Lauren McCarthy

Mentor: Dr. Clifford Bowers
"I got involved with research at first because I wanted to see if I enjoyed it. When I found out that I did indeed enjoy research, I continued with it because I did not want to stop learning. "




Physics and Mathematics

Research Interests

  • Strain effects in semiconductors
  • Optical properties of semiconductors
  • Quantum confined semiconductors

Academic Awards

  • Wentworth Travel Scholarship, 2014
  • University Scholars Program, 2014
  • Center for Condensed Matter Sciences Undergraduate Fellow, 2013
  • American Chemical Society Student Leader Award, 2013


  • Chemistry Club
  • Alpha Chi Sigma Profession Chemistry Co-ed Fraternity
  • Phi Beta Kappa


  • Chemistry Club Outreach

Hobbies and Interests

  • World Travel
  • Japanese Language

Research Description

Project Title: Optical studies of Semiconductors
The last 50 years have seen a revolution in technology, and we have semiconductors to thank for this. One way to study semiconductors is through Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). For reference, NMR is essentially the same technology as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In semiconductors we can dramatically increase the magnitude of the NMR signal by shining light on the sample. This technique is called Optically Pumped NMR (OPNMR). OPNMR helps us to learn more about how electrons and nuclei move throughout semiconductors and even how to design better semiconductors to improve technology. One way that we plan to learn even more is by studying the movement of electrons in semiconductor quantum wells. Quantum wells have forbidden motion in one dimension. Think of this like being stuck in an actual well. You can move around and back and forth, but you can’t get out of the well, because you can’t move upward. Devices with quantum wells have the potential to lead us into the future, with applications from improved electronics designs to lasers. We plan to study them with more traditional optical techniques, such as studying light that has interacted with the sample, a technique known as magneto-optical spectroscopy. We will then compare these studies with OPNMR results. This will allow us to gain a more complete picture of how electrons in the quantum wells operate.