Student Theses

The senior thesis program gives students an opportunity to do their own research on a topic of their choosing.

Some students use the thesis to do theoretical work beyond what is covered in normal courses, some participate in a faculty member’s laboratory research, and some devise experiments of their own. The college provides special grants to students who need specialized equipment or other resources not readily available. The following is a list of theses completed by Bates physics students. Please contact the physics department if you would like more information.

Academic Years:


  • Acoustic Levitation
  • Polarization Dynamics induced by Optical Perturbations in Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers
  • Building a Prism-Based Optical Fingerprint Scanner Utilizing Total Internal Reflection
  • Experiments with the Periodic Equatorial Beta Plane
  • Measurements of BEC Trap Dynamics
  • The Magnus Effect: Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational Methods
  • Viability of Concentrator Photovoltaics for Electricity Production in the United States
  • Numerical Simulation of Constrained Particles and Rigid Bodies
  • Spatially Resolving the Mass Surface Density Distribution in 12 Compact Galaxies with the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Analyzing the Irregularities of Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers Subject to Optical Feedback
  • Analyzing the Development of the Mouse Accessory Olfactory Bulb using Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy
  • Nonlinear Dynamics of Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers subject to Optical Injection
  • Effects of Time-Gating on the Spatial Resolution of STED Microscopy
  • Solving Sparse Eigensystems: An Overview and Implementation of Krylov Projection Methods
  • The Bates College Guide to Compact Galaxies: Resolving the Radial Mass Distribution of Stellar Populations in Three Compact Galaxies
  • Modeling the Indian Monsoon: Combining Data and Models
  • Predicting the Unpredictable
  • Testing The Dedalus Project
  • Mitigating Greenhouse Gases Through Biogas Utilization and Cogeneration in Municipal Wastewater Facilities
  • Comparative Analysis of Infrastructural Thermal Efficiency at Bates College


  • Quadropter Dynamics: Modeling and Stabilizing Quadrotor Aircraft
  • The Effect of Altitude on Pitch Movement at Coors Field as Derived from PITCHf/x Data
  • Nanopositioning Gold Nanoparticles for the Study of Plasmonics
  • Optimizing Scan Waveforms for Laser Scanning Microscopy
  • The Artificial Leaf: Solar-Driven Hydrogen Production
  • Computational Model and Numerical Solution to the Cooling Flow of the Intracluster in a Hypothetical Galaxy Center
  • Fluorescence Spectroscopy Correlation with Deformable Mirror
  • Progress toward Bose-Einstein Condensation on an Atom Chip as a Functional Testbed for Experiments aboard the Orbital NASA Cold Atom Laboratory
  • Investigating the Properties of High-Power Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers Subject to Optical Feedback
  • Study the Magnus Effect with an Experimental Flow Tank


  • Image Quality Metrics for Adaptive Optics STED Nanoscopy
  • STED Nanoscopy with Low-NA Objective Lenses
  • Automated Reconstruction of Biological Structure From Fluorescence Images
  • Frequency-doubling of a Ti:sapphire laser for use in ultracold atomic physics experiments
  • Current stabilization of a magnetic trap used in Bose-Einstein condensation experiments
  • Temperature stabilization of lab equipment using Arduino microcontrollers
  • Treating Ocular Cancer with Proton Beams
  • Chaos in Mechanical Systems
  • Two-beam optical injection in multimode vertical-cavity surface-emitting
  • Concealment of time-delay features in multimode vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers by using polarization rotated optical feedback
  • Guitar String Resonance and Decay


  •  Seismoelectric Waves
  •  Effect of Blade Pitch Angle for Vertical-Axis Helical Tidal Turbines
  •  Josephson Dynamics in Bose-Einstein Condensates
  •  Photothermal Imaging
  •  Construction of a STED Microscope
  •  Rail-car guidance and dynamics
  •  Atom interferometry using Kapitza-Dirac diffraction
  •  Custom optical potentials using a spatial light modulator
  •  An optical lattice with diamond crystalline geometry


  •  Characterization of Femtosecond Pulses for Two-Photon Microscopy
  •  Stress and Strain Analysis of Warren-style Trusses


  •  Computational Analysis of Light Element Abundances During Hot Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis
  •  The Internal Combustion Engine
  •  Optical Injection Dynamics and Chaos Synchronization in Multi-transverse mode Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers
  •  Modeling Cloud Growth
  •  Progress towards Bose-Einstein Condensation
  •  Effect of Optical Feedback on a Current-Modulated Multi-mode Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser


  •  Polarization Switching Dyanamics in a multimode Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser Subjection to Optical Injection
  •  Physics of Classical Ballet
  •  Investigating BBCOR Baseball Bats: A Comparison of New and Old
  •  The Derivation and Significance of Minkowski Space-Time
  •  Delay Line Frequency Offset Locking of Two Lasers


  •  An Analysis of the Motion of Fastpitch Softball Pitches
  •  The Variational Principle and its Applications in Physics
  •  Galactic Dark Matter and the Cosmic Microwave Background
  •  Electromagnetically Induced Transparency in Rubidium Vapor
  •  Computational Models of Stars


  • Measurement and Manipulation of a Single Electron Spin in an N-V Center of Diamond
  • A Technical Analysis of the Hammer Throw
  • Quantum Computer Algorithms
  • Polarization Dynamics of a Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser Subject to Optical Feedback
  •  Polarization Dynamics of a VCSEL Under Isotropic Optical Feedback


  •  Exploring the Economic and Energy Potentials of Hydrogen Fuel
  •  A Theoretical Treatment of the Electronic Behavior of Metal Nanostructures


  •  Perturbed: The Formalism and Uses of Correlation Functions in Physical Chemistry
  •  A Cesium Vapor-Cell MOT and Photoasssociation of Cs Below the 6S1/2 6P3/2 Asymptote
  •  An Experimental Study of the Influence of Optical Feedback on Multimode VCSELs


  •  Inverse Problems and Integral Equations in the Mathematical Sciences


  •  An Introduction to Bessel Functions via the Lengthening Pendulum
  •  New Variables for Quantum Interference
  •  Using Frequency-Resolved Optical Gating to Measure the Duration and Phase of Ultrashort Pulses


  •   Using an Improved Version of Millikan’s Oil Drop Experiment to Examine the Accuracy of Stokes’ Law
  •  Deep Sea Geodesy
  •  Building Text-to-Speech Synthesizer and Automatic Speech Recognizer for Nepali Language
  •  Effect of Spatially Filtered Optical Feedback on a Unidirectional Photorefractive Ring Resonator


  •  The Construction and Study of a Unidirectional Photorefractive Ring Resonator with a Stabilized Cavity Length
  •  Why the Weather is Unpredictable: An Experimental and Theoretical Study of the Lorenz Equations
  •  Force Feedback Application in Robotics


  •  Efficiency Calculations for the Rate of Supernovae at High Redshift


  •  Gravitational Lensing by a Point Mass
  •  Lie Theory and Quantum Mechanics
  •  Single Bubble Sonoluminescence
  •  Electronic Energy Transfer in Ba (5d7p)3D1 Rare Gas Collisions
  •  A Geophysical Gravity Survey in Search of Aquiver Potential, Eldorado, New Mexico
  •  Simultaneous Trapping of Cs and Rb in a Vapor-Cell MOT
  •  Ice Mechanics: Stress, Strain, and Compressive Failure
  •  An Analysis of Solar-Driven Natural Convection Energy Conversion Systems
  •  Pattern Dynamics in a Unidirectional Photorefractive Ring Resonator


  •  Phase Locking in Coupled Oscillators

Unsorted Years

  • The Physics of Brachytherapy
  • Shor’s Algorithm: The Potential of Quantum Computing
  • Trumpet Acoustics
  • Breaking the Black Box: An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Climate Modeling
  • An Analysis of Ground Source Heat Pumps and Their Application
  • Keep ME Warm:  Practicality of Photovoltaic Systems and Solar Space Heating in Maine
  • The Physics Behind a Toy Rollercoaster
  • Inverse Problems and Integral Equations in the Mathematical Sciences
  • A Study of Atomic Layer Deposition and Ellipsometry
  • The Formalism and Use of Correlation Functions in Physics and Chemistry
  • The Acoustic Impedance of the Trombone
  • Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy of Tungsten Oxide and Tungsten Bronze
  • An experimental study of the influence of optical feedback on multi-mode vertical-cavity surfaceemitting lasers
  • Holograms as used for Display Purposes and Opfical Elements
  • Electric Field Enhancement With a Scanned Probe Tip
  • Inverse Problems and Integral Equations in the Mathematical Sciences
  • Effects of Spatial Filtering in Optical Image Processing
  • Influence of Operating Temperature one Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers
  • The Bluing Effect of Intergalactic Solid Matter
  • Building and Testing a Noise Eater
  • Analysis of the Tesla Boundary Disk Turbine
  • Electric Field Enhancement with a Scanned Probe Tip
  • The Physics of Vehicle Dynamics
  • Singularities and You: The Physics of Black Holes
  • Windmills: Their Imporance in Today’s Society and the Physics that Governs their Operation
  • The Physics and Bioenergies of the Brewing Process: Carbon DioxideRecovery, Storage and the Effects of Beer Culture and the Environment
  • Flow Study of a Low Speed Wind Tunnel
  • An Experimental Evaluation of the Function, Construction, and Electrical Properities of Fuel Cells
  • Using Frequency-Resolved Optical Gating to Measure the duration and Phase of Ultrashort Pulses
  • Design and Construction of a Magneto-Optical Trap and Enriched Potassium Source
  • High Mass X-ray Binary A0538-66 from 1896 to 1954
  • The Aerodynamics of Sails: Numeric Methods for Determining Lift
  • Theory and Testing of a Monolithic Photovoltaic-Photoelectrochemical Device for Hydrogen Production via Water Splitting
  • Acoustic Analysis of a Javanese Slenthem
  • Wind Tunnel Design and Characterization
  • A Study into the Nature of the Floating Arm Trebuchet
  • Effect of a Spatially Filtered Optical Feedback on a Helium-Neon Laser
  • An Experimental Study of Liquid Crystals
  • Optical Pumping: D1 and D2 Transitions in Rubidium
  • Electrohydrodynamics in Liquid Crystals
  • Particle-in-Cell Simulation of Self-gravitating Plasma
  • Testing an Airfoil: A Study of Lift and Drag
  • Scanned-Probe Microscopy and Tungsten Oxide Nanodots