Faculty Research Interests

At NIU, we develop the next generation of M.S. and Ph.D. scientists for a broad range of careers in physics. Our Chicagoland location places you in the center of innovation - within 50 miles of both Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Most of our faculty lead highly active research programs and several hold joint appointments at Argonne and Fermi. Our strong ties mean you will be mentored by accomplished scientists working on cutting-edge research.

External funding from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and many of the national labs provide you the resources and experiences to innovate and explore the field of physics. Join more than 50 graduate students in driving scientific advances forward alongside world-renowned scientists.

The following research descriptions will give you a better picture of the broad range and depth of our faculty's expertise.

Name Research Area Description
Hector De La Torre Perez, Ph.D. High Energy Physics De la Torre Perez's group is focused on the search for new particles not predicted by the Standard Model with the ATLAS detector at the LHC and is currently investigating final states with multiple heavy quarks. The group also has a substantial participation in the upgrade program of the ATLAS detector for the High-Luminosity LHC era.
Oksana Chubenko, Ph.D. Beams Physics Chubenko's group focuses on advanced modeling, growth and characterization of highly efficient electron sources for accelerator applications. The scope of interest includes spin-polarized electron sources and sources of bright electron beams.
Jahred Adelman, Ph.D. High Energy Physics Adelman's research group uses the ATLAS detector to study the properties of the Higgs sector of particle physics. Analyses involving the Higgs boson can be used to probe electroweak symmetry breaking, to directly search for new physics and to compare theoretical predictions to experimental observations.
Jerry Blazey, Ph.D. High Energy Physics Blazey is a member of the muon to electron conversion (Mu2e) experiment at Fermilab and the Calorimeter for Linear Collider Experiment (CALICE) collaboration.
Dennis Brown, Ph.D. Materials Science Brown's group studies the condensed matter physics of magnetic systems using Mossbauer spectroscopy, nuclear resonant X-ray scattering, and X-ray crystallography as function of temperature, magnetic field and pressure
Dhiman Chakraborty, Ph.D. High Energy Physics The Chakraborty group is engaged in searches for new physics in proton-proton collisions at the world's highest energies using the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN International Laboratory in Geneva Switzerland.
Omar Chmaissem, Ph.D. Materials Science Omar Chmaissem's scientific background and research interests involve detailed and precise characterizations of the structures and properties of advanced functional oxides.
George Coutrakan, Ph.D. Medical Physics During the last 12 years, Coutrakan has worked in the field of proton-computed tomography and proton radiography for medical imaging. Proton CT can reduce the range errors to +/- 1% which will lead to less dose to healthy tissue immediately behind the target volume (i.e., tumor).
Mike Eads, Ph.D. High Energy Physics Eads' research is focused on understanding the fundamental particles and forces that govern the universe. His current efforts involve the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), currently in the design and construction phase, which is scheduled to begin data-taking in 2026
Bela Erdelyi, Ph.D. Beams Physics This group focuses on nonlinear dynamics with special emphasis on charged particle beam physics. The research methods include pure and applied mathematics (symplectic dynamics, geometric integration), computational methods (algorithm and code development, high-performance computing), and modeling and simulations for various applications in accelerators and beams (electron cooling, integrable optics, ultra-cold, high-brightness particle sources).
Andreas Glatz, Ph.D. Materials Science The research area of Glatz' group is theoretical and computational condensed matter physics and materials science, focused on dynamical processes in quantum and nano-materials.
Gwanghui Ha, Ph.D. Beams Physics This group’s primary research interest lies in the design and optimization of the 6D phase-space distribution of particle beams. Our aim is to revolutionize existing accelerator facilities and open new opportunities for accelerator applications. Our research encompasses the development of novel methods for controlling the phase space correlation and density distribution of particle beam, as well as mitigating collective effects and accelerating particle beam with high-gradient and high-efficiency principles. 
Yasuo Ito, Ph.D. Materials Science Ito's group studies relationship between structures and their properties of bulk and interfaces of nanostructures in atomic scale, using transmission electron microscopy and its related spectroscopy techniques in electron energy-loss spectroscopy and X-ray emission spectroscopy.
Xueying Lu, Ph.D. Beams Physics Lu's group investigates novel accelerator concepts like wakefield acceleration and novel radiofrequency structures like metamaterials to push the accelerating gradient beyond the limits of current accelerator technology.
Laurence Lurio, Ph.D Materials Science Lurio's group studies structural and dynamic properties of fluids and complex materials primarily using X-ray and light scattering. Recent work includes studies of the structure and dynamics of thin polymer films and biomembranes, studies of the properties of liquid helium in confined geometries and measurements of critical phenomena in binary fluid mixtures.
Stephen Martin, Ph.D. High Energy Theory Martin is a theorist who studies physics at the frontiers of our present knowledge of the fundamental particles and their interactions. His research includes studies of possible new particles that could be found at the Large Hadron Collider or other proposed collider experiments.
Philippe Piot, Ph.D. Beams Physics Piot's group research focuses on the generation of bright electron beams with application to compact accelerator-based light sources and future accelerators for elementary particle physics.
Michael Syphers, Ph.D. Beams Physics The Syphers research group investigates techniques and development of particle beam transport and focusing systems, beam optics design and analysis of particle beam properties, including nonlinear beam dynamics and polarized beam transport.
Michel van Veenendaal, Ph.D. Solid State Theory Van Veenendaal is a condensed-matter theorist, studying the interaction between X-rays and solids. The focus is on strongly correlated systems such as transition-metal and rare-earth compounds.
Roland Winkler, Ph.D. Solid State Theory The condensed matter theoretical research in Winkler's group is centered around spin-dependent phenomena in solid state systems. Questions of interest include spin-orbit coupling, spin dynamics, and transport and optics in systems with reduced dimensionality.
Zhili Xiao, Ph.D. Materials Science Xiao's group currently works in the field of nanoscience, with emphasis on superconductivity in confined geometries. Various synthesis approaches have been developed or used to fabricate superconductors in the forms of nanowires, nanoribbons, shape-controlled nanocrystals and antidot arrays (films containing arrays of nanoscale holes).
Vishnu Zutshi, Ph.D. High Energy Physics Zutshi's research group is involved in experimental high-energy particle physics research at the energy and intensity frontiers. The group has major responsibilities in the DUNE and Mu2e experiments at Fermilab and the CMS experiment at CERN.