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Department of Physics & Astronomy College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

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About The Department

Our dedicated faculty in Physics and Astronomy are highly-invested in research, as well as student success.

Faculty Information


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Research Areas in the Department

Our faculty are active in a number of fields, both experimental and theorectical, from the smallest quantum scales to the largest objects in the known Universe!

  • Dr. Joshua Moss

  • Dr. Tatiana Sergan
  • Dr. Vassili Sergan

  • Dr. Matthew Block
  • Dr. Jerome Buerki

Research Highlights

Our faculty regularly publish their research in renowed, peer-reviewed journals. Below are some highlights of their most recent publications.

Understanding the afterglow of gamma-ray jets

In collaboration with researchers at Purdue University, and as part of a collaborative NSF research grant, Dr. Barniol Duran has co-authored a paper exploring gamma-ray burst jets. These powerful jets are launched by compact objects and propagate rapidly to large distances, emitting light at various stages. These authors were able to connect the different jet stages and observations within a single model, providing a step forward in understanding this mysterious phenomenon.

Related image of a jet from Barniol Duran et al. 2017.

The paper was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in August 2023 (Damoulakis, Barniol Duran & Giannios 2023). RBD acknowledges support from the NSF under grant 2107932.

Star clusters in Milky Way-like galaxies

highlight-cluster.jpgIn a collaboration with researchers in the U.K., Dr Pettitt has co-authored a paper investigating how star clusters form in galaxaies similar to our own. Using numerical simulations they found that clusters tend to be larger near to the galactic bar, and smallest in the regions in-between the spiral arms. The image to the right shows three such clusters of stars (white) embedded in their surrounding interstellar gas (artificially coloured green).

The paper is set to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society this August (Ali et al. 2023).

Faculty Publications

A complete list of faculty publications can be found here. The university also records publication information in their Sac State Scholars service, with the Physics and Astronomy listing available here.

Faculty Patents

  • V. Sergan and T. Sergan: “Photo-Patterned Pre-Tilt Liquid Crystal cells, Lenses, and Methods” US Patent 8654281 (2014)
  • Jérôme Bürki: “Nanoscale variable resistor/electromechanical transistor.” US Patent 8492231 (2013)
  • T. Sergan: “Elliptically polarizing plate and liquid crystal display.” US Patent 6839103 (2005)
  • T. Sergan: “Optical Compensation film for Liquid Crystal Display.” US Patent 6822713 B1 (2004)