People

Spring 2018 Physics Gala, from left to right: Zachary Yoder, Rigo Carrasco, Pablo Paradis, Dr. Stefan Zollner, Dr. Candi Cook, Nuwanjula Samarasingha, Travis Willett-Gies, Cayla Nelson, Farzin Abadizaman, Carola Emminger, Nathan Nunley

Faculty

Photo of Dr. Stefan Zollner
Dr. Stefan Zollner
Academic Department Head and Professor New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Originally from Regensburg (Germany), Dr. Stefan Zollner received his Ph.D. in Physics from Universität Stuttgart (Germany) in 1991. After a postdoctoral appointment at the IBM Research Division in Yorktown Heights, NY, he joined Iowa State University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, with a joint appointment at Ames Laboratory (US-DOE). From 1997 to 2010, he worked for various semiconductor wafer manufacturers (Motorola, Freescale, IBM), in Mesa and Tempe, AZ, Austin, TX, and East Fishkill, NY, in research and development of silicon CMOS, bipolar, and compound semiconductor devices for applications in smartphone devices. He joined New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, in 2010 as Head of the Department of Physics. Dr. Zollner is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and an IEEE senior member. He serves on the Board of the New Mexico Consortium, a non-profit linking the three state research universities with Los Alamos National Laboratory (US-DOE). He is an author of 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and has an h-index of 31. His research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and investigates the optical properties, band structure, and lattice dynamics of modern materials with applications for semiconductor process control, energy production and storage, and advanced electronic and optoelectronic devices.

Graduate Students

Photo of Farzin Abadizaman
Farzin Abadizaman
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Farzin received his master’s degree in Elementary Particle Physics from the University of Tehran in 2011.  In pursuit of his Ph.D., he joined Dr. Zollner’s ellipsometry group at NMSU in 2015 with aspirations to start a career in industry.  He is conducting research on the characterization of thin films through ellipsometry and X-ray diffraction. Currently, he is interested in applying Mueller Matrix (MM) ellipsometry to investigate the temperature dependence of the magnetic properties of isotropic and anisotropic metals and semiconductors.

In addition to his education, Farzin is a well-rounded person and is always looking to grow.  He is enjoying all the opportunities the Land of Enchantment has to offer.  His bucket list includes: riding a balloon, learning to play the violin, as well as learning to fish and dance.

Photo of Rigo Carrasco
Rigo Carrasco
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Rigo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Berkeley in spring 2017. He joined Dr. Zollner’s research group as a graduate student in summer 2017. His current interests are the temperature dependence and strain effects on the dielectric functions of semiconductor alloys. He hopes to work in a national laboratory to continue conducting research in condensed matter physics.

Photo of Carola Emminger
Carola Emminger
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Carola received her master’s degree in Technical Physics from Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, where she completed her master thesis at the Center for Surface- and Nanoanalytics. In the course of her master studies, she spent four months at NMSU to work in Dr. Zollner’s research group on temperature dependent investigations of bulk Ge in spring 2017. After she completes her master in Linz, she returned to Las Cruces to join the ellipsometry group and to continue with a Ph.D. at NMSU. Currently, she is interested on the analysis of bulk substrates.

Photo of Nuwanjula Samarasingha
Nuwanjula Samarasingha
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Is currently a graduate student at New Mexico State University. Before coming to the New Mexico State University, she earned, her bachelor’s degrees in Physics from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2013. During her 3rd year as an undergraduate, she had to do a seminar as a course requirement, She chose the topic of “Magnetic Bubbles” as she was curious about this field. During the course of preparation for the seminar, she gained invaluable knowledge on bubble memory, magnetic thin films, magnetic storage technologies and many other interdisciplinary fields of physics. The impact it caused had her thinking of an area for a research project, which is a requirement for the honors degree. Following an extensive literature survey, she selected the topic of “Synthesis and characterization of magnetic polymer thin films”. This project enabled her to gain the skills of literature survey, working in a research laboratory, and scientific writing, in addition to the knowledge she gained on the relevant area of physics.

She is currently employed as a teaching assistant in the Department of Physics, New Mexico State University. In addition to her teaching duties, she is doing research on the structural and optical properties of materials. During the last year, she has learned about characterization techniques for materials, including taking x-ray diffraction, x-ray reflectivity, and ellipsometry measurements. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in New Mexico State University in the field of condensed matter physics, in order to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a researcher and scientist.

Undergraduate Students

Photo of Pablo Paradis
Pablo Paradis
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityEngineering Physics
Pablo is a third year student studying physics and electrical engineering. During the 2018-2019 schoolyear he was concerned about optical constants of IR detector materials and anodic oxidation. During the 2017-2018 schoolyear he was working on extracting optical properties of doped multilayer structures. He plans to graduate in Spring 2020 and work as an electrical engineering for a government research agency.
Photo of Zachary Yoder
Zachary Yoder
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Zachary is currently a second year student majoring in Physics and Chemistry at NMSU. Due to classes at the local early college he has accrued enough credits to finish his BS in Physics in two years. He began assisting with research in summer of 2017, and is looking forward to beginning some research of his own. His goal is to do research while working towards his second Bachelor’s degree and eventually a Master’s degree in Physics while at NMSU. Working with the graduate students in the optics lab has served to increase his knowledge on the field of optical physics as well as give experience with the machines that are used by scientists in the field of Physics. He hopes to use this experience to eventually begin some research of his own and perhaps travel to other laboratories across the country to assist with other research.

Photo of Cesy Zamarripa
Cesy Zamarripa
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityEngineering Physics

Cesy is a third-year undergraduate student. She is a double major in Physics and Mathematics. Cesy began research in fall 2017, and looks forward to expanding her knowledge. So far Cesy has begun to perform measurements utilizing an X-ray Diffractometer and two types of ellipsometers, to analyze the crystal structure of various materials and the optical properties of thin film. Cesy plans to earn her bachelor’s degree at NMSU and hopes to continue on to graduate school as well.

Former Graduate Students

Lina Abdallah
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Ph.D. in Physics, fall 2014.

Currently process engineer (photolithography) at Intel in Oregon.

Christine Acheampong
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Graduate researcher, 2012-2013

Currently attending University of Ghana, for Physics in Legon Ghana

Photo of Nalin Fernando
Nalin Fernando
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Nalin Fernando received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics (September 2009) from University of Colombo in Sri Lanka and M.S degree in Physics (summer 2013) from New Mexico State University. He joined Dr. Zollner ellipsometry group in summer 2013 and pursuing a Ph.D in Material Science with research focusing on optical characterization of group-IV semiconductor alloys using spectroscopic ellipsometry and high resolution X-ray diffraction for the design of Ge-based photonic devices. His main focus has been on tunable band gaps and optical properties of Ge-Si-Sn alloy epilayers on Ge, Si, GaAs substrates, grown by MBE/CVD as a function of composition, strain and temperature (20-800 K). He uses deformation potential theory to predict the compositional, strain and temperature dependent optical properties of the alloys and theoretical predictions are experimentally validated using spectroscopic ellipsometry (FTIR, UV-Visible) and X-ray diffraction (HRXRD, XRD, XRR).

In addition, He has also been involved with a computational modeling research for two years (August 2011- June 2013) on design of ultra-low temperature car exhaust catalyst using Pd-Pt alloys, where the density functional theory (DFT) implemented in Vienna Ab-initio Simulation Package (VASP) was used to study the interactions of Pd, Pt clusters with support Ď’-Al2O3 surface. His programming skills in FORTRAN, experience in high performance computing and computational modeling background help him succeed in his current research.

Ph.D. in Physics, spring 2017.

Currently, LTD process engineer at Intel in Oregon.

 

Photo of Nathan Nunley
Nathan Nunley
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Nathan received his MS in Physics in the summer of 2016. He worked on the characterizations of several oxides. He completed a BS degree in Engineering Physics with a Chemical Engineering concentration in the spring of 2015 from NMSU. His interests going forward are currently the description of light-matter interactions.

Currently a Ph.D student at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Cesar Rodriguez
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Cesar Rodriguez received his MS in Physics with a concentration in space physics in the summer of 2016. He received a BS in Engineering Physics with the mechanical engineering concentration in the fall of 2014. His research has focused on studying the optical and electrical properties of strontium titanate (SrTiO3) thin films. Cesar will be moving out to San Diego, CA, with his wife to look for employment and learn how to surf.

Hasan Salehi
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Graduate researcher 2014-2015. Left New Mexico State University to continue at University of Houston.

Photo of Maria Spies
Maria Spies
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Graduate researcher 2010-2012

Currently a Ph.D student at CEA/ CNRS/ UGA in Grenoble, France.

Dennis Trujillo
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Graduate researcher 2014-2015

Received Bachelor of Science in Physics from New Mexico State University.

Now working at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Travis Willett-Gies
Graduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Graduate researcher 2012-2104. MS in Physics, summer 2014.

Currently working for ATA Aerospace JV in Albuquerque New Mexico.

Former Undergraduate Students

Luis Barrera
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Undergraduate researcher 2014-2015

 

Jacqueline (Jackie) Cooke
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics
Is a talented individual who is working toward her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Physics with Dr. Stefan Zollner as her mentor she is currently doing research in Material Science and Ellipsometry.
Most recently she has worked as a Student Assistant for the University of Utah Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. As well as, a Student Assistant for the Physics Department at New Mexico State University. In addition to working as an undergraduate Intern for the Standards and Calibration Laboratory (ASM-SCL Division) at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos NM.
Jacqueline also enjoys volunteering for robotics competitions, bike riding, rock climbing, hiking, camping, drawing, playing card games and cooking.
Eric Delong
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Undergraduate researcher from 2012-Spring 2014

Graduated with B.S. from NMSU

Alexandra Hartman
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Alexandra will graduate in May of 2017 with a B.A. in physics. She has been investigating optical properties of thin films and oxide layers on different substrates. She has also worked with department on recruitment events and reached out to the public schools in Las Cruces to give demonstrations to students. Alexandra has been actively involved with the society of physics students group on campus to support student outreach and volunteering.

Photo of Dominik Martens
Dominik Martens
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Dominik Martens will graduate in May 2017 with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. He gained insight into ellipsometry during an internship at Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung in Dresden Germany where he focused on researching glass transition temperatures of polymers. Dominik is going to do research with Dr. Zollner in Spring 2017. After receiving his Bachelors, he aims to carry on with his master’s degree in Germany.

Currently a MS student in Physics at the University in Erlangen, Germany.

Amber Medina
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Undergraduate researcher 2011-2012

Currently a Ph.D student in astronomy at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Photo of Khadijih Mitchell
Khadijih Mitchell
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Undergraduate researcher 2013-2016.

Received B.S. in physics with minor in mathematics from New Mexico State University. Currently a graduate student in the college of education at University of Colorado Boulder.

 

Jaime Moya
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Jaime is working towards his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics with a concentration in Aerospace Engineering.  His research at NMSU has been on the investigation of optical and structural properties of metals, transition metals, and metal oxides using X-ray diffraction, X-ray reflectivity and ellipsometry.

As well as being an undergraduate research assistant, Jaime is the Vice President of the Aerospace Engineering honors society, Sigma Gamma Tau, and has worked as a peer-learning assistant and a tutor.  During the 2016 summer, he worked in the Energetic Materials: Dynamic and Reactive Science group as an undergraduate summer intern at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, characterizing explosive thin films.

Cayla Nelson
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Undergraduate researcher 2011-2014.

Received a BS in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Physics (Electrical Engineering concentration) in May 2014. Currently Ph.D student in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM.

Photo of Laura Pineda
Laura Pineda
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Received a BS in Engineering Physics (Chemical Engineering concentration) in May of 2015.

Currently a lieutenant in the US Air Force, based on Albuquerque, NM.

 

 

Troy Powell
Undergraduate Student New Mexico State UniversityPhysics

Troy Powell will graduate in May 2017 with his B.S. in Physics from New Mexico State University. After gaining an introduction to x-ray diffraction and ellipsometry, he maintains a strong interest in the optical properties of semiconductors and plans to continue with undergraduate level research in the field. Currently working at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) performing unclassified research, he expects to continue working at SNL, eventually moving to the field of optical physics and material sciences.

Visiting Students and Researchers

Dr. Sudeshna Chattopadhyay
Visiting researcher, summer 2015 Indian Institute of Technology, Indore

Since 2012, Dr. Sudeshna Chattopadhyay (Bandyopadhyay) has been an Assistant Professor in Discipline of Physics, Discipline of Metallurgy Engineering and Materials Science, Centre for Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering at IIT Indore. She received her PhD from Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta, India, and performed postdoctoral research at Northwestern University (2008-2012). She is an affiliated Assistant Professor of Physics at NMSU.

She is working in the field of atomic scale characterization of surface and interfaces of materials, atomic layer deposition, x-ray scattering, ellipsometry, energy research. In general her research interest is in the study of surfaces and interfaces (solids, liquids, soft matter and nanomaterials, metal-polymer nanocomposites, nanostructured organic / inorganic ultra-thin films etc.) and structure-property correlation, Electrical Energy Storage specifically on Al and Li-ion battery application, and Renewable energy, exploring high efficiency photocatalyst, for H2 production through water splitting and solar cell application, Biomedical Applications of Nanotechnology, Biomedical nano-chip for detection of pathogens (virus, bacteria), inflammatory and tumor cells and Bio-instrumentation.

Ayana Ghosh
Summer Intern in 2013 University of Michigan Flint

Received a Bachelor of Science from University of Michigan, Flint, in Physics and Mathematics in May 2015.

Graduate student in physics at NMSU during the fall 2015.

Now a graduate student in materials science at University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Christian Zollner

Visiting Student in the summer of 2013 and 2016.

Received Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, in 2016.

Currently Ph.D. student in Materials Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the group of Dr. Nakamura.