Attending seminars is a great way to expand your knowledge in our areas of physics, astronomy, and materials science. Invited faculty, PAMS alumni, and speakers from the industry give talks on their research/work. Members of the PAMS department are highly encouraged to attend our seminars and the MSU community as a whole is also more than welcome to attend. 

Kemper Hall 204 or on Zoom (915 2072 1543)
Thursdays, 4:00 p.m.

(unless otherwise noted)

List of previous seminars. See the CNAS Events for other college seminars.


Spring 2024 Seminar Schedule

Date Speaker Title
1/18 1st week of classes No seminar
1/25 PAMS Faculty Introduction and Information for New Graduate Students
2/1 Dr. Carissa Jones
Brewer Science
Development of Sensing Systems for Real-Time, Water Quality Measurements
Abstract: As the world strives for sustainable and healthier living, advances in technology are paving the way for a future when monitoring to ensure safe drinking water is widely available and affordable to everyone. Brewer Science is developing next-generation water quality sensing systems that enable real-time water monitoring. Our sensors can measure pH, temperature, and conductivity as well as trace levels of analytes such as lead and nitrate. The theory and capabilities of our sensor technology will be presented in this seminar.
2/8 Dr. Bernadette Broderick
University of Missouri
Conformer-specific Desorption in Interstellar Ices Probed by Chirped-pulse mm-Wave Rotational Spectroscopy
Abstract: A new technique developed by our group for the detection of molecules desorbed from an ice surface using broad-band rotational spectroscopy will be presented. The approach permits interrogation of molecules that have undergone the slow warmup process of temperature-programmed desorption (TPD), analogous to the warmup phase of icy grains in the interstellar medium as they approach the central protostar. The detection is conformer- and isomer-specific and quantitative, as afforded by chirped-pulse rotational spectroscopy. To achieve this, we combine ice TPD with buffer gas cooling, followed by detection in the millimeter-wave regime. In this presentation, the sublimation of n- and ipropanol, the former of which may be in five different conformational isomeric forms, and which display distinct desorption profiles, will be described. The limited conformational isomerization and temperature-dependent relative yields of n-propanol conformers observed show that the desorption is highly conformer-specific. In addition to propanol, the sublimation of propyl cyanide will also be presented, where the relative abundances of the anti and gauche conformers following room-temperature gas-phase injection into a 25 K buffer gas cell are compared to that which is observed following TPD from an ice surface. The conformer distributions observed in the gas phase from room-temperature injection are then used to determine their relative energies, an important parameter needed to interpret the isomer and conformer abundances derived from astronomical observations. We find the gauche conformer to be the most stable species by ~97±21 cm-1. We further examine the relative conformer abundances following ice desorption, which are distinct from those following the gas-phase introduction. The ratios measured off the ice correspond to a conformer temperature of ~56 K, which is much lower than their sublimation temperature of 170 K.
Dr. Dmitry Ovchinnikov
University of Kansas
Van der Waals Topological Magnets and Superconductors

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543

Abstract: The breaking of time-reversal symmetry in topological insulators leads to novel quantum states of matter. One prominent example at the two-dimensional limit is the Chern insulator, which hosts dissipationless chiral edge states at sample boundaries. These chiral edge modes are perfect one-dimensional conductors whose chirality is defined by the material magnetization and in which backscattering is topologically forbidden. Recently, van der Waals topological magnet MnBi2Te4 emerged as a new solid-state platform for studies of the interplay between magnetism and topology. I will present an overview of our progress toward controlling topological phase transitions and chiral edge modes in MnBi2Te4. First, I will establish how topological properties are intimately intertwined with magnetic states. I will then demonstrate electrical control of the number of chiral edge states and the discovery of chiral edge modes along crystalline steps between regions of different thicknesses and how these modes can be harnessed for the engineering of simple topological circuits. Finally, I will discuss the engineering of the superconducting state in topological insulators and demonstrate Pauli paramagnetic limit violation in atomically thin flakes of a topological superconductor candidate.

2/22 Dr. Rana Biswas
Ames National Laboratory and
Iowa State University
Novel Physical Phenomena in Nano-arrays and Nanostructures
Abstract: Nanostructures and nano-arrays with spatial periods near optical wavelengths offer a platform to control light-matter interactions, that can lead to novel phenomena in nanoplasmonics, nanophotonics, and quantum information science. We describe gold-coated nanoarrays, that show unusual extraordinary optical transmission phenomena. Quantum dots embedded within the nanocup arrays show a radiative decay rate that is enhanced by as much as a factor of 20, from the interaction of the strong optical field of the nano-array with the luminescent quantum dot. We describe how nano-arrays can enhance the light-outcoupling from organic light-emitting diodes, through diffractive effects. We describe insulating nano-arrays formed by replica-molding on elastomeric substrates that exhibit unusual surface electric potential distributions, that are formed by intricate nanoscale patterns of surface tribocharge. Experimental work combined with computational simulations in these applications will be discussed.
Hannes Stärk & Gabriele Corso
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

DiffDockDiffusion Steps, Twists, and Turns for Molecular Docking

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543

Abstract: Molecular docking, the process of predicting how small molecule ligands bind to proteins, is pivotal in drug design. Our work introduces a novel perspective by conceptualizing molecular docking as a generative modeling challenge. We present DiffDock, a diffusion generative model that operates on the complex, non-Euclidean manifold of ligand poses, efficiently navigating through the translational, rotational, and torsional degrees of freedom essential for accurate docking. Our empirical results showcase DiffDock's superiority, achieving a 38% top-1 success rate (RMSD<2Å) on the PDBBind dataset, markedly surpassing both traditional (23%) and other deep learning methodologies (20%). Notably, DiffDock demonstrates remarkable performance on computationally folded structures, achieving more than double the accuracy of existing methods. This talk will delve into the intuition and methodology behind DiffDock, and its strengths and limitations.

Dr. Adam Miller
Northestern University

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543


3/14 Spring Break No seminar
Dr. Dipanjan Mazumdar
Southern Illinois University

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543


3/28 David Beckwitt
University of Missouri
Dr. Tanvi Gujarati
IBM Quantum Almaden Research Center

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543


4/11 Dr. Xiaofeng Guo
Washington State University
Rajan Khadka
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543


Dr. Timothy Jones
Craven Community College

Zoom seminar ID: 915 2072 1543


5/2 Last week of classes No seminar
5/9 Finals' week No seminar



Previous Seminars

Fall 2023
Date Speaker Title
9/21 Dr. Steven Harrellson
Columbia University

Hydration Solids

9/28 Austin Shearin
SynTouch, Inc.

What I thought I learned, what I actually learned, and what I wished I learned from getting a bachelors in Physics

9/29 Dr. Ariful Haque
Texas State University

(i) Fully funded Ph.D. opportunities in MSEC at Texas State University
(ii) UWBG Carbon for Electronic Applications

10/5 Dr. Saikat Talapatra
Southern Illinois University

Emerging Nanomaterials & Composites for Electronics, Energy & Environmental Applications

10/19 Chenfeng Cao
Hongkong University of Science and Technology

Accelerated Variational Quantum Eigensolver with Joint Bell Measurement
Zoom Passcode: VSc0M.pj

10/26 Dr. Halya Hodovanets
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Inversion and Time-reversal Symmetry Broken Weyl Semimetal
Zoom Passcode: 23tqmd!Y

11/2 Dr. Kurt Brorsen
University of Missouri

Calculating Vibrationally Averaged Molecular Properties with Multicomponent Methods

11/9 Dr. Andrew Meng
University of Missouri

Epitaxial AlScN Films and Nanowires for Ferroelectric Random-Access Memory Applications


Dr. Elisabeth Mills
University of Kansas

Hidden Engines: Uncovering the Workings of the Nearest Galaxy Centers
11/30 Dr. Mohammadreza Momenitaheri
University of Missouri, Kansas City
Stimuli-Responsive Multi-Functional 2D and 3D Nanoporous Materials in Condensed Phases
Spring 2023
Date Speaker Title

Simon Batzner
Harvard University

Equivariant Interatomic Potentials
2/9 Dr. Deepak Singh
University of Missouri
Designer Magnet with Fundamental and Practical Implications
2/23 John Dagdelen
University of California, Berkeley
Natural Language Processing for Accelerating Scientific Breakthroughs
3/2 Dr. Julia Medvedeva
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Fundamentals of Amorphous Oxide Semiconductors

3/9 Isaac Laseter
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES): The First Results from the Deepest Observations of the Universe to Date
4/13 Dr. Sheng Ran
Washington University in St. Louis
Spin-triplet Superconducting State in the Nearly Ferromagnetic Compound UTe2
4/27 Dr. Yijia Gu
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Phase-field Modeling of Ferroelectrics: Polarization Rotation and Flexoelectricity

5/4 Dr. Bret Lehmer
University of Arkansas
An X-ray Perspective on the Evolution of Galaxies Throughout the Universe
Fall 2022
Date Speaker Title
8/25 Dr. Arthur Mar
University of Alberta

Materials Discovery through Machine Learning: Experimental Validation and Interpretable Models

9/15 Dr. Katharine Flores
Washington University in St. Louis

High-throughput Investigations of Phase Formation and Mechanical Properties in Complex Metallic Alloys

9/29 Alex Miller
ThermAvant Technologies

2010 Alumni Update: Career Paths, Thermal Management R&D, and In-state Job Opportunities

10/20 Dr. Alice Bean
University of Kansas

Experimental Particle Physics and Tracking Detectors

11/3 Dr. Daniel Moreno
Missouri State University
Exploring the Limits of Electrosorption-Based Electrodes for Capacitive Deionization Using Thermodynamic Principles
11/10 Dr. Manashi Nath
Missouri University of Science and Technology
The Story of Transition Metal Chalcogenides: Multifaceted Electrochemical Applications for Energy Conversion, Storage, Sensing & Catalysis
12/1 Dr. Ruma Dutta
Missouri State University
Multiple Attractor in Tumor Immune Dynamics
Spring 2022
Date Speaker Title

Christian Stepien (PAMS)

Analysis of Thorium Ions in Chloride Aqueous Solutions using Raman Spectroscopy
2/10 Devon Romine (PAMS) Modeling Atomic Layer Deposition of Alumina as an Ultra-Thin Tunnel Barrier Using Reactive Molecular Dynamics
2/16 Bandon Decker
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Stellar Mass Properties of Infrared-selected High-redshift Galaxy Clusters from MaDCoWS
2/17 Emily Justus (PAMS) Applications of a Combined Approach of Kinetic Monte Carlo Simulations and Machine Learning to Model Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) of Metal Oxides
3/3 Dr. Mahmud Reaz
Microchip Technology Inc.
Reliability of Silicon Devices - Hot Electron Effects
3/10 Dr. Corrinne Mills
University of Illinois-Chicago & Fermilab
Baryogenesis, Higgs Bosons, and What's Next


Dr. Guang Bian
University of Missouri-Columbia
Cloning of Dirac Electrons in Graphene/SiC Heterostructure
3/29 Farhan Ishrak (PAMS) Investigations of Mn-Co-NiO Based Heterostructured Nanocrystals
Sharif Uddin (PAMS) A Study of Bimagnetic CoO/NiFe2O4 Heterostructured Nanoparticles
3/31 Dr. Soumitra SenGupta
Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
Gravitational Wave: The Song of the Cosmos
4/7 Dr. Xiaobo Chen
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Chasing Clean Energy and Environment Dream with Nanoscience: Photocatalysis, Rechargeable Battery, Hydrogen Production & Others – A Brief Summary of Our Past Research
4/21 Ripon Saha
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Identifying Large-scale Structures Using Dust-obscured Galaxies (DOGs) as Signposts 9-10 Billion Light-years Away
4/28 Dr. Tommy Sewell
University of Missouri-Columbia

Predicting Multiscale Responses of Organic High Explosives Subjected to Thermo-Mechanical Extremes

5/5 Dr. Xiangbo (Henry) Meng
University of Arkansas
Atomic & Molecular Layer Deposition (ALD/MLD) for Emerging Research Studies
5/12 Dr. Hiro Nakamura
University of Arkansas
Angle-resolved Photoelectron Spectroscopy: 2D Materials and Heterostructures
Fall 2021
Date Speaker Title

Rifat Ara Shams (PAMS)

Study of Structural, Electrical and Optical Properties of Copper Oxide Phase Mixture Thin Films Grown by Pulsed Laser Deposition
9/9 Bishwajite Karmakar (PAMS) Study of Structural and Magnetic Properties of Ni-NiO Thin Films
9/16 Dr. Adam Brandt (alum)
Colorado State University & NIST
A Measurement of the 2S1/28D5/2 Transition in Hydrogen
9/23 Dr. Conal Murray
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Investigating Material Improvements in Superconducting Qubits
9/30 Dr. Shun Saito
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Cosmic Acceleration and the Role of Galaxy Surveys

Dr. Yicheng Guo
University of Missouri - Columbia

Dissecting Distant Galaxies: How Sub-structures Shed Light on Galaxy Formation and Evolution


Dr. Maria Mills
University of Missouri - Columbia

Force-based Detection of Sub-millisecond Topo-isomerase IA Dynamics
Dr. Wai-Lun Chan
University of Kansas
Turning Light into Electricity – How Excitons Dissociate at van der Waals Interfaces
11/4 Emily Justus (PAMS) Applications of a Combined Approach of Kinetic Monte Carlo Simulations and Machine Learning to Model Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) of Metal Oxides
11/11 Devon Romine (PAMS)

Modeling Atomic Layer Deposition of Alumina as an Ultra-thin Tunnel Barrier using Reactive Molecular Dynamics

Dr. Damena Agonafer
Washington University in St. Louis
Bioinspired Evaporative Cooling for High Heat Flux Applications
Dr. Rizal Hariadi
Arizona State University
Understanding Molecular Machines using Protein and DNA Origami Nanoarrays
12/9 Dr. Jingyi Chen
University of Arkansas
Controlling Three Dimensional Morphology of Nonprecious Metal-Based Nanostructures
Spring 2021
Date Speaker Title

Dr. Jason Jackiewicz
New Mexico State University

Seismology of Sun and Stars
1/28 Dr. Michael Gordon
Æsir Technologies
Nickel-Zinc Battery Research Opportunities
2/4 Kwabena Asante Boahen (PAMS) Modeling of Argon Bombardment and Densification of Low-temperature Organic Precursors using Reactive Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Machine Learning
2/11 Dr. Oliver C. Grant
Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia
Virus-Receptor Interactions of Glycosylated SARS-CoV-2 Spike and Human ACE2 Receptor
3/2 Bikash Timalsina (PAMS) Development of EAM and RF-MEAM Potential to Study Thermal Properties of Zirconium Diboride
Bishwajite Karmakar (PAMS) Tuning Physical Properties of ZnO for Optoelectronics Applications
2/25 Dr. Cathy Wong
University of Oregon
In Situ Transient Absorption Spectroscopy During Materials Formation
3/4 Dr. Robert Baker
National eXtreme Ultrafast Science (NeXUS), Ohio State University
Watching Electrons Move at Interfaces: Visualizing Charge and Spin Dynamics Using Ultrafast XUV Spectroscopy

Alin Niraula (PAMS)

Transport Properties of Binary and Doped Diborides
Abiodun Odusanya (PAMS) A Study of Laser-assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Technique to Grow Carbon-based Materials
3/25 Shannon Dulz (PhD student, alum)
University of Notre Dame
Cold Exoplanets: Ground-based Direct Imaging and Population Studies Planning for Future Space Missions
4/8 Dr. Vashti Sawtelle
Michigan State University
Research on Inclusive Practices: Supporting Two-Year College Transfer Students in the Physics Community
4/15 Dr. Ryan Behunin
Northern Arizona University
Noise in Integrated Photonic Brillouin Lasers
4/22 Dr. Marilu Perez Garcia
Ames National Laboratory
Designing Ligands with Predetermined Metal Ion Selectivity using Electronic Structure Theory, Machine Learning, and Molecular Mechanics
4/23 Rifat Ara Shams (PAMS) Electrical and Optical Properties of CuO-Cu2O Phase Mixture for Solar Cell Application
4/29 Joshua Kern (PhD student, alum)
Clemson University
Using ro-vibrational Emission from Protoplanetary Disks in Order to Observe Accretion and Planet Formation in Action
4/30 Abu Zobair (PAMS) Effect of Pulsed Laser Annealing on the Optoelectronic Properties of ZnO Thin Films
Sajal Islam (PAMS) Simulation and Fabrication of All Oxide Based Glass/ITO/TiO2/CuO/Au Heterostructure for Solar Cell Application
Fall 2020
Date Speaker Title
9/3 David Magness (PAMS) Kinetic Monte Carlo Simulations of Atomic Layer Deposition
Tauhidul Islam (PAMS) Study of Size-controlled CoO@MnFe2O4 Core-shell Nanoparticle
9/10 Dr. Matthew Horton
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Democratizing Access to Materials Science with the Materials Project
9/17 Nadib Akram (PAMS) A Raman Study of Actinide Complex Species in Aqueous Chloride Solutions at High P-T Conditions
Sudha Krishnan (PAMS) Exploring Topological Weyl Semimetals Isostructural to YbMnBi2 and Co2MnGa
9/24 Dr. Andrew Mason
University of Central Arkansas
Do They Care, and Does It Matter? An Analysis of Learning Goals and Perceived Relevance of Introductory Physics to Life Science Majors
10/1 Dr. Jessica Krogstad
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Exploring the Potential of Concentrated Point Defects: Their Role in Mass Transport, Microstructural Evolution and Material Functionality

Dr. Paul Canfield
Ames National Laboratory &
Iowa State University

Cooking, Fishing and Jogging through Phase Space: A Practical Guide to Discovering and Understanding New Materials
10/22 Dr. Dilpuneet Aidhy
University of Wyoming
Properties of Concentrated Alloys Predicted from Atomistic Calculations and Machine Learning
10/29 Abiodun Odusanya (PAMS)

A Study of Laser-assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Technique to Grow Carbon-based Materials

Sajal Islam (PAMS) TiO2-CuO Heterostructure Solar Cell for Cost Effective and Better Optoelectronic Properties
11/5 Alin Niraula (PAMS) Predicting Thermal Conductivity of High Temperature Ceramics (Diborides)
Abu Zobair (PAMS) Effect of Pulsed Laser Annealing on ZnO Thin Films
11/12 Dr. Alannah Hallas
University of British Columbia
Competing Orders and Phases in Pyrochlore Magnets
11/19 Bikash Timalsina (PAMS) EAM and RF-MEAM Interatomic Potential Development to Study Thermal Properties of Zirconium Diboride
12/3 Dr. Catherine Espaillat
Boston University
A Panchromatic View of Variability in Protoplanetary Disks
Spring 2020
Date Speaker Title

Yuxuan Lu (PAMS)

Reactive MD Simulation on the Formation of Amorphous Sub-nano Alumina Layer 
Moudip Nandi (PAMS) Synthesis and Characterization of Barium Titanate and Carbon-based Core-Shell Nano Particles
1/30 Abdullah Shafe (PAMS) Magnetic Properties of NiO Based Magnetic Heterostructured Nano Crystals (MHNCs)
Joy Roy (PAMS) Fabrication of CFO@C Core/Shell Nanoparticles by Laser Ablation
2/6 Dr. Mallory Molina
Montana State University
Resolving Black Hole and Star-Formation Activity in Nearby Galaxies
2/7 Dr. Mallory Molina
Montana State University
Towards a More Inclusive Astronomy: Building Community for All in Academia
2/13 Christopher Robledo (PAMS) Heterostructure of 2D Materials
Shahidul Asif (PAMS) Study of ZnO for Thin Film Transistor
2/20 Dr. Bharat Ratra
Kansas State University
The Accelerating Expanding Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and Einstein's Cosmological Constant, or Why Jim Peebles was Awarded Half of the 2019 Physics Nobel Prize
2/27 Dr. Wouter Montfrooij
University of Missouri, Columbia
Does Spontaneous Fragmentation of a Magnetic Lattice Lead to Heavy Fermion Behavior?
3/5 Dr. Ariful Haque (alum)
North Carolina State University
Fabrication of Q-carbon and Diamond Films by Ultrafast Laser Processing and Deposition for Electron Field Emission and Electrocatalysis Applications


Fall 2019
Date Speaker Title

Rajan Khadka (PAMS)

Study of Amorphous Boron Carbide (a-BxC) Materials using Molecular Dynamics (MD) and Hybrid Reverse Monte Carlo (HRMC)
Muztoba Rabbani (PAMS) Development of Multicomponent EAM Potential for Ni Based SuperAlloy

Hayley Sohn (PhD student, alum)
University of Colorado Boulder

Active Liquid Crystal Skyrmions

9/12 Sabila Kader Pinky (PAMS) Molecular Dynamics (MD) Study of Creep Deformation in Ni-based Superalloy
9/19 Moudip Nandi (PAMS) Synthesis and Characterization of Oxide Carbide Core Shell Nano Particles
Joy Roy (PAMS) Fabrication of CFO@C Core/Shell Nanoparticles by Laser Ablation
9/26 Abdullah Shafe (PAMS) Structural and Magnetic Properties of NiO@MnxNi1-xO Core-Shell Nanoparticles Synthesized at Varying pH Values
Sinjan Majumder (PAMS) Development of a CVD Assisted PLD System for Growing Thin Films
10/3 Dr. Alexander Kozhanov
Georgia State University
Spin Waves in Structured Ferromagnetic Materials


Dr. Lloyd Lumata
University of Texas Dallas

Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance: Enhancing NMR and MRI Signals by >10,000-fold for Real-Time Metabolic Assessment of Cancer


Dr. Marco Cavaglià
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Unraveling the Universe's Deepest Mysteries with Gravitational Waves
10/31 Dr. Rao Khan
Washington University in St. Louis
Keeping Physics Relevant in Ever-changing Practice of Radiological Medicine
11/7 Dr. Yew San Hor
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Promising Candidates for Topological Superconductors

11/14 Christopher Robledo (PAMS) Heterostructure of 2D Materials
Shahidul Asif (PAMS) A Comparative Study of Characteristics of ZnO TFT for Various Substrate and Fabrication Parameters
12/5 Dr. Emmett Redd
Missouri State University
Mathematics and Physics: How to Make Artificial Intelligence More Like Biological Intelligence