- Your guide to graduate programs in physics, astronomy, and other physical sciences

Department of Physics

139 Physics Building, Box 90305
Science Drive, Duke University
Durham, NC  27708-0305
Email the Department
(919) 660-2500
(919) 660-2525 (fax)

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2016-2017 graduate programs in physics, astronomy, and other physical sciences

Duke University

Department of Physics

Application deadline Application fee General GRE GRE Physics
Domestic: Fall: Dec 31 Domestic: $80 Yes, required.
Yes, required.
International: Fall: Dec 31 International: $80    

Research Specialties

Specialties for Degree Program

Research specialty Degree type
(Final degree/Enroute to PhD)
Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics Experimental -
Biophysics Both -
Geometry and Theoretical Physics Theoretical -
High Energy Physics Experimental -
Medical, Health Physics Both -
Nanophysics Both -
Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems Both -
Nuclear and Particle Theory Theoretical -
Nuclear Physics Experimental -
Photonics and Quantum Information Experimental -
Physics of Beams Both -
Relativity & Gravitation Theoretical -

Departmental Research and Staff





Generation, storage, and learning of temporal sequences in songbirds in terms of experimentally known anatomy, physiology, and connectivity of neurons in a songbird's brain. Structure and function of complex dynamical networks, especially genetic regulatory networks. Information transfer between complex networks.
Nicolas Buchler, Henry Greenside, Joshua Socolar

Computational Physics

Computational physics; numerical techniques for solving non-linear partial differential equations; Monte Carlo algorithms in field theory and statistical mechanics; molecular dynamics; networks; large-scale computations on vector and parallel computers. Computational methods in fluid dynamics, material sciences, plasma physics, and geophysical flow; emergent behavior in flocking and swarming; numerical analysis and scientific computing.
Harold Baranger, Steffen Bass, Robert Brown, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Patrick Charbonneau, Henry Greenside, Jian-Guo Liu, Weitao Yang

Cosmology & String Theory

String theory; geometry of space-time, supersymmetry and duality; mirror symmetry, general relativity.
Paul Aspinwall, Hubert Bray, Arlie Petters, M. Plesser


Coherence and correlations in nanoscale systems like quantum dots and carbon nanotubes; coulomb blockade; quantum impurity effects; quantum phase transitions; quantum computing quantum entanglement; quantum information; thermodynamics of materials; density functional theory.
Harold Baranger, David Beratan, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Stefano Curtarolo, Weitao Yang

Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems

Non-linear and complex systems; computational studies of non-linear and biological systems including genetic networks, heart and brain dynamics; collective behavior in matter and dynamical systems; spin glasses and glasses; adaptive algorithms; static and dynamic critical behavior in optics and magnetism; granular materials network dynamics; fractal growth; granular matter; in- and out-of-equilibrium dynamical properties of materials self-assembly; microphase formation; protein aggregation; glass and gel formation; stochastic dynamics of far-from-equilibrium systems.
Nicolas Buchler, Patrick Charbonneau, Henry Greenside, Jian-Guo Liu, Joshua Socolar, Stephen Teitsworth

Particles and Fields

Quantum chromodynamics and weak interactions; heavy quark physics; quark-gluon plasma; heavy-ion collisions; effective field theories of particle and nuclear interactions; lattice field theories and Monte Carlo simulations; strongly coupled field theories; thermalization.
Steffen Bass, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Thomas Mehen, Berndt Mueller, Roxanne Springer


Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics

Slow, fast, and stored light; quantum optics; single photon switching; quantum information; optical noise; optoelectronics; new technologies for optical communication; electromagnetic properties of materials; photonic crystals and metamaterials; molecular and biomolecular imaging.
Daniel Gauthier, Jungsang Kim, David Smith, Warren Warren


Emergent properties and tissue dynamics; fast thermodynamics in laser-tissue interactions; applications of free-electron lasers to biology and medicine; characterization and control of heart dynamics; stochastic processes in biological systems; optical analysis of molecular dynamics in single synapses; optical stimulation of single synapses; development of high-resolution imaging techniques; evolution of bistable and oscillatory dynamics in gene networks.
Nicolas Buchler, Glenn Edwards, Bruce West

High Energy Physics

Precision tests of the Standard Model using the top quark, W, Z, and Higgs bosons; searches for new fundamental symmetries and extra dimensions; tests of the QCD hadron production models; studies of neutrino properties; searches for proton decay; neutrino astrophysics; research program based at Fermilab, CERN, and in Japan; state-of-the-art wire chamber and silicon detector development and construction; electronics design for high-energy physics experiments.
Ayana Arce, Alfred Goshaw, Ashutosh Kotwal, Mark Kruse, Seog Oh, Kate Scholberg, Christopher Walter

Medical, Health Physics

Biomedical imaging; magnetic resonance imaging; magnetic resonance microscopy, X-ray microscopy, tomography, and microPET; X-ray imaging, breast tomosynthesis, dual-energy imaging, Monte Carlo simulation; radiation dose and image quality; imaging optimization.
James Dobbins, Bastiaan Driehuys, Allan Johnson, Ehsan Samei

Nano Science and Technology

Electronic properties of carbon nanotubes, nanocrystals, semiconductor quantum dots, and self-assembled DNA structures; physics of Luttinger liquids; scanning tunneling; capacitance and atomic force microscopy; optoelectronic processes in semiconductor microstructures; subpicosecond optical characterization of nanostructures; nanometer-scale photonic, plasmonic, and phononic band engineering; solid-state spintronics, quantum information science, nanophotonics; non-linear electronic transport in semiconductor nanostructures.
Albert Chang, Henry Everitt, Gleb Finkelstein, Daniel Gauthier, Maiken Mikkelsen, David Smith, Stephen Teitsworth

Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems

Non-linear and complex systems; granular materials; dynamics of granular flow; quantum chaos in classical wave systems; chaotic networks; pattern formation and spatio-temporal chaos in far-from-equilibrium fluids and electronic systems; Rayleigh-Bernard convection.
Robert Behringer, Nicolas Buchler, Karen Daniels, Daniel Gauthier, Stephen Teitsworth

Nuclear Physics

QCD and weak interactions in nuclear physics; nucleon structure and nucleon-nucleon interactions; physics of few nucleon systems; electromagnetic nuclear physics; radiative capture reactions using polarized proton and deuteron beams; testing QCD with high-intensity gamma-ray source; fundamental symmetry studies with ultra-cold neutrons and the search for neutron electric dipole moment; neutrino oscillations using detectors at KAMLAND; double beta-decay; nuclear astrophysics.
Mohammad Ahmed, Philip Barbeau, Haiyan Gao, Calvin Howell, Anton Tonchev

Photonics and Quantum Information

High-data-rate quantum key distribution; high-brightness hyper-entangled sources; multi-mode quantum communication; multi-element photon counting detector development; solid-state spin qubits.
Henry Everitt, Daniel Gauthier, Jungsang Kim, Maiken Mikkelsen, David Skatrud, David Smith

Physics of Beams

Beam physics; FEL and novel light source development; high-intensity gamma-ray source; FEL applications; plasma accelerators.
Tom Katsouleas, Ying Wu