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From the Department Head

Nitin Samarth

Welcome to Physics@Penn State! I am proud to belong to a department of innovative scientists, inspiring teachers, creative students, and accomplished alumni. Whether you are an alumnus, friend, prospective student or a casual visitor, I invite you to browse our website and learn about the exciting discoveries Penn State physicists are making at the frontiers of knowledge.

We also seek to attract faculty, graduate students and postdocs to join our department. If you are interested in becoming part of our community, please consult the "Jobs" tab on our web page for current opportunities.

— Nitin Samarth, George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head

nsamarth [at] psu [dot] edu

Meet Our Faculty

Portrait of Jun Zhu

Jun Zhu

I am an experimentalist studying the electronic properties of low dimensional materials and nanostructures. My projects currently focus on layered materials such as graphene, MoS2 and WSe2. These atomically thin materials possess unique electronic structures that lead to novel collective phenomena in two dimensions and create opportunities for new device concepts that are based on bottom-up, layer-by-layer assembly. We seek to understand the properties of pristine materials and exploit the role of substrate, defect, interface, stacking and heterojunctions to create new physics and functionalities, combining synthesis, nanofabrication, low-temperature transport and a suite of powerful characterization techniques. 

Research experience for undergraduates

The department provides many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in research. Direct research experience is exciting, and a great way to prepare for careers in science and engineering.

Wei Huang makes adjustments to a microwave-electronicassembly for a laser spectroscopy setup used in a Bose-Einstein condensationapparatus.

If you're interested in doing research, feel free to explore the research programs in the department and our Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program.

Physics@PennState among very best in the United States

According to a multi-year study released by the National Research Council (NRC) in 2010, we are in the top echelon of physics departments in the United States. The NRC used a broad range of measurements to rank the performance of graduate programs across hundreds of universities — its first such rankings in 15 years. A conservative interpretation of the study places us in the top 10-15 in the country. A detailed exploration of rankings using different criteria is available at the phds.org website. We also invite you to visit the Eberly College of Science website for a comprehensive overview about the NRC rankings for all departments in our college.