Undergraduate Research Opportunities

At many universities, research opportunities can be limited for undergraduate students. But at UNM, faculty and administrators place a significant emphasis on making research accessible for undergrads. Many times, these hands-on projects can really make the difference in stimulating love for a particular subject.

Generally, you should at least complete Physics 330 before starting research, although there are exceptions. In the field of physics, there is much background work required to prepare you for research, and you get this via your freshman and sophomore physics and math courses. A good time to start searching for a research advisor is in the spring of sophomore year.

Research opportunities can also be found with scientists with physics backgrounds working outside the Physics Department, for example at Los Alamos National Laboratories, Sandia National Laboratories, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and the Air Force Research Laboratory. Ask your faculty advisor about Undergraduate Research. They can help identify people doing research in the field of your interest.

To get an idea of some of the research projects that our undergraduate students have done at PandA, you can browse our list of Senior Theses. Many other research projects are going on, and several of our students have been awarded research grants from the Rayburn Reaching Up Fund, see the table below.

Recent and Ongoing Undergraduate Research Projects

StudentProject TitleProfessorDateAward Received
Michael Bess

Atmospheric Composition of 55 Cancri e 

Andrew GibsonResearch on the Migdal ProjectLoomba2022 
Stephanie HansenMeasuring Line-of-Sight Velocities to Evolved Stars in the Milky Way Disk and Bulge RegionPihlström2022 
Jordan HernandezDevelopment of Silicon Tracking Detectors for Particle Tracking ExperimentsSeidel2022 
Simon MatinCharacterizing the Increasing Impact of Radio Frequency Interference on Cosmic Microwave Background Surveys Barron2022 
Jesus AguilarCompact Symmetric Objects and the Evolution of Active GalaxiesTaylor2021 
Graham ByrdImproving the Signal Strength of Axially Swept Lightsheet MicroscopyChakraborty2021 
Will CrockettModeling and Analysis of Soil Hydrology in New MexicoRoy2021 
Andrew GibsonResearch on the Migdal projectLoomba2021 
Stephanie HansenMeasuring Line-of-Sight Velocities to Evolved Stars in the Milky Way Disk and Bulge RegionPihlström2021 
Tristan Larkin

Detection of the Migdal Effect

Simon MartinDetermining the Prevalence of Radio Interference and its effects on CMB ObservationsBarron2021 
Paige ZamoraCompact Symmetric Objects and the Evolution of Active GalaxiesTaylor2021 
Robert Beattie Rosberg

Moire Deflectometry on Z-Pinch Plasmas Generated By UNM's LTD

Nicolas LitzaTesting Magnetic Field Sensitivity with cold superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs)Barron2020 
Adam YanezCharge Collection in Irradiated 3D Silicon SensorsSeidel2020 
Julie CamposResources for Quantum Optimal ControlDeutsch2019Rayburn Research award
Ivey DavisKinetic Decoupling of Dark MatterAllahverdi2019Rayburn Research award
Ryan GibbonsA Silicon Photomultiplier Array for a Liquid Argon Veto SystemGold2019Rayburn Research award
Cameron LamarRadon Emanation Measurements for Neutrino-less Double Beta ExperimentsLoomba2019Rayburn Research award
Nicholas LitzaPOLARBEAR Data Quality Analysis ProjectBarron2019Rayburn Research award
Asher MayLattice Resonances of Arrays with Regular DefectsManjavacas2019Rayburn Research award
Eric PutneySaturated Flavor Development in a Dense Two-Dimensional Neutrino GasDuan2019Rayburn Research award
Kyle RitchieDecay of Coherent Scalar Field Oscillations: Two ApproachesAllahverdi2019Rayburn Research award
Susan SapkotaData Analysis to Improve the Directional Signature for Dark Matter SearchesLoomba2019Rayburn Research award
Amy SoudachanhStable External Cavity Narrow Linewidth Laser for Laser Cooling and TrappingBecerra2019Rayburn Research award
Brady SpearsInversion of Muon Flux for Resolving Subsurface DensitiesRoy2019Rayburn Research award
Adam YanezDevelopment of Detectors for Particle Physics ResearchSeidel2019Rayburn Research award
Patrick BrownNon-standard Thermal Histories and Temperature of the UniverseAllahverdi2018Rayburn Research award
Julie CamposMeasurement of Intrinsic Charge Amplification in New Detectors for Particle Physics ApplicationsSeidel
2018Rayburn Research award
Cayman RogersNeutrinoless Double Beta Decay and Liquid Argon ShieldingFields2018Rayburn Research award
Daniel RussellCode for Image Processing of CCD Images Utilized in Dark Matter ReearchLoomba2018Rayburn Research award
Kylar GreeneDetermining Distances to Mira Variable StarsPihlström2018Rayburn Research award
Patrick LatimerWater Fountain Protoplanetary Nebulae: Six Epochs of VLBA DataPihlström2018Rayburn Research award
Lauren ZundelRadiative Heat Transfer Between Graphene NanodisksManjavacas2018Rayburn Research award
John KeeneyAnderson Localication in a Completely Random MediumMafi2018Rayburn Research award
Patrick Latimer'Water Fountain' Masers in Proto-Planetary NebulaePihlström2018Hulsman Award
Aryeh SaponDevelopment of a metasurface lensAcosta2018Rayburn Research award
Desirae Orr Using gravity to monitor active volcanesRoy2017Rayburn Research award
Brady SpearsComputer Modeling of Density Structures in the Valles Caldera, Jemez Volcano, NMRoy2017Rayburn Research award
Ivan RajenA method to measure real-time charged particle beam fluence beyond 1e16 1-MeV-neutron-equivalent/cm^2 using 3D Si diodesSeidel/Hoeferkamp2017Rayburn Research award
Cody BassettResearch in quantum opticsMafi2017Rayburn Research award
Zachary CastilloViability of integrating Op-Amps for event detection in TPCsLoomba2016Dept. funding
Jeremy MetznerCharacterization of metal deposited by laser ablationSchwoebel2016Dept. funding
Robert ReynaApplication of diodes to measure charged particle beam characteristicsSeidel2016College funding
Christian RobertsTwo channel fluorescence correlation with evanescent illuminationJ. Thomas2016College funding
Austin VaitkusEffects of CS_2 and SF_6 on diffusion rates of low-energy recoil tracks in TPCsLoomba2016Dept. funding
David HatleyCreation of tapered optical fibersMafi2015Rayburn Research award
Brad PhilipbarR&D leading towards the deep underground neutrino experimentGold2015Rayburn Research award
Alex Mills Scintillation in liquid argonGold2015Rayburn Research award
Bryan RubioConstruction of a femtosecond laserMafi2015Rayburn Research award
Nelly AllonDevelopment of a method for measuring charged particle beam fluence beyond 1e16 1-MeV-neutron-equivalent/cm^2Seidel/Hoeferkamp2015Rayburn Research award
Veronica DikeDetecting pulsar polarization below 100 MHz at the LWATaylor2015Rayburn Research award
Alex JohnsonHeat advection by melt percolation in the upper mantleRoy2015Rayburn Research award
OttinoNeutron single-spin asymmetry at PHENIXFields2015Rayburn Research award
Cameron TrappMonte Carlo simulations of physical systemsCahill2014Rayburn Research award
Brad PhilipbarMeandering rivulets experimental analysisVorobieff2014Rayburn Research award
Tristan GarwoodElectronic structure modeling of III-V superlattices with hybrid DFTKrishna2014Rayburn Research award
Aidan GrummerBuilding parts to aid in a dark-matter detection experimentLoomba2014Rayburn Research award
Nicholas RajenModular wiring bus for a 3K research cryostatBoyd2014Rayburn Research award
Josh PlankMeasuring electron temperature in a helicon-antenna induced plasmaGilmore2014Rayburn Research award
Alex Padilla Condensed matter researchDunlap2014Rayburn Research award

Summer Research for Undergraduate Programs

Research Awards