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 (http://claw.physics.buffalo.edu/).