Atmospheric & Environmental Physics

Research in atmospheric and environmental science is interdisciplinary, coupling the traditional fields of physics, chemistry, and engineering and geosciences. Our research program involves faculty from the Departments of Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry, Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, and Civil & Environmental Engineering. Physics and Astronomy graduate students can choose an advisor from our own department or from one of the other participating departments.

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Our senior faculty members have significant international reputations, with a substantial record of prestigious awards for research and teaching. A major research focus for our program involves laboratory studies of the optical and chemical properties of atmospheric aerosols, using state-of-the-art techniques to explore the impact of aerosols on atmospheric climate and chemistry. Ongoing projects include measuring the light scattering and absorption properties of dust, and probing the molecular level details of the heterogeneous chemistry of trace gases with atmospheric particulates. We are also actively developing LIDAR methods and real-time mass spectrometric techniques for field studies in environmental and atmospheric science. These activities offer excellent opportunities for students to work in an interdisciplinary environment. Many of our Ph.D. graduates have earned faculty positions at other colleges or universities, or research scientist positions in national labs or in industry.

Physics and Astronomy

Paul D. Kleiber

Atmospheric physics; chemical physics.

  • Laboratory studies of the optical and chemical properties of mineral dust and carbonaceous dust aerosols
  • Theoretical modeling for light scattering and absorption by aerosols
  • Laboratory studies of gas phase and heterogeneous chemical processes and reaction dynamics
  • Laser spectroscopy
  • Two labs: Major instruments include tunable Nd:YAG-pumped OPOs, a time-of-flight mass spectrometer, aerosol generation & characterization instrumentation, FTIR and UV-vis spectrometers, an environmental simulation chamber
  • Students use varied experimental techniques for aerosol characterization and chemical processing, laser scattering studies, mass-spectrometry, and spectroscopy, and also carry out theoretical modeling studies

Chemistry


Vicki Grassian

Vicki Grassian

Experimental atmospheric and environmental chemistry

  • Topics in environmental, atmospheric and materials processes including: heterogeneous reactions of trace atmospheric gases, optical properties of atmospheric particulates, environmental catalysis, nanoparticles for use in environmental remediation
  • Professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, is eligible to co-advise physics graduate students
  • Facilities include instruments for surface analysis and spectroscopy, aerosol generation and characterization, and reaction kinetics studies
  • Students develop skills in surface science, spectroscopy, aerosol science, and chemical kinetics

 

Mark Young

Mark Young

Experimental atmospheric and environmental chemistry

  • Topics in atmospheric and environmental chemistry including: heterogeneous chemistry of atmospheric particulate matter, optical properties of atmospheric aerosol, development of real-time mass spectrometric techniques for environmental sampling, environmental photochemistry of aqueous colloids and atmospheric particulates
  • Chemistry professor, is eligible to co-advise physics graduate students
  • Facilities include time-of-flight mass spectrometers, molecular beam sources, atmospheric reaction chambers, aerosol generation and characterization instruments, excimer/Nd:YAG/tunable solid state lasers
  • Students develop skills in lasers, optics and spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, aerosol science, and chemical kinetics

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bill Eichinger

Bill Eichinger

Atmospheric and Environmental Science

  • Topics in atmospheric and environmental science including: hydrology and fluid mechanics in the environment, atmospheric pollution control and remediation, optical remote sensing, LIDAR (laser radar)
  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is eligible to co-advise physics graduate students
  • Facilities include instrumentation for field measurements using ground based and airborne elastic and Raman LIDAR systems
  • Students learn techniques for field studies using LIDAR methods, and the development of algorithms for LIDAR data acquisition and analysis