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Department of Physics: Graduate ProgramResearch

Physics Research Areas

  • Accelerator Physics
  • Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
  • Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
  • Experimental Nuclear Physics
  • Theoretical Nuclear and Particle Physics

Graduate research is emphasized as a critical component of the continuing education programs at Old Dominion University. Guided by our renowned international faculty members, the physics department offers graduate students five broad research areas to work in both on and off campus.

On-campus facilities within the Old Dominion University Physics Department include modern laboratories in materials science, surface science, continuous wave and pulsed laser spectroscopy, electron spectroscopy, atomic beams and laser cooling, gamma ray spectroscopy, nuclear physics and particle detector development. These laboratories are equipped with a variety of state-of-the-art instrumentation including fast electronic and computer-based data acquisition systems, pulsed and cw narrow-band spectrometers, high and low temperature Mossbauer spectrometers, a X-ray diffractometer, and high resolution particle detectors.

The major research areas of the department fall mainly in five clusters:

Nuclear & Particle Physics

Major departmental research activities are in experimental and theoretical nuclear physics. Many of our folk work some of the time nearby at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (formerly named CEBAF), which houses a 4 GeV electron accelerator, associated detector end stations, and development laboratories. Additional experimental research activities in nuclear physics are conducted at the Bates Linear Accelerator, SLAC and at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Another major research activities of the department are in experimental and theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics. These activities take place mostly on campus, but on occasion we participate in work at the Langley Research Center of NASA located 12 miles from campus or at the Free Electron Laser Facility at Jefferson Lab.

Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics

Accelerator Science

The Center for Accelerator Science was established in partnership with The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in order to meet the nation's need for scientists who will advance the sciences and technologies of particle accelerators and light sources for use in basic science, applied science, and industry. The Center offers a spectrum of research opportunities for outstanding undergraduate and graduate students in accelerator sciences and technologies. The students will have access to state-of the-art facilities at both ODU and Jefferson Lab.

Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science

Theoretical condensed matter physics and experimental materials research is the fourth major area of research in the Department. Some of the work has close connection to the Center for Accelerator Science.


GeoPhysics is an emerging area of research within the Department. Here one finds an interdisciplinary program with a strong emphasis on science and education.