor some qualities
that made John such a special person.
NEWS FROM THE MACDONALD LABORATORY
The good news from the Macdonald Laboratory for this year is tempered by the loss of
Professor John Giese. He was a friend to everybody and the driving force
ion-ion collision facility. He was directing two graduate students,
Chun-Yen Chen and Allen Landers. In addition, Frank Melchert from the
University of Giessen,
who was on a one-year Humboldt Fellowship, worked with John on the construction and
the installation of the ion-ion facility.
In spite of hard times for government funding of research, the Lab continues to fare
well. We are operating on the first year of a three-year
Department Of Energy grant.
The first year funding level is $1.8M. We also received a $621K from DOE from the
Accelerator and Reactor Improvement and Modification fund. This money allowed us to
relocate the He compressor for our LHe production plant to a new building located off
of the accelerator roof, in order to reduce the noise and vibration in the Lab, and to
perform upgrades to the Tandem, LINAC,
and CRYEBIS. We have submitted a second request
for ARIM funds for FY-96.
The personnel associated with the laboratory are 12 faculty,
4 research associates, 14 graduate students, 6 undergraduate students, and 10 staff members.
The number of visitors, users, and collaborators during the last two years has been
visibly up. We have had Prof. Eduardo Montenegro, Pontificia Universidade Catholica
Do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Prof. S. L. Varghese, University of South Alabama; Dr.
Reinhard Dörner, Feodor Lynen Fellow, and Dr. Joachim Ullrich, G.S.I., Germany;
Dr. Hiro Tawara, National Institute for Fusion, Japan; Dr. Mititaka Terasawa, Himeji
University, Japan; Prof. Burkhard Fricke and Dr. Peter Kürpick, University of Kassel,
Germany; Prof. Jean Pierre Briand, University of Paris, France; Prof. Steve Lundeen
and Dr. Charles Fahrenbach, Colorado State University; Dr. Yohko Awaya, Dr. Tadashi
Kambara, and Dr. Yasuyuki Kanai, RIKEN, Tokyo, Japan; and Prof. Eugene Rudd and Dr.
George Kerby, University of Nebraska.
Other recent news of note:
- Tracy Tipping, Lab Safety Officer,
has been elected Director of the Accelerator Section of the National Health Physics Society for a
- Chunlie Liao, a graduate student of Prof. Siegbert Hagmann, accepted a position at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California;
- Lokesh Tribedi, Research Associate, received an award for the outstanding Ph.D.
Thesis in Physics in India.
- Baby Huey, our dear old 3 MV single-ended Van de Graaff
accelerator, all 6,200 pounds, found a new home at
Western Illinois University.
Prof. Vickie Frohne (Ph.D. KSU 1994 with Prof. Lew Cocke) will oversee its
installation and operation at Western Illinois University.
- Drs. Peter Kürpick
and his wife, Ulrike, both received fellowships from Germany to work two years
at K-State. Peter is working with Prof. Uwe Thumm and Ulrike is working with Prof.
Talat Rahman in condensed matter theory.
- For the fourth consecutive summer, we have hosted graduate students from the
University of Dresden,
Germany. Enrico Langer is spending three months of research
training with Dr. Martin Stöckli on the CRYEBIS in the JRM Lab.
- Also for the fourth consecutive year, the Macdonald Lab hosted undergraduate students
from around the U. S. in the NSF REU summer trainee
program. Prof. Larry Weaver was in charge of the program, doing an outstanding job lecturing
these students and quizzing them during oral reports on their research projects.
Director, Macdonald Lab
One of the major academic perks these days is the opportunity
of taking a sabbatical leave. In this one year period you are
supposed to do new things and come back with fresh ideas. In the
past six months I did run my first 10K in Bolder
and had my first ski lesson in
thus fulfilling the
requirement of doing something new. As for the fresh idea, it is
still to germinate. But in the past six months, the atomic,
molecular and optical (AMO) physics community did have a big
breakthrough in achieving Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC), a
subject that we first learned in statistical mechanics. What is
amazing is that BEC is possible even for the ideal gas. While BEC
can be said to have been seen in superfluid helium and in
superconductors, the interparticle interactions in these systems
are quite complicated. What the AMO physicists have achieved is
quite close to an ideal gas and it may open up the possibility of
understanding BEC theoretically.
The race for BEC started in the early 80's with the major
effort on spin
polarized atomic hydrogen. This system was chosen because two
spin polarized hydrogen atoms cannot form a molecule. The
practitioners can reach
temperature of a few hundred degree micro-Kelvins, but that is
a factor of three too hot for the expected BEC to occur. Besides,
the major problems is how to FIND them even if the condensate is
Laser cooling is a technique which has progressed greatly in
decade. Using a few beams of lasers the cooled atoms, usually the
atoms, can be placed in a magnetic optical trap. Well, people in
the game can reach very low temperature, but the number of atoms
in the trap, or the density, was not high enough. For BEC to
occur, the de Broglie wavelength should be comparable to the
This summer the group of Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at
reported the first BEC for Rb-87. They achieved this by
reaching a temperature of a few hundred nano-degree Kelvin by
combining with evaporative cooling. The latter basically is to
let the hotter atoms in the trap leave and thus to lower the
method used originally for the spin polarized hydrogen. They
observe the formation of the condensate by turning off the laser
and let the gas in the trap expand and then measure the velocity
profile. The atoms in the condensate all in one state and
expand with zero initial velocity, in comparison with atoms in
the regular phase which have nonzero thermal velocity
distribution. The velocity profile at different temperature
clearly signals the onset of BEC.
Following the JILA's report in July,
at Rice University
reported BEC in Li-7 in August, and
at MIT reported BEC
in Na in November. Stay tuned, every laser cooling laboratory is
in the game.
What can one do with the BEC condensate? It is a new state
It is a coherent state of atoms. Who knows? The art of achieving
BEC still has to be improved. At JILA the condensate has about
2000 atoms, while at MIT the number now is about 100 thousands.
One can think many properties of superfluid helium can be
explored in these condensates. But the challenge is to find new
possibilities. For sure better theoretical understanding for BEC
will emerge. Maybe nothing useful will come out, but the
technique of achieving nanodegree Kelvins temperature probably
will become "routine" and many high precision experiments can be
I probably can follow this story closer if my students and
do not keep sending me papers to read. The internet is great for
you to reach someone, but it is also hard for you to get away.
Jim, can this be counted as half a sabbatical then?
University Distinguished Professor of Physics
CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS GROUP
The Condensed Matter Group has been very busy with a wide
variety of activities highlighted by the hosting of the Midwest
Solid State Theory Conference which was held at Cardwell Hall in
(see related article).
This conference was a great
success and brought scientists from around the country to "sweet
home Kansas". Conference chair Talat Rahman and co-chairs Amit
Chakrabarti and Gary Wysin worked hard running the show and are
to be congratulated on a job well done.
Other group news includes two more years of
funding for Materials Science Research. This project involves the
Department of Chemistry
as well and brings a total of $1.7
million over a five year period. A campus-wide group of
(see related article) led by Rahman with
Chakrabarti and Wysin obtained NSF funding for a new, state-of-
the-art computer system for their theoretical machinations.
Finally the "microscopic" experimentalist are happy with their
(actually used - "hey buddy wanna buy a watch") new
CM12 electron microscope which will allow them to get an enlarged view
of Nature at 750,000 X.
I am also pleased to report that Condensed Matter continues
to thrive in the Physics Department at KSU with eleven extramural
grants totalling over $1.8 million.
Professor of Physics
Bruce Law gave an invited lecture on the "kinetics of
wetting layer formation" at the 1995
on the Chemistry and Physics of Liquids, at Holderness, New Hampshire.
He also received an NSF grant to study "Interfacial
Phenomena at the Surfaces of Critical Ionic Mixtures". Critical
Ionic mixtures exhibit unusual mean field behavior in the bulk
which is not understood theoretically. The surface behavior of
these mixtures has never been studied before.
Hyuk Pak and Bruce Law recently developed a new surface
microscope which can measure the thickness of films on surfaces
with monolayer thickness resolution and micron spatial
resolution. They have applied for a patent for this device.
Mick O'Shea attended the 2nd International Symposium on
Metallic Multilayers during September in Cambridge, England and
presented a paper on magnetism in rare-earth multilayers and
nanoscale particles. Prabhath Perera, a graduate student of
O'Shea's earned his Ph.D. degree on "Magnetism In Very Thin
The semiconductor research group at KSU Physics led by
professors Jingyu Lin and Hongxing Jiang has further expanded the
capabilities of their laser facility. Currently, the laser
system has a tunability in the spectral region between 280-620 nm
(from red to UV), repetition rate from single shot to 76 MHz,
average UV power up to
1W, and time resolution down to 7 ps. This pulsed picosecond
laser system has the highest average UV power in the world for
semiconductor research. Today's KSU semiconductor group is one
of the few groups in the world who can carry out research on the
dynamics of fundamental optical transitions in almost all types
of semiconductors. This unique facility has been recognized by
many semiconductor research groups across the nation, which has
resulted in active collaborative research programs with other
universities, government laboratories, and industries.
This group has also established active collaborative
research programs with a few of the nation's top crystal growers
of today's hottest semiconductor materials, the group III-nitride
wide band gap semiconductors (GaN, InGaN, A1GaN). These include
APA Optics, Inc. and
Honeywell Technology Center.
Optoelectronic devices based on III-nitride including light emitting diodes
(LEDs) and laser diodes, which are active in the UV/blue region,
have many applications, for example, in display, lighting,
indicator lights, traffic signs and traffic signals. The UV/blue
laser diodes are crucial for high density optical read and write
technologies. Electronic devices based on III-nitrides are
capable of operating at high temperature and high power
conditions. In the past 12 months, these joint efforts on III-
nitrides have resulted in 7 publications in
Applied Physics Letters
and an invited paper at the Fall Meeting of the
Materials Research Society.
Additionally, these collaborative efforts have
also provided some support to graduate students from industries
and at the same time an opportunity for the group to work with
industrial researchers and to identify critical practical
problems so that our graduate students will be better prepared
for the outside world.
From June until August Talat Rahman worked in the Material
Science Division at
under the Faculty Participation
program. Dr. Kara also accompanied her as a Research Associate.
They continued their work on finite temperature studies of
Chris Sorensen continues to do particle physics: soot
particles, their optics, morphology and formation mechanisms; and
very small magnetic particles. His work is supported by NSF and
His most recent student, Jiangping Chen, defended her
Ph.,D. thesis in July and is now a post-doc at the
University of Alabama
doing magnetics research.
Dr. Gary Wysin
received a new grant from the
National Science Foundation International Programs, titled ``U.S.
-- Brazil Collaboration:
Excitations in Two-Dimensional Magnets.'' The travel grant for
will support visits for Dr. Wysin and a student to Brazil during
the next three years. They will collaborate with Beth GouvÍa and
Antonio Pires at
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on problems related to vortices and solutions
in magnets. In addition, the Brazilian funding agency
will pay for visits of the Brazilian colleagues to KSU.
During May and June Gary Wysin hosted magnetism experts
and Alexei Kolezhuk from
to work on studies of the internal
dynamics of magnetic vortices. They combined numerical
calculations with an analytical normal mode analysis of the way
in which the spin degrees of freedom in a magnetic vortex
vibrate. A new mode localized on vortices in antiferromagnets
was found. Professor Ivanov's visit was funded by a COBASE
(Collaboration in Basic Science and Engineering) grant from the
National Research Council.
Other colleagues visiting KSU and working on related
topics during the summer included Armin Volkel from the
University of Toronto
and Beth GouvÍa from the Universidade
Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horinte, Brazil.
HIGH END COMPUTATIONAL AND VISUALIZATION FACILITY
A high-end computing and scientific visualization facility,
funded by the National Science Foundation with matching funds
from KSU has been in operation since September 1995. It is
housed in Cardwell Hall. The PI's for this project are Talat
Rahman, Physics and Rodney Fox and Ken Shultis from
The facility has already become the computational workhorse for
five faculty members in Physics and
interests range from Modeling of Novel Materials, Atomic and
Molecular Science to Fluid Dynamics.
At the heart of the facility is a state-of-the-art Symmetric
Multi-processor consisting of thirty two processors of the
Convex Exemplar SPP1000/1200
series. This is a 'shared-memory' system
and is designed to perform fast mathematical operations using
either the serial or the parallel architecture. This will serve
as the server for large scale
simulations and parallel algorithm development. The system can
be upgraded to a maximum of 128 processors to accommodate future
research and research training initiatives. Clusters of high-end
workstations capable of performing high quality
graphics and visualization have also been added.
COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS GETTING BOOSTED
Many members of the KSU physics faculty make their livings
computers to perform calculations and analyze the resulting data.
the past year we got more great advancements. The groups of
C.D. Lin, Rahman and Wysin have added a total of five new
Sparc-20 workstations to the net. These machines have two CPUs,
each of which is about 3 to 4 times faster than the older Sparc-2
23RD MIDWEST SOLID STATE THEORY CONFERENCE HELD AT KSU
In October 1995 the Department hosted the annual Midwest
Theory Symposium, attended by researchers from the region,
elsewhere in the U.S. and also Europe. Highlights were sessions
on high-temperature superconductors, with Jack Dow of Arizona
State, R. Klemm of Argonne, Tony Leggett of Illinois, and George
Levin from Kent State, recent developments in large scale
computational methods, with Lubos Mitas of NCSA, Richard Martin
of Illinois, Norm Troullier of Minnesota, Kai Ming Ho of Iowa
State, Bjork Hammer of CAMP, Denmark and a session on Statistical
Mechanics of Condensed Phases with Elizabeth Behram of Wichita
STate, Vladimir Antropov of Ames Laboratory, Aniket Bhattacharya
of Michigan State and Paul Parris of Missouri Rolla. Michael
Wortis of Simon Fraser was the keynote speaker. The Symposium
was organized by Talat Rahman with the help of Amit Chakrabarti
and Gary Wysin, and was funded by The Department of Physics, The
College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School. Next
year's Symposium will be held at University of Illinois.