Last updated: August 1, 2014 @ 03:27PM

S. Ejaz Ahmed

Faculty of Mathematics and Science

Alan Castle

Faculty of Mathematics and Science

Stephen Anco (Mathematics), Shyamal K. Bose (Physics), Douglas H. Bruce (Biological Sciences), David A. Crandles (Physics), Bozidar Mitrovic (Physics), Fereidoon S. Razavi (Physics), Maureen Reedyk (Physics), Kirill Samokhin (Physics), Art van der Est (Chemistry), Jan Vrbik (Mathematics), Thomas Wolf (Mathematics)

Henryk Fuks (Mathematics), Thad A. Harroun (Physics), Alexander Odesskii (Mathematics), Edward Sternin (Physics)

Santo D'Agostino

John Katsaras (NRC, Chalk River), Reinhard Kremer (Max-Planck Institute, Germany), Gerald Moran (McMaster University), Ole Steuernagel (University of Hertfordshire, UK)

John E. Black (Physics), Stuart M. Rothstein (Chemistry), Ramesh C. Shukla (Physics)

Frank A. Benko

Fulvio (Phil) Boseglav

Fereidoon S. Razavi

Elizabeth Horvath

Beulah Alexander

The Department of Physics offers thesis-based MSc and PhD programs which focus on condensed matter physics, materials science, theoretical physics, and biophysics. Potential fields of research which may be pursued are described below. Students will gain extensive experience in research, critical thinking and essential communication and technical skills, which will prepare them for successful careers in industry, academic and other institutions and organizations. Hands-on use of our sophisticated equipment provides excellent job training and gives our graduates a significant advantage in the job market over those students who have only an undergraduate degree.

Successful completion of four year Bachelor's degree, or equivalent, in Physics with a minimum B (75%) average. Applicants holding a degree without sufficient concentration in the area of the intended Master's degree, may be required to complete additional courses beyond those outlined as required for degree completion. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is recommended for international students, but not required. Agreement from a faculty advisor to supervise the student is also required for admission to the program.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of suitable candidates.

Part-time candidates may be considered.

Students can be admitted into the PhD program through one of the following three options: (1) after successful completion of a MSc degree or equivalent in Physics or closely related discipline, with at least an 80% overall average; or (2) after one year in the Brock Physics MSc program. Students wishing to transfer to PhD Studies will be expected to have completed all master's coursework, with at least an 80% average. In addition, the student must submit a report on the progress made on the MSc thesis research, including a literature review and a PhD proposal, prior to the transfer. The transfer requires approval by the supervisory committee. (3) In exceptional cases, a student may be admitted directly to the PhD program with a four-years honours Bachelor's degree, or the equivalent; his or her academic standing (normally, with at least an 85% major average) and research potential must demonstrably commensurate with readiness for doctoral study. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is recommended for international students, but not required. Agreement from a faculty adviser to supervise the student is also required for admission to the program.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of suitable candidates.

Only full-time PhD students will be admitted.

All students must complete a research project that culminates in writing and defending a thesis.

The program must include PHYS 5F90 and four PHYS half-credits at 5(alpha)00 level or above. Only one half-credit may be at the 4(alpha)00 level. Additional credits may be required where a candidate is deficient in a particular area of study as determined by the supervisory committee.

For full-time students, the program is normally a six term or two year program.

For full-time students entering the PhD program through option 1 or 3, the program is normally a 12 term or four year program. For full-time students entering the PhD program as a transfer student from the MSc, the program is normally a 15 term or five year program inclusive of the time spent in the MSc.

All students must complete a research project that culminates in writing and defending a thesis. There will be an oral defence of the thesis. PhD students must enrol in the thesis course PHYS 7F90 each term.

Students admitted through option 1 (with a completed MSc) and option 2 (transfering following completion of one year in the Brock MSc Physics program) must complete a total of 3.0 credits: two PHYS half-credit courses at the 5(alpha)00 level or higher, PHYS 5P91, PHYS 7P91, PHYS 7F90 and PHYS 5N01.

Students admitted through option 3 (direct entry from a BSc) must complete a total of 4.0 credits: four PHYS half-credit courses at the 5(alpha)00 level or higher (which must include Advanced Quantum Mechanics, Advanced Statistical Physics and Advanced Electrodynamics), PHYS 5P91, PHYS 7P91, PHYS 7F90 and PHYS 5N01.

Depending on their background and progress in the program, students may be required by the supervisory committee to take additional credits.

Students must also successfully complete a comprehensive examination, which takes place within the first 24 months of the PhD program. Students must complete all of their course requirements (except the graduate seminar and the writing course) before the comprehensive examination. Prior to the exam, the student must submit a written proposal of research. The examination committee consists of the Chair, two members of the supervisory committee, and the student's supervisor, and two additional Physics graduate faculty members. The examination consists of an oral presentation by the student about his/her research, followed by questions from the examination committee. The supervisor will not directly participate in the examination, but may provide confidential feedback on the student. If failed, the student must repeat the examination within four months. A student who fails twice will be withdrawn from the program.

The department's main research emphasis is on condensed matter physics. The following research fields are currently represented, and are described in detail on our website at: http://www.physics.brocku.ca/Programs/

Superconductivity: unconventional pairing, novel materials (high-Tc, magnetic, etc.), localization and superconductivity, superconducting glassy state. Transport in metals: transport properties of heavy fermion systems. Non-crystalline materials: calculation of electronic structure and transport properties of amorphous and liquid metals, quasicrystals, alloys and semiconductors, vibrational and magnetic properties of amorphous solids. Linear response calculations of electron-phonon interaction and superconductivity in solids. Quantum Monte Carlo studies of physical properties of isolated atoms and molecules. Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics studies of biological molecules. Dynamic systems. Mathematical physics.

Investigation of the optical properties of materials with phase transitions (e.g., ferromagnets, superconductors, heavy fermion, spin- and charge-density wave compounds) via optical spectroscopy from mm wave to uv. Preparation and characterization of ceramic, single crystal and thin film (using pulsed-laser deposition) high Tc superconductors, CMR materials (manganites) and amorphous alloys. Magnetic and transport properties at ambient and high pressure utilizing measurement techniques such as SQUID magnetometry, specific heat and dc-resistivity.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and relaxation measurements in soft condensed matter systems. Study of collective motions in model membranes, phase transitions in liquid crystals. Exploration of various morphologies and phase behaviour of lipid/water systems using scattering techniques (e.g. Neutrons, x-ray and light). Study of the protein/membrane interactions; structural characteristics of membrane active peptides. Biophysics of photosynthetic energy conversion using a combination of specialized optical spectroscopic techniques and theoretical models for excitation energy transfer and electron transport. Time resolved Electron Spin Resonance spectroscopy and light-induced spin polarization in photosynthetic membrane proteins and donor acceptor molecular complexes. Investigation of energy and electron transfer and spin dynamics in these systems.

Experimental research facilities are supported by electronics, glassblowing and machine shop services. The University provides extensive computing facilities using UNIX servers and high-performance clusters.

Students must check to ensure that prerequisites are met. Students may be deregistered, at the request of the instructor, from any course for which prerequisites and/or restrictions have not been met.

PHYS 5F90

An original research project involving the preparation and defence of a thesis which will demonstrate a capacity for independent work. The research shall be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member and the thesis defended at an oral examination.

PHYS 5N01

The organizational and stylistic skills of writing and referencing a scientific document. Examples from the various literature forms such as primary journals, reviews, reports, and theses, as well as presentations and seminars. Database use and reference citation, and use of figures and graphs to illustrate data.

Note: This course is taught by instructors from Brock Student Development Centre.

PHYS 5P00

(also offered as CHEM 5P00)

Self-consistent-field (SCF) method: configuration interaction; basis functions; electron correlation; physical properties of atoms, diatomic and polyatomic molecules.

PHYS 5P02

The structure of biological membranes, including their fluctuations, dynamics, and interactions. Lipids, their variety and purpose, especially for biotechnology. Membrane proteins, including introduction to ion channels and simple models of excitable membranes. Biophysical experimental methods for the study of membranes.

PHYS 5P30

Electromagnetic wave propagation in vacuum, dielectrics, conductors, and ionized gases; wave guide and transmission line propagation; dipole and quadrupole radiation fields; relativistic transformation of the electromagnetic fields; radiation by moving charges.

PHYS 5P41

Statistical ensembles; mean field and Landau theory, critical phenomena, and the renormalization group; quantum fluids; superfluidity; selected topics on disordered systems.

PHYS 5P50

Angular momentum, rotations, and scalar and vector operators, selection rules; Pauli principle and periodic table; nuclear shell model; degenerate perturbation theory; electron in magnetic field, Landau levels; time evolution in quantum mechanics, time-dependent perturbation theory; elastic scattering.

PHYS 5P51

Propagators and Green's functions; path integral formalism; functional integrals and derivatives; systems of identical particles and second quantization; relativistic quantum mechanics.

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 5P50

PHYS 5P64

(also offered as MATH 5P64)

Calculus of variations, least action principle in physics, symmetries and conservation laws, main differential-geometric structures (differential form, vector field, Riemannian metric). Applications to physics: electro-magnetic field as a one-form, gravity as a pseudo-Riemannian metric. Introduction to mathematical ideas of quantum mechanics.

PHYS 5P65

Gravitation as a spacetime field theory. The spacetime metric, covariant derivative, and curvature; light cones and causality. Isolated systems and mass, energy-momentum, angular momentum. Einstein's field equation of gravitation. Black hole solutions (Schwarzschild and Kerr metrics), cosmological solutions (Robertson-Walker metric), and their physical properties.

PHYS 5P67

(also offered as BIOL 5P67, BTEC 5P67 and CHEM 5P67)

An advanced seminar/lecture course on experimental techniques in biophysics. The focus is on understanding the theory, applications and limitations of a variety of techniques students will encounter during their graduate studies. Techniques will range from advanced spectroscopy (absorption, fluorescence, NMR, X-ray diffraction) to molecular biochemistry spectroscopy.

PHYS 5P70

Energy bands in metals, semiconductors, and insulators; lattice dynamics; electrical, magnetic, thermal, optical, and transport properties of solids.

PHYS 5P71

Long-range order in condensed matter systems: charge and spin density waves, etc; strongly-correlated electron systems; quantum Hall effect; metal-insulator transitions; other topics to be selected by the instructor.

PHYS 5P72

Green's functions at zero and finite temperature; perturbation theory and Feynman diagrams; linear response theory; electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions; electrons in disordered systems; Fermi liquid theory; introduction to BCS theory of superconductivity.

PHYS 5P73

Overview of basic experimental facts; London theory; BCS theory; symmetry of the order parameter; Ginzburg-Landau theory and magnetic properties of superconductors; quasiparticle excitations in superconductors: thermal and transport properties; macroscopic phase coherence phenomena.

PHYS 5P74

Fundamental and device applications of magnetism will be explored. Magnetic materials and magnetic measurements; domains, domain walls, domain processes, magnetization curves, and hysteresis; soft and hard magnetic materials and applications; magnetic recording; new developments and recent progress: magnetic multilayer structures, granular magnetic thin films, and giant magnetoresistance.

PHYS 5P75

Measurement techniques; reflectivity, the dielectric function and the optical conductivity; Lorentz-Drude oscillator model; Kramers-Kronig transformations and sum rules; properties of metals, insulators, and superconductors.

PHYS 5P76

Density matrix formulation of NMR theory; spectroscopy of simple spin systems and spin-dependent interactions; relaxation theory; spin temperature; dipolar broadening in solids; NMR of soft condensed matter systems; practical aspects of high-fidelity solid-state NMR; NMR spectrometer design; NMR imaging and microscopy.

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 5P50

PHYS 5P77

Field-theoretical methods in superconductivity. Gor'kov equations; strong-coupling theory; tunnelling; unconventional superconducting materials: high-temperature.superconductors, heavy fermion, magnetic, and organic superconductors.

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 5P73

PHYS 5P78

Density Functional and related theories; survey of (semi)empirical and first-principles electronic structure methods; electronic structure of liquid metals, metallic glasses, random alloys, and quasicrystals; effective medium theories, coherent potential, and other approximations; recursion and other real-space methods.

PHYS 5P79

Survey of experimental methods commonly used in condensed matter physics: optical and NMR spectroscopy, SQUID magnetometry, neutron and X-ray scattering, low-temperature and high-pressure technology. The techniques presented will vary. Designing experiments with advanced equipment and critical analysis of the results on both statistical and methodological grounds.

PHYS 5P91

Independent study and presentation of major research papers in the area of specialization. Each student is required to attend and participate in all seminars given by students registered in the course. Students are also required to attend at least 80% of the Departmental seminars.

PHYS 7F90

An original research project involving the preparation and defence of a thesis which will demonstrate a capacity for independent work. The research shall be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member and the thesis defended at an oral examination.

PHYS 7P91

Independent study and presentation of major research papers in the area of specialization. Each student is required to attend and participate in all seminars given by students registered in the course. Students are also required to attend at least 80% of the Departmental seminars.