Research Groups in the ISU Physics Department

Our department specializes in offering cutting-edge research experiences to our physics majors. We have a dynamic group of researchers exploring a wide variety of exciting phenomena from basic quantum physics to applied materials science to space and astrophysics. Peruse the links below to discover some of the amazing things our student researchers are doing.

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics

Intense Laser Physics Theory Unit


Professors Grobe and Su
Research on the interaction of laser light with matter.


Metastable Helium Lab

Mestable Lab

Professor Rutherford
Experimental research in ionizing reactions of excited, long-lived helium atoms.

Mathematical Physics

Mathematical Physics

Mechanical Physics

Professor Hassani
Theoretical quantum field theory research and mathematical physics pedagogy.



Materials Physics

Experimental Solid State Physics Lab

marx Lab

Professor Marx
Experimental investigation of photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, nanotechnology, and similar materials.

Space Physics

Center for Research and Instruction in Space Physics


Professors Holland, Martin , and Matsuoka
Computational research in space physics and nonlinear dynamics.

Statistical Mechanics and Thermal Physics

Statistical Mechanics


Professor Matsuoka
Computational research on many body physics such as phase transitions in microclusters.


Non-linear Dynamics and Chaos

Chaotic Circuits and Systems


Professor Clark
Experimental and Computational research in chaos in electronic circuits and other systems.

Synchronization of Chaos


Professor Rosa Computational and Experimental research in phase synchronization of chaos

Chaotic Waterwheel

water wheel

Professor Rutherford
Experimental investigation of a simple, mechanical, chaotic system.