Graduate School

Physics—MS, PhD


Where do the highest-energy cosmic rays come from? Can nanotubes of boron nitride be used to make new electronic devices? Why do some clouds rain while others don’t? These are just some of the questions that motivate faculty and students alike in the physics department at Michigan Technological University. Our department is a close-knit and vibrant community of scholars working together to find answers to these and many other fundamental questions.

What you'll work on

Faculty in the department have five areas of research interest: astrophysics and particle astrophysics, atmospheric physics, materials physics, photonics and quantum optics, and atomic, molecular, and optical physics. Some of the current research projects include first principles studies of structure-property relationships in 2-D nanomaterials beyond graphene for defense applications, and the influence of nucleation on ice microphysical properties of mixed-phase stratiform clouds and many additional projects.

Sample Areas of Interest

  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Computational Physics (Quantum,Statistical, Biological)
  • Atomic & Molecular Physics – Theory

View full listing for this program.

Who you'll work with

The department is home to 23 active research faculty, and we have strong interdisciplinary collaborations with other departments and institutes including materials science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering–engineering mechanics.

Faculty Spotlight 

Petra Huentemeyer

Petra Huentemeyer
Associate Professor,


"We are shedding light on dark matter and other unsolved puzzles of our Universe."

Where and how are cosmic rays produced and accelerated to their states of high energy? The study of gamma rays provides a crucial piece of the puzzle. By measuring energy spectra, source morphologies, and spatial correlation of their sources with sources at other wavelengths, we are trying to solve the century-old puzzle of the origin of galactic cosmic rays.

Where you'll work

A recent $2.5 million renovation provided major upgrades in our classroom technology. We have seven laboratories including a cloud physics lab, a materials physics and laser physics lab, and an integrated magneto-photonics lab. In addition, we have three observatories, including access to the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina, as well as a machine shop, and advanced research computing workstations and clusters.