The STAR Experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory is one of the premier particle detectors in the world. Using this device, an international collaboration of more than 400 physicists and skilled specialists is working hard to understand the nature of the early universe and the tiniest building blocks of matter through the study of nuclear collisions at the highest energies achieved in the laboratory. Creighton students and faculty have been working at STAR since 1994.

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ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is one of the largest experiments in the world devoted to research in the physics of matter at an infinitely small scale. Hosted at CERN, the European Laboratory for Nuclear Research, this project involves an international collaboration of more than 1500 physicists, engineers and technicians, including around 350 students, from 154 physics institutes in 37 countries across the world. Creighton students and faculty have been working at ALICE since 2002.

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Atomic Force Microscopy is a technique by which a long cantilever with an atomically sharp tip is systematically moved across the surface of a specimen. Any height changes in the tip are recorded as a function of position, resulting in a topographical reconstruction of the surface. Using a custom-made, temperature-controlled AFM for in-liquid imaging, we are able to map out a full 3-D model of gingival fibroblast cells in liquid and dry environments to observe cellular attachment.

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The use of block polymers has emerged as a powerful technique for patterning large-area nanostructure arrays in a wide range of functional materials with a huge potential for expansion. Block polymers can self-assemble into periodic nanostructures in a variety of morphologies (holes, dots, lines and rings) with controllable size and density. Through the controlled introduction of organic solvent, one can control the ordering of the phases during self-assembly. Atomic force micrographs of optimized solvent interaction reveal well-ordered, periodic structures with ~20 nm-sized features.

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This animation illustrates the effect of an optical stretcher on individual cells. Dr. Andrew Ekpenyong has recently published a paper as co-first author using this technique in a microfluidic channel to study Actin polymerization as a key novel innate immune effector mechanism to control salmonella infection. Fr. Andrew received his M.S. in physics from Creighton University and has returned as an assistant professor after receiving is doctorate from the University of Cambridge.

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Animation by Guck et al. Biophys J., 88(5): 3689–3698 (2005)


  • M.S. Physics degree with Thesis or non-thesis option 
  • Teaching Certificate alone or with M.S. Education degree
  • Students accepted into the program will receive a half-tuition scholarship
  • Teaching and Research Fellowships are available

Laser cooling lab optical table. The picture shows the 767 nm custom-built passive frequency stabilized diode laser, a potassium reference cell for locking the laser, and the custom-built diffraction spectrometer and Michelson interferometer. Together these pieces of equipment are used to characterize the laser frequency and fix it to the exact absorption frequency of 41K.

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Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Physics

We seek a candidate with effective communication skills who will join us in our commitment to outstanding teaching and the tradition of involving undergraduate and masters students in externally-funded laboratory research.  Creighton, a Jesuit university committed to excellence in the liberal arts tradition, has been consistently rated as the top Master’s-granting university in the Midwest.  Creighton is located in downtown Omaha, a vibrant community of 900,000 that was recently rated the sixth most livable city in the U.S.  The Physics Department offers both Bachelors and Masters degrees.

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2016 Holiday Spirit Project

This year we will be participating in the College of Arts and Sciences final Year of Mercy event: "Welcome the Stranger."

Friday, December 2nd, at Lower St. John's
Two Sessions: 11:30-12:15, and 12:30 to 1:15

At each session, we will be joined by several refugee speakers, as well as the coordinator for Lutheran Family Service's Community Service Office. You can bring needed supplies directly to the event.

Lower St. John's Church
Date of Event: 
Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:30
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Dr Ekpenyong invited to co-chair session on Mechanosensation

Andrew Ekpenyong, PhD, Department of Physics, has been selected to co-chair the session Mechanosensation at the 61st Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society in New Orleans, Louisiana, Feb 11-15, 2017.  The meeting brings together about 7000 attendees from all over the world who work at the interface of the life, physical, and computational sciences.

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New Additions and Updates to Physics Department Programs

Several exciting updates to the physics department degree programs have been approved by the College of Arts and Sciences.

  • New M.S. in Medical Physics degree
  • New Biomedical physics track within the B.S. Major in Physics degree
  • A new course PHY 397: Research Methods (2 credits) has been created as a sophomore/junior-level requirement for all physics majors (B.S. PHY, B.S., and APA). This course replaces PHY 302 Modern Physics Lab.
  • PHY 581 & PHY 582: Advanced Lab 1 & 2 are replaced by PHY 499: Research Capstone (1 credit), which is now required of all majors (B.S. PHY, B.S., and APA).
  • MTH 350 (Applied Linear Algebra and Differential Equations) is now required in the APA major.
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