Congratulations to our 2020 - 2021 Ph.D.s!

collage with four photos of students being hooded in Duke Chapel
Hooding ceremony held in September 2021, for Ph.D.s graduated in the academic years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. From left to right: Weizhi Xiong, Yingru Xu, Xiaqing Li, and Weiyao Ke.

The coronavirus pandemic upended many academic traditions, including graduation and hooding ceremonies. Our Ph.D. students, however, remained brilliant, determined, and productive. Twenty-five of our students obtained their Ph.D. degree since March 2020. You'll find their names, their advisors, and their dissertations' titles below:  

Summer 2020 Doctor of Philosophy in Physics Graduates:

Dr. Christian Moritz Binder: [Advisor: Thomas Barthel] – Novel Tensor Network Methods for Interacting Quantum Matter and It Dynamical Response

Dr. Pak Hong (James) Leung: [Advisor: Ken Brown] – Robust Ion Trap Quantum Comutation  bEnabled by Quantum Control

Dr. Ronald Malone: [Advisor: Calvin Howell] – Measurement of the Neutron-Neutron Quasifree Scattering Cross Section in Neutron-Deuteron Breakup at 10.0 and 15.6 MeV

Dr. Qixin Shen: [Advisor: Maiken Mikkelsen] – Manipulation of Nonlinear Optical Processes in Plasmonic Nanogap Cavities

Dr. Hershdeep Singh: [Co-Advisors: Roxanne Spinger and Shailesh Chandrasekharan – Exploring Quantum Field Theories Using Qubit Lattic Models

Dr. Yuchen Zhao: [Advisor: Joshua Socolar] – Characterization and Mechanis of Rigidity in Columns of Star-Shaped Granular Particles

Fall 2020 Doctor of Philosophy in Physics Graduates:

Dr. Douglas Davis: [Advisor: Mark Kruse] – Cross Section Measurement of Single Top Quark Production in Association with W-boson at sqrt(s)

Dr. Minyu Feng: [Advisor: Al Goshaw] – Search for Heavy Boson Resonances in Final States with a W or Z Boson and a Photon Using 139 fb

Dr. Xiaqing Li: [Advisor: Haiyan Gao] – Compton Scattering and Nucleon Polarizabilities at HlyS

Dr. Sourav Sen: [Advisor: Ashutosh Kotwal] – Observation of Higgs Boson Production Through Vector Boson Fusion in the WW* Channel at the ATl

Dr. Xin Zhang: [Advisor: Harold Baranger] – Dyanmics of Open Quantum Systems: Measurement, Entanglement and Criticality

Spring 2021 Doctor of Philosophy in Physics Graduates:

Dr. Dripto M. Debroy: [Advisor: Kenneth Brown] – Quantum Error Correction for Physically Inspired Error Models

Dr. Xiaomeng Jia: [Advisor: Warren S. Warren] – Directional Dependence and Polarization Anisotropy in Pump-probe Microscopy

Dr. Justin Raybern: [Advisor: Kate Scholberg] – Characterization of the MARS Neutron Detector

Summer 2021 Doctor of Philosophy in Physics Graduates:

Dr. Sarah Anne Brandsen: [Advisor: Henry Pfister] – Locally Adaptive Protocols for Quantum State Discrimination

Dr. Benjamin Hamm: [Advisor: Hubert Bray] – Scalar Field Wave Dark Matter and Galactic Halos

Dr. Ryan Kozlowski: [Advisor: Joshua Socolar] – Mesoscale Forces and Grain Motion in Granular Media Exhibiting Stick-slip Dynamics: Effects of Friction and Grain Shape

Dr. Peifan Liu:  [Advisor: Ying Wu] – Structured Light Generation in a Free-Electron Laser Oscillator

Dr. William Steinhardt:  [Advisor: Sara Haravifard] – Investigating the Ground States of Triangular Antiferromagnet Quantum Spin Liquid Candidates

Dr. Jonathan Yuly: [Advisor: David Beratan] – Energy Transduction by Electron Bifurcation

Fall 2021 Doctor of Philosophy in Physics Graduates:

Dr. Michael Eggleston: [Advisor: Ayana Aryce] – Searches for Vector Like Quarks Decaying to Ht, 2t or Wt in Single Lepton Channel with the ATLAS Detector

Dr. Samuel Hedges: [Advisor: Phillip Barbeau] – Low Energy Neutrino Nucleas Interations at Spallation Neutron Source

Dr. Yuheng Liao: [Advisor: Warren S. Warren] – Understanding Photoexcited Charge Carrier Dynamics in Methylammonium Lead Iodide Perovskete Thin Films

Dr. Aaron Mahler: [Advisor: Weitao Yang] – Wannier Functions and Their Role in Improving Density Functional Theory

Dr. Pingchuan Zhao: [Advisor: Mark Kruse] – Search for New Phenomena Using Three-Proton Final States in Data Collected with the ATLAS Detector


We wish all of our Ph.D.s much success and happiness in their next adventures!