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Research in Physics

Drexel's Department of Physics is recognized as a worldwide leader in physics research, providing students with opportunities across the fields of astrophysics and cosmology, biophysics, condensed matter, nonlinear dynamics and particle physics. Our faculty and researchers are active members of several international collaborations including the Sloan Digital Survey, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile, and Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica.

Research Areas

Research Facilities


  • The Numerical Astrophysics Facility emphasizes theoretical and numerical studies of stars, star clusters, the early universe, galaxy distributions, cosmology modeling, and gravitational lensing. The facility employs special purpose high-performance computers, such as the Gravity Pipeline Engine (GRAPE), a new Beowulf cluster (128 processors, 128G RAM, 2 TB RAID disk), and a system using Graphics Processing Units to achieve computational speeds of up to a trillion floating point operations per second.
  • The Joseph R. Lynch Observatory houses a 16-inch Mead Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope equipped with SBIG CCD camera.
  • Drexel faculty and students actively analyze data from the Sloan Digital Survey, which operates a 2.5-m telescope at Apache Point, New Mexico, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to be built in Chile (2020).


  • Biomanipulation and Microscopy Laboratories: Four optical tables and six research grade microscopes are configured to perform microscopic spectroscopy and manipulation on solutions and individual cells. A spatial light modulator allows spatial patterns to be encoded on samples and explored; all microscopes are temperature-controlled with state-of-the-art cameras, including a 2,000 frame-per-second high-speed system. Each optical table is also equipped with high power lasers for photolysis or fluorescence spectroscopy.
  • Microfluidic attachments are available for use, and a small microfluidic fabrication facility has also been established.
  • The fluorescence microscope resolves fast biomolecular dynamics in living cells.
  • The Computational Biophysics Facility also includes two Beowulf clusters (44-node dual-core Xeon, 43-node dual quad-core Xeon [344 cores]), 24 TB RAID disk server, and 10 Linux workstations connected through a gigabit network.

Condensed Matter

  • Ultra-Low Temperature Laboratory has a dilution refrigerator, 3He and 4He cryostats and microwave sources to study quantum phenomena in nano- and microscale devices, superconducting qubits, nanostructures, and quantum fluids and solids.
  • The Energy Materials Research Laboratory includes a Variable Temperature UHV Scanning Probe Microscope installed in an STC-50 rated acoustic chamber.
  • The Magnetic Material Laboratory conducts research on amorphous magnetic thin films and fiber optical sensors.
  • The Surface Science Laboratory has a scanning probe microscopy to study surface structure interfaces at the atomic level.

Particle Physics

  • The Detector Development Laboratory provides experimental support for an international research program in nonaccelerator particle and nuclear physics performing tests of invariance principles and conservation laws, searches for rare interactions, and neutrino properties.
  • Laboratory for High-Performance Computational Physics: This computer laboratory has 15 powerful workstations — each with Intel Core i5 3570 running at 3.4 Ghz, 16 Gb RAM, and an nVidia GTX 650 graphics card. They are running Ubuntu 13.04 operating system. Each workstation has a 24-inch screen monitor. These world-class workstations are connected to our main file server via the highest quality gigabyte network connectors.

For more information, please contact:
Michael Vogeley, PhD
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Physics

Laura D'Angelo
Research Coordinator