Physics and Engineering

Department of Physics and Engineering

Our Department of Physics and Engineering offers a hands-on approach to undergraduate programs in:

  • Physics — from the tiniest subatomic particles to the entire universe, the field of physics attempts to explain the basic laws of nature by examining the interactions of matter and energy. Our program includes courses in fields of physics such as mechanics, electricity and magnetism, atomic, nuclear, electronics, optics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and astrophysics.
  • Health Physics (Radiation Safety) — radiation control incorporates an understanding of many disciplines. It has common scientific interests with many areas of specialization: physics, biology, biophysics, engineering (nuclear, civil, mechanical, or electrical), chemistry, genetics, ecology, environmental sciences, metallurgy, medicine, physiology, and toxicology. The wide spectrum of knowledge required of the health physicist makes this profession both challenging and rewarding.
  • Electronics Engineering Technology — high technology components make up the computers, cell phones and other devices used daily. Electronics engineering technologists concentrate on applied design using current engineering practices and program management.
  • Secondary Education: Physics — our program provides all of the required physics courses, plus opportunities for students to work on special projects relating to physics education. There continues to be a widespread shortage of physics teachers, so graduates find a favorable job market.

We also offer a cooperative 3+2 engineering science program with Penn State University.

Where will your climb take you?

With large laboratories and state of the art equipment, all of our programs feature extensive experiments and opportunities to participate in research and practical projects. From designing “smart boxes” for tracking materials in hospitals to investigating quantum mechanical properties of atoms at temperatures near absolute zero, our students are active in cutting edge research and design.

Hartline Science Center

  Peter Stine, Ph.D.|
  Karen Hull |

Physics and Engineering
G04 Hartline Science Center



Your journey upward awaits

At Bloomsburg University, we encourage students to get involved in collaborative research with faculty members. Current areas of research include:

    Health and Medical Physics

    Our health physics program offers opportunities for students to be involved in research in a variety of fields, including environmental monitoring of radioactive materials and medical physics.

    Under the guidance of David Simpson, each year at least one student has worked on a project at the Radiation Oncology Department of Geisinger Medical Center. Many of our Health Physics students are interested in Medical Health Physics, which is currently a fast growing field.

    In 2011, Naz Afarin Fallahian, Ph.D., established a collaborative research with Biology Department to study the biological effects of radiation on live skin cells. This project has already involved total of four graduate and undergraduate students from both Biology and Physics Departments.

    With the installation of the EPA RadNet radioactivity monitoring system on the roof of the Andruss Library, we anticipate more program-related projects at the University. There are about 130 RadNet stations including two others in Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia). These stations provide real time information on radiation levels throughout the USA and also collect particulate air samples. The information from our system is available online with the EPA RadNET.

    Radon monitoring in our area is another subject for our student research projects. The Health Physics Laboratory is equipped with all the instruments that are required for measuring radon concentration in air. Many of our students present results of their research using travel grants from the Health Physics Society.

    Alternative Energy

    Alternative energy research at Bloomsburg University consists of the distinct areas of biofuels, wind energy, and organic photovoltaic cells.

    Nathaniel Greene built a campus biodiesel facility (2007-09, with Mark Tapsak from Chemistry), initiated a major biomass project at the university Heating Plant (2008-10, with BU Facilities staff), installed a biofuel heating system at the municipal recycling center in the Town of Bloomsburg (2009), and oversaw the installation of a campus solar array, solar kiosk, and electricity monitoring system (2011 – present, with Jeff Brunskill from Geosciences). In the spring of 2013, Nathaniel Greene spent a sabbatical semester as an analyst with Aegis Wind, LLC in Waitsfield, Vermont, an installer of community-scale wind turbines.

    John Huckans served as a technical advisor to the Bloomsburg WindJET, an effort by a consortium consisting of a local company and engineers from Minnesota and California to build an experimental wind turbine having high efficiency at low wind speeds (2011 – present). The project received a grant from the Keystone Innovation Zone for $30,000 to support student stipends, equipment, and faculty compensation for wind turbine research.

    John Huckans and Mark Tapsak (Chemistry Department) study novel organic photovoltaic cells. Together they have built a laboratory, which synthesizes, fabricates, and tests the efficiencies of borane-based diblock copolymer solar cells.

    Ultra-Cold Atomic Physics

    Since 2010, Bloomsburg University has been developing a program of fundamental research in ultra-cold atomic physics.

    At the heart of the program is a new UltraCold laboratory in G63 Hartline Science Center, which was assembled by a team of undergraduate students along with Professors John Huckans and Ju Xin. The equipment and infrastructure will be used to cool 87Rb atoms to temperatures as low as 140 microkelvin, at which the length and time scales of important quantum mechanical properties can be recorded using conventional CCD (10 mm spatial resolution) cameras and 1 ms time resolution. Initial experiments following final construction are aimed at achieving all-optical quantum degeneracy (no standard magnetic trapping/evaporative cooling) in conjunction with novel optical lattice geometries.

    Following these efforts, we will explore quantum magnetism (both from practical and theoretical perspectives) as well as the interplay between applied spatial periodicity and emergent spatial periodicity, i.e. commensurate and incommensurate one-dimensional lattice constants.

    Power Electronics

    The Power Electronics Laboratory supports research in the area of analog, mixed-signal, and high power electronics including analysis, modeling, simulation, and hardware implementation of power electronic systems covering the technical areas of power semiconductors, magnetics, controls, and digital systems.

    Application domain of circuits and systems studied is primarily high-reliability electronics for commercial and defense applications. Accordingly, there is a strong technical cooperation with the U.S. Naval and Air Force Research Laboratories.

    Recent projects included designing high temperature dc-dc power converters for aerospace application, electrical characterization of 4.5 kV/200 A Si IGBT/SiC Schottky modules, designing and simulating a hybrid energy storage system for future aircrafts, energy accumulator unit for avionics application, developing circuits and systems for characterizing SiC, GaN, and AlN power switching devices.

    Stellar Astrophysics

    The astrophysics group currently collects its data from the Kepler Space Telescope for asteroseismology, a new field dedicated to the study of oscillations originating in the interiors of stars, which behave as pressure waves (like sound waves). The Kepler Space Telescope , launched in 2009 was designed to detect extrasolar planets. It is also used as a laboratory for the study of variable stars, with over 200,000 stars in the Kepler Field.

    Students and faculty analyze the data, primarily using nonlinear time series methods. We have been successful at substantially reducing the noise so that we may observe fine variations in brightness. One object of note is a ZZ Lep star at the center of the planetary nebula, NGC 6826. The variations are consistent with a binary with a low-mass star and a compact object that share a common envelope.