Penn State Altoona students, professors collaborate on physics research

AIP graphic
Credit: Penn State

ALTOONA, Pa. — An article co-authored by three Penn State Altoona students and two professors was recently published by the American Institute of Physics in the Journal of Applied Physics, the premier full-length journal for applied physics.

The article, titled "Optical properties of electrically connected plasmonic nanoantenna dimer arrays," represents the culmination of a research effort that began in January 2013. Darin Zimmerman and Gary Weisel, both professors of physics, received a grant from the National Science Foundation to pursue the research. The work was an entirely new direction for Zimmerman and Weisel and engaged a total of 13 Penn State undergraduates over the course of four years. One of these students, Raymond Wambold, ended up completing his master's degree in materials science and engineering under Zimmerman and Weisel and is now finishing his doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin.

Though all 13 undergraduates were instrumental at different stages of the project, Benjamin Borst (bachelor of electro-mechanical engineering technology, May 2017), Cassandra Carrick (bachelor of science in mathematics, expected May 2018), and Joseph Lent (bachelor of science in mathematics, expected Dec. 2020), whose names appear as co-authors, were key to this publication.

"To me," says Zimmerman, "this demonstrates not only the positive impact that undergraduate research can have on our students, but it underscores the fact that undergraduate researchers can play a central role in cutting-edge research that is valued by the academic community."

The article was chosen as an Editor's Pick and an accompanying "Scilight" article was written for the general public, highlighting the work.

The full article can be read at, and the Scilight article can be read at

The article was also selected to be featured on the cover of Journal of Applied Physics 123(6).