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December 2018

Congratulations to Joseph Spinuzzi, and former group member who, together with Dr. Dmitri Tenne at Boise State, just had a paper on his research published in Science. Their work is discussed in an article entitled “Isostructural metal-insulator transition in VO2.” Joe and Dr. Tenne contributed cutting-edge Raman spectroscopy measurements that allowed them to understand this unusual phase transition.


 

November 2018

Congratulations to Ariel Weltner for winning a Higher Education Research Council (HERC) Fellowship to support her research in Spring 2019. The HERC Fellowship is a 10-week research experience offered to students by the Institute for STEM & Diversity Initiatives at Boise State. This fellowship gives students a $3,000 stipend, additional travel funds, and the opportunity to present at the 2017 Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR). In addition to her work on Hall effect measurements, Ariel will be starting a new project to explore electron transport in 1D quantum wires.


October 2018

Dr. Simmonds, Chris Schuck, Katie Sautter, and Kevin Vallejo enjoyed a productive and inspiring trip to the 34th North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy (NAMBE) conference held in Banff, Canada, a truly beautiful location! Chris’s talk was titled “(111)-oriented Stranski-Krastanov Quantum Dots Optimized for Entangled Photon Emission,” Katie’s talk was titled “Tensile-Strained Ge Quantum Dots on (111)A Surfaces,” and Kevin’s talk was titled “Acoustic Nanostructures for Charge Carrier Confinement in GaAs/AlxGa1-xAs Multiple Quantum Wells.” All three research presentations were excellent and generated interesting discussions and possible future collaborations!

In addition, Dr. Simmonds won the 2018 Young Investigator Award at the conference “for the development of growth techniques for non-(001) surfaces and novel self-assembled nanostructures.” Sponsored by the NAMBE Advisory Board, this award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the science and technology of MBE, or enabled by MBE, by the age of 40 and show promise of future leadership in the field.  The award consists of a plaque and a check for $1,000. To join the list of eminent scientists who have won this award in previous years is a huge honor!


 

July 2018

Two CEN undergraduate researchers presented their work at Summer Research Community events at Boise State. Ariel Weltner presented a poster on doping calibration in III-V semiconductors at the 2018 Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR). Trent Garrett gave a talk on scaling analysis of self-assembled quantum dots at the Summer Research Symposium. Both presentations were of a very high standard, and underscore the excellent research both Ariel and Trent have been doing this year.


April 2018

We are extremely excited to announce a recent spate of awards to CEN members!

  • Christopher Schuck – Honorary Award in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at Boise State University.
  • Kevin VallejoBraslau Family Travel Award through the American Physical Society.
  • Kevin VallejoMicron School of Materials Science & Engineering Award at the Boise State University Graduate Student Showcase.
  • Trent Garrett – LSAMP Research Experience for Undergraduates (LSAMP REU) award.
  • Trent GarrettMcNair Scholarship award.

We are so proud of all of these achievements. Keep up the amazing work!


March 2018

image of Christopher Schuck

Congratulations to Christopher Schuck on publishing his first journal article!! His paper, titled “Self-assembly of (111)-oriented tensile-strained quantum dots by molecular beam epitaxy” describes the results of his experiments to understand how tensile-strained GaAs quantum dots self-assemble on InAlAs(111)A surfaces, and hence to identify the best conditions for growth. You can read the full article in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B.


March 2018

APS Physics imageKatie Sautter, Kevin Vallejo and Dr. Simmonds attended the APS March Meeting in Los Angeles. Katie presented a paper on her research at Boise State entitled “Tensile-Strained Germanium Quantum Dots on (111) Surfaces,” while Kevin’s talk “Reference Frame Dependence in Ontological Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics” discussed philosophical research he carried out during his undergraduate studies. Both talks were excellent. We also heard many inspiring talks on a wide range of topics in Physics and are inspired to get back into the lab! 


February 2018

three and four year-old future scientistsWe had some very special visitors to the CEN this week: some three and four year-old future scientists from the Boise State Children’s Center (including Dr. Simmonds’ son Felix)! We looked around the lab and talked about what all the interesting things were, then we drew some pictures of the big machine, and finally we made a magnet fly using a superconductor and some liquid nitrogen. It was a lot of fun to have such young visitors in the lab.


February 2018

image of Katie SautterCongratulations to Katie Sautter for winning a travel award for $400 from ASBSU! Katie will use this money to partly fund her travel to the 2018 APS March Meeting in Los Angeles, where she will present a talk on her research into tensile-strained germanium quantum dots.


January 2018

image of SPIE Photonics logoDr. Simmonds gave an invited talk at this year’s SPIE Photonics West conference, held in San Francisco. His talk, titled “Tensile-strained self-assembly of quantum dots for entangled photon sources and band-structure engineering” provided a summary of his research into tensile-strained self-assembly and its potential applications.


January 2018

P4: Physics and Preservice Teacher Partnership ProjectTogether with his Boise State collaborators Dr. Julianne Wenner (College of Education) and Dr. Megan Frary (College of Engineering/Graduate College), Dr. Simmonds gave a presentation entitled  “P4: Physics and Preservice Teacher Partnership Project,” at the Great Ideas for Teaching and Learning Symposium. Their presentation discussed recent results from their ongoing study into interdisciplinary partnerships between MSE graduate students, physics and education undergraduates, and local elementary schools. This was a really great opportunity to exchange ideas with other instructors about ways we can make our teaching and classrooms more inclusive and hence effective for all students.


 

October 2017

Graduate student Christopher Schuck and Dr. Simmonds

Chris Schuck (center) receiving his Outstanding Student Paper award at the NAMBE 2017 from (left) the Conference Chair, Dr. Alex Freundlich (University of Houston), and (right) the Program Committee Chair, Dr. Ganesh Balakrishnan (University of New Mexico). Photo courtesy of Dr. Charles Tu (University of California, San Diego).

Graduate student Christopher Schuck and Dr. Simmonds attended the 33rd North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy (NAMBE) conference in Galveston, TX. It was another great conference, but made even better by the fact that Chris won the NAMBE Outstanding Student Paper award for his talk, entitled “Self-assembly of (111)-oriented quantum dots tailored for entangled photon emission.” This is a great achievement and speaks to the quality of Chris’s research. Congratulations Chris!


September 2017Image of What is Physical Entitiy book

One of our newest members, Kevin Vallejo has an abstract accepted at the “What is a Physical Entity” colloquium, to be held at the Centre of Philosophy at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Kevin’s paper discusses the application of frames of reference from relativistic physics to ways of thinking about the world. It is exciting to have members of the group whose intellectual pursuits cross disciplines.


September 2017Image of NSTA logo

Dr. Simmonds’ most recent paper, entitled “Two Departments, Two Models of Interdisciplinary Peer Learning” is published in the Journal of College Science Teaching. The paper discusses an exciting new educational projects that Dr. Simmonds has developed in collaboration with Dr. Julianne Wenner in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies. These projects allow physics students the opportunity to expand their communication and teaching skills by working with students in the College of Education. You can read the paper here.


August 2017Image of B statue in front of Admin Building

As we start a new school year, we are excited to welcome some new people to the CEN. Katie Sautter joins us from Penn State University to pursue her MSE PhD, working on tensile-strained germanium nanostructures. Kevin Vallejo joins us from the University of Texas at El Paso, to pursue his MSE PhD, working on ultra-low band gap tensile-strained nanostructures. Kati Wada, a physics undergraduate also joins us, and her experience with Raman spectroscopy will be very helpful as we seek to broaden our optical characterization capabilities. Welcome everyone and have a great semester!


July 2017Department of Energy logo

We are pleased to report that we have received funding through the U.S. Department of Energy Laboratory Directed Research Development (LDRD) program for a project entitled “Exciton Delocalization and Exciton Coherence in Chromophores and Acoustic Nanostructures.” In collaboration with Dr. David Hurley (Idaho National Laboratory), and Drs. William Knowlton and Bernard Yurke (Boise State University), we will compare Frenkel exciton behavior in dye molecules with Wannier-Mott exciton behavior in semiconductor quantum well nanostructures. The CEN will mainly contribute to the second of these components, growing quantum well heterostructures to explore interactions between excitons and ultrahigh frequency surface acoustic waves.


July 2017

Image of Hall effect measurement system

© Wikipedia

Joe Spinuzzi presented a poster at the 2017 Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR). Joe’s poster describes his work setting up a Hall effect measurement system in the CEN, and the calibration data set he obtained for a series of n-doped GaAs samples. Joe’s hard work will benefit the whole group in the future as we grow doped samples with very specific doping densities. After ICUR, Joe’s poster will be on display outside the CEN so come and take a look!


June 2017Image of Carlos Cabrera Perdomo

Carlos Cabrera Perdomo, our recent visitor from Mexico, has just published an interesting paper on graphene/h-BN heterostructures. His model shows that by carefully controlling the doping and structure of these 2D superlattices it is possible to greatly enhance the resonant tunneling current. Congratulations Carlos!


March 2017Image of APS Physics logo

Dr. Simmonds attends the American Physical Society March Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, to chair session C36: Electronic and Transport Phenomena of Nanostructures II, and give two talks: Physics & Preservice Teachers Partnership Project (P4): An interdisciplinary peer learning tool and Bulk InAlAs(111)A as a novel material system for pure, single photon emission. The APS March meeting is one of the largest annual meetings, bringing together nearly 10,000 scientists from all over the world to share groundbreaking research from industry, universities, and major labs.


December 2016image of Dr. Simmonds' most recent paper, entitled "Review Article: Molecular beam epitaxy of lattice-matched InAlAs and InGaAs layers on InP (111)A, (111)B, and (110)"

Dr. Simmonds’ most recent paper, entitled “Review Article: Molecular beam epitaxy of lattice-matched InAlAs and InGaAs layers on InP (111)A, (111)B, and (110)” is published in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B. The paper reviews the state of the art for growing these materials, and presents strategies for optimizing their properties based on our experiments. You can read Dr. Simmonds article here.


November 2016x-ray diffraction measurements

Joe Spinuzzi receives a Higher Education Research Council (HERC) Fellowship to support his work in the CEN during the Spring 2017 semester. The HERC Fellowship is a paid, 10-week research experience offered to students by the Institute for STEM & Diversity Initiatives at Boise State. This fellowship gives students a $3,000 stipend, additional travel funds, and the opportunity to present at the 2017 Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR). Joe will be performing material characterization, for example Hall and x-ray diffraction measurements, to help us understand the materials we have grown.


October 2016Air Force of Office of Scientific Research logo

Dr. Simmonds receives a funding from the Air Force of Office of Scientific Research! In collaboration with Dr. Christian Ratsch (UCLA) and Dr. Michael Scheibner (UC Merced), the award will fund a three year research project that focuses on using tensile strain to transform germanium into a direct band gap semiconductor.
You can read more about the award here: Upgrading an element by stretching it..


September 2016nambe. image of how nanoclusters that form spontaneously during the growth of certain semiconductor materials can be used to generate single photons on demand

Dr. Simmonds’ most recent paper, entitled “Bulk AlInAs on InP(111) as a novel material system for pure single photon emission” is published in the journal Optics Express. The paper describes how nanoclusters that form spontaneously during the growth of certain semiconductor materials can be used to generate single photons on demand. You can read the full article “Bulk AlInAs on InP(111) as a novel material system for pure single photon emission” here.


August 2016 journal_cover Applied Physics Express

Dr. Simmonds received a kind acknowledgement in a recent paper in Applied Physics Express, written by Bor-Chau Juang et al. at UCLA. The paper is entitled “Characterization of GaSb photodiode for gamma-ray detection” and you can read the full article here.


Image of Robin McCownJuly 2016

Congratulations to Robin McCown who has just been awarded a prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship! This Fellowship will allow her to travel to France and work on low band gap semiconductors in the group of Prof. Eric Tournié at the University of Montpellier. The Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Health aims to initiate or reinforce collaborations, partnerships or joint projects between French and American research teams, and supports PhD students registered in an American university who wish to conduct part of their doctoral research in a French laboratory. Here is a nice write up about Robin’s award on Boise State Update.


July 2016Image of Dr. Simmonds' recent book chapter in the "Handbook of Measurement in Science and Engineering"

Dr. Simmonds’ recent book chapter in the “Handbook of Measurement in Science and Engineering” is highlighted in Boise State University’s “Update“. Dr. Simmonds’ chapter covers the rather broad topic of “Nanomaterials Properties” and looks at how the behavior of many common materials can change dramatically as their size is reduced to the nanoscale. Excitingly, Dr. Byung Kim from Physics also has a chapter in this book, describing some of his very nice magnetic measurement techniques.

 


May 2016Image of Kenton Burns

Congratulations to Kenton Burns on receiving his B.S. in Physics at Spring Commencement! Kent will be starting his Ph.D. studies at the University of Arkansas in the Fall. We will be very sad to see him go, but are excited for him at this next stage in his career.


April 2016 imageo of the "B" outside the admin building

Dr. Simmonds and our research in CEN is highlighted in the Boise State University “Change Agents” advertising campaign featured in the Chronicle for Higher Education.


April 2016Image of Robin McCown and Chris Schuck

Robin McCown and Chris Schuck take part in the inaugural “3 Minute Thesis” competition at Boise State, giving a  summary of their research to a mainstream audience in just three minutes! This is definitely a challenging task and they both did a brilliant job. It was a great event and really exciting to get a snapshot of some of the amazing research being done at Boise State in Musicology, Geology, Fine Arts and Materials Science to name just a few.


March 2016Dr Müllner (MSE Chair) was kind enough to present this great honor of a cream pie to the face.

In celebration of Pi Day, Dr. Simmonds “wins” the annual Pie-a-Professor competition to raise money for the MSE Student Club at Boise State. Dr Müllner (MSE Chair) was kind enough to present this great honor of a cream pie to the face.


January 2016

Image of Paul Simmonds, CAREER Award, Physics, Photo by Allison Corona

Photo: Allison Corona

Dr. Simmonds receives a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation! The award will fund a five year research project that focuses on using self-assembled quantum dot nanostructures to generate quantum-entangled photons.
You can read more about the award here: NSF CAREER award funds quantum research.


September 2015Image of BYU Physics and Astronomy logo

Dr. Simmonds visits Brigham Young University to give an invited talk entitled “Tensile strained nanostructures for advanced optoelectronics and band engineering” at the Physics department colloquium.


October 2015Image of banner for North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy (NAMBE) conference

Dr. Simmonds attends the North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy (NAMBE) conference in Mexico. This conference is a great opportunity to learn about the latest research in the field, and Dr. Simmonds presents a paper discussing the emission of photons with low fine-structure splitting from tensile-strained quantum dots on (111)-oriented surfaces. This project was carried out in collaboration with groups at Yale University, UCLA, and the University of Würzburg.


March 2015Image of APS Physics logo

Dr. Simmonds attends the American Physical Society March Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, to chair session F13 Quantum Dots, Wires And Wells: Electronic Phenomena. The APS March meeting is one of the largest annual meetings, bringing together nearly 10,000 scientists from all over the world to share groundbreaking research from industry, universities, and major labs.


February 2015

Image of Dr. Simmonds (right) working with undergraduate Kenton Burns on the MBE system.

Dr. Simmonds (right) works with undergraduate Kenton Burns on the MBE system.

The CEN gets a nice write up in Boise State University UPDATE. The article describes some of Dr. Simmonds research interests and aims, and the technique of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) that the group uses to synthesize their novel nanomaterials.
You can read the full article here: Improving energy efficiency one atom at a time.