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Department of Physics

Research

The NJIT and Rutgers-Newark departments of physics offer a unique opportunity to pursue master's and doctoral degrees in applied physics in a federated/joint program combining the resources of two of New Jersey's public research universities.

Interdisciplinary applied physics research is available in collaboration with faculties of NJIT, Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-New Brunswick, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in areas such as electrical engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering, materials science, industrial and manufacturing engineering, biological sciences and geological sciences. Cooperative research efforts are underway with National Solar Observatory, Bell Labs, US Army Research Lab, and other industrial and federal research laboratories.  Other areas of concentration include:

  • Device Physics
  • Materials Research
  • Ultrafast Optical and Optoelectronic Phenomena
  • Imaging Technology
  • Surface Physics
  • Free Electron Laser Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Discharge Physics
  • Solar Physics
  • Applied Laser Physics
  • Space Weather Laboratory

Dr. Haimin Wang,
Distinguished Professor, Department of Physics
Director, Space Weather Laboratory

The influence of the sun on the earth environmental conditions is known as space weather, and it is also the subject of Dr. Haimin Wang’s research at the Center for Solar-Terrestrial Research at NJIT. Space weather is more sophisticated than normal atmospheric weather because it affects the magnetic fields around the earth, composition of the atmosphere, communications, safety of astronauts, power grids, and even oil pipes. Thus, the need to understand and predict solar activity is important to our society. By measuring the magnetic field of the sun and its orientation, the topology of the Sun’s surface can be better understood, allowing for the prediction of solar eruptions. By working alongside the members of NJIT’s Department of Computer Science, Dr. Wang and his colleagues developed an algorithm that can detect and classify solar activities such as flares and solar prominences efficiently and automatically. This algorithm works in three stages. In the first stage, images of the surface of the Sun are taken at one minute intervals. Each frame is processed individually and the limb or disk object in each frame forms a vector. In the second stage, the vectors from each frame are piled up in time sequence to form a time map. In the final step, properties of each  object, such as brightness, velocity, width, and height are all measured. A machine called the Support Vector Machine Classifier (SVM) differentiates the limb objects.

Dr. Wang’s algorithm also has many applications outside of solar physics. He is writing a proposal in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to adopt his algorithm to detect and predict aneurysms, which can cause blood vessels to burst.  Numerous experiments show that the algorithm works successfully with the exception of only a few insignificant eruptions being misclassified. Despite the near precision of the algorithm, Dr. Wang continues to work closely with Department of Computer Science to constantly improve the software.

In addition to his world-class research, Dr. Wang also takes time to mentor students. At the moment, he has four PhD students working with him as well as several undergraduate students. Due to the large amount of data being collected, more people are needed to analyze the data. By digitizing data collected from 1967-1995, approximately 15 million frames, a more complete set of data is acquired, thus having a greater probability of fitting a more precise algorithm and enhancing the predictions of future solar eruptions. Dr. Wang’s research has already had a profound impact on his field and more is undoubtedly to be expected to come in the following years.

By Peter Besada

Dr. Haimin Wang is the 2009 recipient of the NJIT Excellence in Research Award. For more information on Dr. Wang’s space weather research, or to observe solar prominences in real-time, visit http://swrl.njit.edu

Fields of Study

  • Microelectronics
  • Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Optical Sciences
  • Optoelectronics
  • Materials Science
  • Biophysics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • Solar Physics, Relativity, Cosmology
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NJIT Graduate student Sam Tun and his solar physics research