John Cerne, PhD


128 Fronczak Hall
(716) 645-2542



  • AB in Physics, Princeton University – 1990
  • PhD in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara – 1996
  • Postdoctoral Research at University of Maryland, College Park

Research Area


Physics of novel electronic and magnetic materials, infrared magneto-polarimetry, and optical spectroscopy   

Research Interests

New materials are providing new challenges to our understanding of basic phenomena and new opportunities for technological applications. My research is primarily directed at materials such as diluted magnetic semiconductors, magnetic oxides, graphene, two-dimensional semiconductors, and high temperature superconductors. These materials have already been extensively studied using more conventional probes, but there are still important fundamental mysteries that have yet to be resolved. We have developed new experimental and analytical techniques that promise to offer new insights into these materials. Infrared spectroscopy is a powerful tool that probes the energy structure of materials by looking at the intensity of light that is transmitted through and reflected from a material. We have taken this a step further by also looking at the polarization of the transmitted and reflected light. This provides important new information that is hidden from conventional spectroscopy.

I also am very interested in physics teaching. Teaching, learning, and research are inseparable constituents of my experience in physics. These three areas have merged and complemented each other, and it is difficult for me to imagine one without the others.My experimental interest in optics and polarized light has motivated me to begin work on simulations that teach basic wave concepts (

Awards and Honors

  • Winner of the first UB College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Award, 2013-2014
  • SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, May 2011
  • NSF Career Award, May 2005.
  • Outstanding Speaker Award at the International Workshop on Multifunctional Materials II, Huatulco, Mexico, October 17-21, 2004
  • Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, July 2004

Selected Publications

  • “Terahertz dynamics of a topologically protected state: quantum Hall effect plateaus near cyclotron resonance in a GaAs/AlGaAs
    heterojunction,” A.V. Stier, C.T. Ellis, J. Kwon, X. Xing, H. Zhang, D. Eason, G. Strasser, H. Zeng, B.D. McCombe T.
    Morimoto, H. Aoki, J. Cerne, Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 247401 (2015)
  • “Systematic study of magnetic linear dichroism and birefringence in (Ga,Mn)As,” N. Tesarova, T. Ostatnicky, V. Novak, K.
    Olejnik, J. Subrt, C.T. Ellis, A. Mukherjee, J. Lee, G.M. Sipahi, J. Sinova, T. Jungwirth, P. Nemec, J. Cerne, and K. Vyborny, Phys. Rev. B 89, 08520 (2014)
  • “Magneto-optical fingerprints of distinct graphene multilayers using giant infrared Kerr effect,” C.T. Ellis, A.V. Stier, M-.H.Kim, J.G. Tischler, E.R. Glaser, R.L. Myers-Ward, J.L. Tedesco, C.R. Eddy, Jr, D.K. Gaskill, and J. Cerne, Sci. Rep. 3, 3143 (2013) and
  • “Infrared anomalous Hall effect in CaxSr1-xRuO3 films,” M.-H. Kim, T. Tanaka, C.T. Ellis, A. Mukherjee, G. Acbas, I. Ohkubo,H. Christen, D. Mandrus, H. Kontani, and J. Cerne,  Phys. Rev. B 88, 155101/1-155101/7 (2013)
  • “High Precision magnetic linear dichroism measurements in (Ga,Mn)As,” N. Tesarova, J. Šubrt, P. Malý, P. Nemec, C. T. Ellis, A. Mukherjee, and J. Cerne, Rev. Sci. Instr. 83, 123108 (2012)
  • “Terahertz Magneto Optical Polarization Modulation Spectroscopy,” D. K. George, A. V. Stier, C. T. Ellis, B. D. McCombe, J.Černe, A. G. Markelz, Journal of the Optical Society of America B 29, 1406-1412 (2012)
  • “Terahertz Response and Colossal Kerr Rotation from the Surface States of the Topological Insulator Bi2Se3,” R. Valdes Aguilar,
    A.V. Stier, W. Liu, L.S. Bilbro, D.K. George, N. Bansal, J. Cerne, A.G. Markelz, S. Oh, and N.P. Armitage, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108,087403 (2012)
  • “Electronic Structure of Ferromagnetic Semiconductor Ga1-xMnxAs Probed by Subgap Magneto-optical Spectroscopy,” G.
    Acbas, M.H. Kim, M. Cukr, V. Novak, M.A. Scarpulla, O.D. Dubon, T. Jungwirth, J. Sinova, and J. Cerne, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103,137201/1-137201/4 (2009)