CLASSE: Student Opportunities

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REU 2022 Projects

Sutchi Sarkar TBD
"Predicting Material Properties by Machine Learning"

Abstract: Material discovery in a vast compositional space expands the probability of finding desired systems. The challenge is to design a material with targeted properties from the vast complex space. In past decades, new experimental techniques combined with computational methods created an immense effect on physics, material science, and biology. However, machine learning is limited when applied to different fields due to the unavailability of large datasets as well as difficulties in material property prediction due to process-dependent experimentation. Therefore, uncertainty quantification is crucial for decision-making.

In this project, the REU student will learn to do literature surveys, perform data mining and data analysis, and develop machine learning-based models for predicting material behavior with uncertainty quantification. Basic programming experience is necessary as the project requires a lot of computational work (Python preferred). Also, familiarity with mathematical analysis and probability is required for the project.

Jim Crittenden and Suntao Wang TBD
"Beam Size Measurement Using Sextupole Magnets in the Cornell Electron Storage Ring"

Variations in field strength of a sextupole magnet in a storage ring result in changes to the orbit, betatron phase functions and tunes which depend on the position of the beam relative to the center of the sextupole and on the beam size. Such measurements have been carried out with 6 GeV positrons at the Cornell Electron Storage Ring since February 2021. Variations of strength in each of the 76 sextupoles provide measurements of difference orbits, phase and coupling functions. An off-line optimization procedure applied to these difference measurements determines the horizontal and vertical orbit kicks and the normal and skew quadrupole kicks corresponding to the strength changes. Continuously monitored tune changes during the sextupole strength scans provide a redundant, independent determination of the two quadrupole terms. This project provides the REU participant the opportunity to perform data analysis emphasizing the accuracy with which beam offset and size can be determined, as well as to join data-taking shifts providing the ongoing measurements with the CESR positron beam.

The current status of the measurements and analysis, as well as links to presentations and relevant publications are available here.

The results of this project will be submitted to the 14th International Particle Accelerator Conference to take place in the spring of 2023 as well to a peer-reviewed journal.

Richard Gillilan TBD
"X-ray scattering of concentrated and phase-separated protein solutions: simulation and animation"

It has recently been discovered that living cells actually use liquid-liquid phase separation as a vital part of their function. It may even be that life itself arose as a result of natural phase separation of concentrated solutions of biomolecules. X-ray solution scattering of concentrated solutions can tell us about how neighboring molecules interact.

Students will learn to use the open-source 3D computer graphics software Blender, combined with the ePMV plugin developed at the Scripps Center for Computational Structural Biology, to create computer animations of solutions containing hundreds or even thousands of whole protein molecules. Students will also learn to run a computer simulation code and process the data to simulate x-ray solution scattering experiments.

While programming experience is not strictly necessary (we do use C++ and Python), this project will involve a lot of computing and data processing. Students should be comfortable manipulating data on Mac, Windows, or Linux. Basic knowledge of molecular biology or biophysics is also helpful. A little artistic ability would not hurt.

Zhongwu Wang TBD
"High pressure diamond anvil cell (DAC) study of materials"

Application of pressure on materials can dramatically change materials structures and properties. This REU project will provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn the operation and use of diamond anvil cells as coupled with various in-situ probes to observe and characterize the pressure-induced change of materials. The students will be also able to process the collected X-ray diffraction data sets under pressures, which are used to interpret and understand the observed phenomena of materials under pressure.

Gabriel Gaitan TBD
"Integrating controls for a CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) system into a MATLAB GUI (Graphic User Interface)"

Nb3Sn is the most promising alternative material for achieving superior performance in Superconducting Radio-Frequency (SRF) cavities, outstripping the conventional Nb cavities now used in accelerators. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is an alternative to the predominantly used vapor-diffusion-based Nb3Sn growth technique and it might allow for reaching superior RF performance at a reduced cost.

Cornell University is developing a remote plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (CVD) system that facilitates coating on complicated geometries with a high deposition rate. This system is based on a high-temperature tube furnace with a clean vacuum and furnace loading system.

This REU project will focus on integrating the safety aspects and the control aspects of a plasma-enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) system into a Graphical User Interface that allows for monitoring and controlling the furnace. The student will work on integrating the software with the hardware, and this will include controlling the flow of gas using a butterfly valve, mass flow controllers, an RF source, the temperature of the furnace, the rate of heating, etc.

Nicole Verboncoeur and Neil Stilin TBD
"Temperature Mapping Nb3Sn SRF Cavities"

Superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavities are one of the vital organs of an accelerator -- improving their performance allows for higher beam energies, which opens new frontiers for high energy physics. Understanding how and why SRF cavities quench (lose superconductivity) is very important for improving SRF cavity performance.

For this project, a student will assist in RF testing of Nb3Sn SRF cavities and explore the data collected by the high speed temperature mapping system used by the Cornell SRF group. This project will include both hands-on lab experience and data analysis components.

Michelle Kelley and Nathan Sitaraman TBD
"Theoretical studies of electronic energy-level shifts in superconducting radiofrequency cavity materials"

Minute changes in the chemical composition at the surface of superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) cavities can have a substantial impact on SRF performance. Experimentalists are able to measure and resolve the energy levels of core electrons that are known to be related to oxidation state and more generally to the chemical environment of atoms. However, these relationships are not fully understood, which makes it difficult to accurately interpret the core electron energy level measurements. Accurate interpretation requires a thorough theoretical investigation of the electronic structure of these materials.

In this project, the student will use density-functional theory (DFT) to calculate the electronic structure of Nb and Nb3Sn, their corresponding oxides, and other materials of interest to track how the semi-core electron levels shift with oxidation level, then compare with experimental measurements. In addition to performing standard DFT calculations, the student will also utilize sophisticated maximally localized Wannier function techniques to visualize electronic orbital structures and increase the overall accuracy of calculation.

Matt Andorf TBD
"Photocathode development and testing at Cornell"

Photocathodes have contributed to breakthrough discoveries in chemistry, material science and biology by making possible x-ray free electron lasers (XFEL) and Ultrafast Electron Diffraction (UED) beamlines. For the case of spin-polarized electron production, they have aided in fundamental physics discoveries while robust photocathodes with high Quantum Efficiencies (QE) can extend the discovery potential of hadron and heavy-ion colliders via strong beam cooling.

The Bright Beams Laboratory (BBL) at Cornell is a unique university laboratory in that we have the capability to grow a wide variety of photocathodes (alkali antimonides, bi-alkali antimonides, surface activated GaAs and GaN to name a few) and characterize the performance in multiple electron accelerator beamlines. This project will focus on high current applications of photocathodes in the High ElectRon Average Current Lifetime Experiments (HERACLES) beamline and provide hands-on experience in growing photocathodes and running a live particle accelerator.

Adam Bartnik TBD
"Modeling of THz enhancement microstructures"

In order to probe smaller and smaller timescales, modern accelerators have pushed the minimum duration of electron bunches to the single digit femtosecond scale and below. Verifying both the performance and stability of the accelerator in conditions such as these is very challenging and requires novel techniques.

One such technique is to couple laser-generated, intense THz pulses to the electron beam to perform time-dependent deflection. These THz pulses are often not sufficiently strong by themselves to produce a significant beam deflection, and resonant microstructures are used to enhance the local THz field as it interacts with the electron beam. This project will explore these types of resonant structures in simulation, developing the ability to model them in order to further enhance their performance.

Joey Reichert and Peace Kotamnives TBD
"Search for particles with long lifetimes at the Large Hadron Collider"

The Standard Model of elementary particles has been fantastically successful, but it also has gigantic shortcomings, such as failing to explain the mass of the Higgs particle or the origin of Dark Matter. Many models that fill those gaps predict the existence of long-lived particles, which should be observable at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Join our group, which is looking for these particles in LHC data using the CMS detector. You will help us expand the scope of our search or understand the barriers to increasing its sensitivity. This will be a computational project, looking at LHC data and simulation. You will plot the data and simulated data with the intent of increasing our understanding and pushing back the barriers.

Cameron Duncan TBD
"Multiple scattering effects in Ultrafast Electron Diffraction"

Ultrafast Electron Diffraction (UED) is an experimental technique capable of resolving real time atomic motion with better than picosecond precision. Cornell hosts a state-of-the-art UED apparatus. The aim of UED data analysis is to infer from changing diffraction patterns how atoms are moving in response to ultrafast excitation. The analysis is complicated by multiple scattering effects inside the sample.

The student in this project will use existing simulation software to compute the expected UED signal from a multiple scattering experiment, with the ultimate goal of fitting a numerical model to real experimental data.

Abby Crites TBD
"DAQ / Control tesing for CMB-S4"

Abstract: Large mm-wavelength instruments are currently being built to probe cosmology, particularly the early universe, with the CMB and the epoch of reionization. This project will entail working with mm-wavelength hardware and software to prepare for the next generation of experiments to probe the early universe. The student will learn Python programming and some C. Work will also be done with thermometry and detector readout for the instruments.

Lawrence Gibbons TBD
"Simulating the SiPM hardware bias in overlapping electromagnetic showers"

Abstract: A key correction in measuring g-2 of the muon involves correcting for pileup -- multiuple positrons from the muon decay that strike the same region of the calorimeter at nearly the same time. Cornell's data-driven correction works well, but may suffer from lack of incorporation of hardware effects within the Silicon Photomultipliers. These effects can be simulated to assess the scale and shape versus the difference in arrival time of overlapping showers.

The student will work with the Cornell g-2 group to develop a simulation of this effect, making use of some of the tools already developed in C++ for the experiment, and to analyze the simulation output.

Projects are being added; check back periodically for updated project listing. You don't have to wait for all the projects to be posted here to apply - if you get selected for our program, we will contact you further with selection options.