Students participating in the REU program will have opportunities to work in a field with top faculty at the University of Michigan.  

Active REU research areas in Physics at Michigan include:
  • Astrophysics/Cosmology
  • Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics
  • Condensed Matter Theory
  • Condensed Matter Experiment
  • High Energy Theory
  • High Energy Experiment
  • Nonlinear Dynamics/Complex Systems
  • Nuclear Physics/Medical Physics
Examples of research projects previous students have participated in are listed below.  Similar projects will be offered this year, though the exact list of projects will depend on the student's expressed interest and faculty availability.  Applicants will be asked to identify their area of interest in the online application and may provide additional details in the essay.  A full list of Physics faculty can be found at

Additionally, a full list of previous student final projects can be viewed under the Previous Programs tab and selecting the year.

The next generation experiment to elucidate CP violation will take place at the JPARC laboratory in Japan.  The experiment is to measure the branching ratio of kaons to a pion and two neutrinos, which is expected to be 2.8 x 10-11.  The goals of the summer project is to work on developing a system to acquire data from the experiment and distinguish between the dominate decay modes and the rare decay modes.

Vanessa Sih: Condensed Matter and Optical Physics

Our group conducts optical measurements of electron spin dynamics in semiconductors.  Students working in our group will learn semiconductor physics, device fabrication, how to collect, analyze and interpret data, and work with lasers and cryogens.

Greg Tarle: Astrophysics/Cosmology 

The Dark Energy Survey will employ a wide-field camera on the Blanco 4-m telescope to study dark energy.  The camera will utilize the largest astronomical filers ever produced.  The REU project will involve operation of a filter transmission measuring instrument to characterize filters and the use of straightforward analysis software to interpret the results

Georg Raithel:

We investigate Rydberg excitations in many-body cold-atom ensembles.  It is anticipated that the REU student will be given a fabrication project that is suitable in scope and is associated with one of the experiments.  The REU student will develop workshop, electronics, and general lab skills that are relevant in atomic-physics research.  The REU student will learn about vacuum systems, electron- and ion detection, different kinds of lasers, and atom trapping methods.  The REU student will assist the research group in taking and evaluating data using computer-based data acquisition and analysis tools.  More information about the lab environment can be found at and

Junjie Zhu: Calibration of the Muon Drift Chambers for the ATLAS experiment

Student will assist in the calibration of the drift tubes used in the Muon spectrometer of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.  The ATLAS experiment is a particle physics experiment studying fundamental particles and forces and is located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.  (Work will be conducted at Michigan, however).  The drift tubes are part of the ATLAS Muon spectrometer which measures the momentum of muons produced in high energy collisions.  Student will write C++/python programs to produce data plots and debug problems in drift tube calibration.

Rachel GoldmanMetal Nanoparticle Plasmonics

Metal nanoparticle arrays often exhibit collective electron oscillations (plasmon resonances) which are promising for enhanced light emission, efficient solar energy harvesting, ultra-sensitive biosensing, and optical cloaking.  To date, materials research and device fabrication have focused nearly exclusively on silver and gold nanoparticle dispersions in two dimensions; these arrays exhibit plasmon resonances limited to visible wavelengths.  Recently, we demonstrated a novel method to assemble high-quality gallium and indium nanoparticle arrays with surface plasmon resonances tunable from the infrared to visible wavelength range.  In this summer project, we explore the influence of metal nanoparticle arrays on the properties of compound semiconductor solar cells, using a combination of electromagnetic simulations, molecular-beam epitaxy, atomic-force microscopy, and optical spectroscopy.