Lehigh Physics Undergraduate Research Program


Summer 2019

The deadline for applications closes on March 7, 2019. For other questions about your application or the program in general, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions or contact us at

The program is supported in part by the National Science Foundation as a "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" (REU) site.  Undergraduate physics and related majors currently in their sophomore or junior year are invited to apply.  The Lehigh Physics Undergraduate Research Program is intended for students who plan to pursue graduate study in physics or related fields.  The stipend for the full 10-week program will be $6000.  The work will be supervised by Lehigh faculty and will run from May 28 - August 3, 2019.  Free housing is also available to participants.  


Possible research areas include

Astrophysics.  Current research involves theoretical and observational studies of stars and planets. Particular areas of interest in stellar astrophysics are young open clusters, binary stars, X-ray binaries, the formation of disks in Be stars, and stellar pulsations. Research on planets involves the discovery and characterization of exoplanets orbiting bright stars and the search for extraterrestrial life. Profs. DeLeo, McSwain, Pepper.

Lehigh University Physics - Students rafting on a riverAtomic & Molecular Physics.  Research involves experiments on atomic gases cooled to nanokelvin temperatures to investigate quantum phases of matter.  Phenomena observed in atomic gases include superfluidity, quantum magnetism, Mott insulators, and topological band structures, and serve as models to guide our understanding of quantum many-body physics.  Current topics of interest include spectroscopy of novel laser-cooling transitions and superfluidity in the presence of artificial gauge fields.  Experiments combine a wide range of techniques, including precise hardware synchronization, development of laser and optical systems, radio-frequency electronics, and image analysis.  Prof. Sommer.

Biophysics.  Researchers in the physics department employ experimental as well as mathematical and computational modeling to study the organization and dynamics of biological systems. They are involved in interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers in biology, bioengineering and related fields. Areas of research involve experimental and theoretical studies of mechanical properties of cells and biomaterials using techniques such as optical tweezers and optical microscopy; modeling studies of cell division, cell motion, polarized growth, and mating; physics of cytoskeletal self-organization; and experimental study of lipid membranes using microfluidics and confocal microscopy.  Profs. Honerkamp-SmithJedlicka, Ou-Yang, Vavylonis

Condensed Matter/Materials Science.  Areas of interest include the optical and electronic properties of defects in semiconductors and insulators; collective dynamics of disordered solids; structural phase transitions in ferroelectrics and superconducting crystals; organic molecular crystals; exciton dynamics, singlet-triplet conversion, and in general the physics of electronic and optoelectronic devices; the quantum physics of matter, fields, and their interactions at the nanoscale; surfaces, interfaces and heterostructures; emergent physics in low-dimensional materials; strongly correlated electronic systems, topological phases of matter, unconventional superconductivity, and classical and quantum phase transitions. Biopolymer networks, biomembranes, and colloidal suspensions are investigated using experimental techniques such as confocal microscopy, laser tweezers, electro-osmotic control, microfluidics, in combination with image analysis and computational modeling. Research areas include phase separation on cell membranes, microrheology of macromolecules and living cells, generalized sedimentation equilibrium of colloidal suspensions, active colloidal suspensions far from equilibrium, diffusion in complex and/or crowded environments, and formation and evolution of nanoscale complexes in solutions.  Profs. Biaggio, Dierolf, Ekuma, Fowler, JainRickman, Roy, Stavola, StrandwitzToulouse

High Energy Theory.  String theory, quantum field theory and cosmology. Areas of interest include the connection between gravitational theories and quantum field theories, holographic gauge/gravity dualities, the behavior of strongly correlated quantum phases of matter, and the evolution of the early universe.  Prof. Cremonini.

Lehigh University Physics - Student in REU program

Nuclear/Particle Physics.  Current research involves the study of relativistic heavy-ion collisions at the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (STAR) and sPHENIX experiments at Brookhaven National labs. This field of research focuses on the study of matter under extreme conditions of temperature, density, and pressure, where the quarks and gluons that make up normal nuclear matter are no longer confined into hadrons. This deconfined matter is called the quark gluon plasma (QGP), and experiments use high-energy probes, such as particle jets and heavy flavor quarks, to determine how quarks and gluons lose energy in this medium.  Prof. Reed.

Photonics and Nonlinear Optics. Research topics include nonlinear light-matter interaction that enables the control of light with light, four-wave mixing, phase conjugation, and wavelength conversion. We develop materials for second- and third-order nonlinear optics in particular organic molecular assemblies, and in general study materials and effects for photonics and optoelectronics. Examples include single crystals in glass, photonic crystals, holey and other specialty fibers, waveguides, resonant Brillouin scattering, and ferroelectric domain patterning for quasi phase matching. There is also considerable work on applications of photonics to biological systems, near-field optics, and thermal radiation. Profs. Biaggio, Dierolf, Toulouse.

Physics Education Research.  Developing techniques and content to improve delivery of Physics courses and broader outreach.  Topics could include developing presentations of current research for introductory-level audiences or direct research on educational techniques.  Prof. Licini.

Statistical Physics.  Research includes equilibrium and nonequilibrium fluctuations in gases and liquids; genesis and dynamics of disorder in 2-D solids near percolation threshold; and modeling of transport in disordered metallic solids under thermal forcing.  Prof. Kim.


Further Information

Frequently Asked Questions

REU Coordinator
Department of Physics
16 Memorial Drive East
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015
e-mail address:

Apply on or before March 7, 2019.
Awards will be announced beginning in late February and continuing through early April.