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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2017 Physnic!

Our annular Physics Picnic (Physnic) will be held this Saturday, September 16th from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Benson Park. All students, parents, alumni, staff, faculy, and families are invited to attend!

7028 Military Ave.
Omaha, NE 68104

See you there!

Benson Park, 7028 Military Ave.
Date of Event: 
Sat, 09/16/2017 - 10:30
Contact info: 
Dan Pham <>

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