We are always looking for excellent students to join our research efforts. If you are interested in applying to WVU for graduate school, please go to the Department's application page. If you are a current student (undergraduate or graduate), please peruse this website and then contact Prof. Flagg for more information.
Physics research is a very different experience compared to a physics course. While you have support from your adviser and other students, the structured environment of a course is completely absent. That means your rate of progress depends strongly on your own internal motivation.
Experimental physics is where the clean answers of pen-and-paper calculations meet the messy reality of the natural world. Gone are the frictionless surfaces and other simplifying assumptions you may be used to. Instead, clever design and determined engineering of real experiments are necessary to elicit physical truths from the universe.
Ask any experimentalist and you will find that physics is at least 80% engineering. An attitude of "I can fix this", the courage to take something apart and put it back together again, and a keen physical intuition about how things work are all essential for success. These qualities are not exclusive to physics majors, and so they are not the only ones who can contribute to this research. If you are a student of engineering or another physical science and you find the research described here interesting, please consider joining.
If you are interested, it is never too early in your graduate career to join a research group. Our group holds a weekly journal club where we critically examine a selected article from a scientific journal. It is an excellent way to deepen one's knowledge about the field and learn about the larger context surrounding our research. Attending journal club is something you can do even in your first semester as you are taking classes and teaching labs. Contact Prof. Flagg if you would like to attend and receive a copy of this week's article.
In addition to the weekly article for journal club, you should read the review articles listed on this website. A good place to start would be those about quantum dots
in general. Review articles give more background and assume that readers have less specialized knowledge, which makes them suitable for introducing yourself to a new topic. Visit the page on meta-skills for graduate students
to see some advice about how to read a scientific paper.
Useful skills (but not a deal-breaker if you don't have them):
Programming (Matlab, LabView, Python, Mathematica, C/C++, etc.)
Basic circuit design and analysis; soldering
Computer assisted design (CAD); A good CAD program - Autodesk Inventor
- is free for WVU students.
Machining experience (milling machine, lathe, etc.) or other "shop" experience.
Students working with us during the academic terms should expect to commit at least 10 hours a week to research work. Successful students can also work with us during the summer break, during which time they can participate more intensely in research. If you will begin your freshman year soon, please see the Research Apprenticeship Program, which allows students with limited or no research experience to use federal work-study funds or gain course credit for undergraduate research apprenticeships with WVU research faculty.