Physics Research at ACU

Involvement in physics research sets ACU physics majors apart from undergraduates at many other universities. Our students are not merely observers in the research process; they are active, well-trained participants who are entrusted with key responsibilities.

Each summer, teams of ACU undergrads work alongside graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, ACU professors and internationally-renowned physicists on cutting-edge nuclear physics research experiments at national laboratories. Other ACU physics majors serve as research assistants in on-campus solid state physics research. ACU undergraduate physics students have co-authored more than 100 published research articles based on these projects.

  • Brookhaven National Laboratory: Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider
    A recent study ranked physics research based on the number of papers published and the number of citations. The number one research lab in the world for hadron physics is Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island, New York, where ACU's Nuclear Physics Research team works on the PHENIX experiment. Abilene Christian University is listed as a collaborating institution on three of the top 20 most-cited papers on hadron physics over the past ten years, based on our work at BNL.

  • PHENIX (Pioneering High Energy Nuclear Interaction eXperiment)
    ACU faculty and students are part of a group of more than 500 scientists and engineers from around the world collaborating on this experiment, which studies quark-gluon plasma and the properties of matter under extreme temperatures and pressures.

  • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
    Fermilab, located outside Chicago, Illinois, is the world's second-highest-energy particle accelerator and collider. (The highest-energy accelerator is the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.) In summer research at Fermilab, ACU students simulate the collision of a high-energy proton beam with liquid deuterium in preparation for building a detector that will carefully study the particles that emerge from this collision. The experiment is working to determine the number of anti-up and anti-down quarks inside a proton.

  • Fermilab Experiment 906
    This is the follow up experiment to the very successful Fermilab E866/NuSe.

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Located in northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory is a research institution for the National Nuclear Security Administration. Its primary function is developing scientific and engineering solutions to solve national security challenges involving U.S. nuclear deterrent. Other research at Los Alamos involves work in bioscience, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, materials sciences and physics.

  • NIFFTE (Neutron-Induced Fission Fragment Tracking Experiment)
    ACU physics students and faculty are important contributors to this collaborative project, which studies neutron-induced fission in order to improve the design, safety and sustainability of nuclear energy.

  • ACU Solid State Research Lab
    The ACU Physics Department operates an on-campus solid state physics research lab in the Foster Science Building at ACU. In 2009 this laboratory received equipment valued at over $120,000 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for ACU's collaboration on solid state research projects.

  • Measurement of the acoustic properties of CaWO4 using phonon-imaging technique
    In collaboration with Bowdoin College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this study aims to provide a more precise set of elastic constants for CaWO4 to researchers in the CRESST collaboration.

  • Phonon-imaging study of superconducting Tin
    This project uses the phonon-imaging technique to investigate the cause of long thermalization times observed in superconducting Tin. This research has application in the fast detection of gamma rays in a new type of gamma ray spectrometer that uses superconducting Tin to stop the gamma rays.
  • Conference Experience for Undergraduates (CEU)
    Held during the annual fall meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Nuclear Physics, the CEU gives undergraduate students the opportunity to present their research in nuclear or particle physics at a national conference among peers and distinguished scientists.