Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography

Faculty Research

Erik and Maggie at JLabThe Primakoff Experiment at
Jefferson Lab (PrimEx)

Participants: A collaborative effort of professional physicists from more than twenty universities and research institutes here and abroad, including UNCW Physics Professor Liping Gan

Description: PrimEx is an experiment to perform a precise measurement of the neutral pion lifetime using the small angle coherent photoproduction of the pi-zero in the Coulomb field of a nucleus, i.e. the Primakoff effect. Precision measurement of the pi-zero radiative decay width is widely recognized as a key finding that bridges chiral symmetry breaking and our understanding of quantum chromodynamics. The results of this experiment will provide fundamental input to the theory of the strong interaction, which has profound significance for our understanding of nature and the structure of matter.

The QMTools Project

Director: Professor Curt Moyer

Description: QMTools is a software development project providing a collection of tools to facillitate the creation of multimedia-enhanced, computer-based classroom materials -worksheets, exercises, tutorials, etc.- for use in teaching introductory quantum physics. Each tool encapsulates a single pedagogical element that can be inserted [as a Java applet] into an HTML document to provide an interactive experience at any point in the presentation. The package is available to the academic community at no charge for non-commercial use. For more information, visit the QMTools home page.

Connectivity and Upwelling Dynamics In the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR)

Director: Professor John M. Morrison
Participants: A collaborative effort between University of North Carolina Wilmington, North Carolina State University, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center, Charles Darwin Research Station, Galápagos Islands, and Galápagos National Park Service, Ecuador

Description: One of the central challenges of environmental research is to develop an understanding of how the physical, chemical, geological, hydrological, and biological processes that comprise the Earth's natural systems are functionally interrelated. The effort being carried out here is focused on the natural and human-induced variability in the ocean, the responses of the ocean to that variability, and how these changes affect the biodiversity of the Galápagos. We are using remotely sensed data, integrated with in situ data collection and monitoring and modeling programs to characterize key oceanographic processes that have been shown to have a strong signature associated with climate change and their realized and potential effects on the Galápagos Archipelago. The focus is on how filaments from the Equatorial Undercurrent that propagate across the Galapagos platform vary in position and strength, on where they end up, and their impact on nutrient supply and potential larval transport through the system. In addition, the Galápagos provide an ideal "field laboratory" for assessing the effects of events of extreme climate variability associated with El Niño and La Niña. On shorter time-scales, the Galápagos acts as a natural experiment for measuring the effects of annual to interannual variability on flora and fauna.

Quantum Computation and Quantum Information

Participants: In part, this is a collaboration between Moorad Alexanian, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina and Subir K. Bose, Department of Physics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

Description: Quantum entanglement lies at the foundation of quantum mechanics as attested by Schr�dinger highlighting entanglement with his puzzling cat thought experiment and Einstein deriding it as "spooky action at a distance". Nonetheless, quantum entanglement has been verified experimentally and is essential for quantum information communication and processing protocols in quantum cryptography, dense coding, teleportation, and entanglement swapping, which can be used to realize quantum repeaters. Entanglement can be achieved via two interacting quantum systems or by an appropriate joint measurement of two systems. In the development of quantum algorithms and quantum information processing, one attempts to generate states that are maximally entangled in order to maximize the advantage of nonclassical correlations between parts of a given quantum system.

In the study of three-level atoms, a transformation was introduced by us whereby the three-level atom was reduced to a corresponding two-level atom of the Jaynes-Cummings type albeit with two-photon rather than single-photon transitions. This model has been used in cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED) to generate "macroscopic" qubits and in the scattering of two coherent photons inside a one-dimensional coupled-resonator waveguide that operates as an ideal quantum switch. More recently, I have applied the model to two-photon exchange between two separate cavities with each cavity containing a three-level atom in a cascade (or ladder) configuration and coupled via a two-photon hopping interaction. The latter work was restricted to the N = 2 manifold, where N denotes the maximum number of photons possible in a given cavity. I am extending my study to the dynamics of the N = 4 manifold and show how the temporal development of the coupled two-cavity system generates maximally entangled states in both the N = 2 and N = 4 manifolds from an initially unentangled state.

Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program (CORMP)

Director: Professor Marvin Moss
Participants: UNCW Physics Professor Fred Bingham; others from UNCW Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and more

Description: Initiated in 1998, this interdisciplinary program supports efforts by a large number of UNCW investigators and collaborators from other universities and agencies to study the physical, geological, chemical and biological properties of the coastal ocean in the Cape Fear region. Monitoring has focused on larval fish recruitment, discharge of materials from the Cape Fear River, effects of storm events on bottom sediments and organisms, physical and chemical signals of water movements at various scales, biology of marine vertebrate populations, and analysis of the effects of hurricanes on the coastal ocean. For more information, visit the CORMP home page.