Good times

  • 1998  Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 1990-1991  Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, Universität Freiburg  
  • 1980-1982  Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow, Universität Freiburg  


Married to Birgit with three grown children Jenna, Michael, David.

 Jim Feagin and familyJim Feagin and family

Research Interests

My research involves atomic and molecular collision science and work to extract basic understanding and quantum control of few-body microscopic systems based on a long-time experience with more conventional studies of correlated electrons and ions.Although the work is theoretical, my interest in these topics is largely motivated by the recent surge in experiments involving few-body molecular fragmentation and the full imaging of all the fragments.My research accordingly continues with two parallel efforts with (i) emphasis on reaction imaging while (ii) pursuing longtime workon collective Coulomb excitations. I continue to place strong priority on research relevant toexperiment. 

Besides various NSF funding over the years, my research has been supported continously by the DOE, Fundamental Interactions Office of Basic Energy Science, for over 30 years.

Teaching Interests

I'm a big fan of physics pedagogy involving symbolic computing and the author of the textbook Quantum Methods with Mathematica (Springer). I'm happy to share my Mathematica lecture notebooks upon request.

Selected Publications (see also my Google Scholar)





Geoffrey LovelaceGeoffrey Lovelace

Contact Information

McCarthy Hall 601B

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Mailing Address
Department of Physics, MH-611
California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92834
+1 (657) 278-7501

LIGO Hanford
The LIGO interferometer in Hanford, Washington. (Photo courtesy LIGO Laboratory.)
Merging black holes

Merging black holesTop: Snapshot of two rapidly rotating black holes about to merge. The holes rotate around the shafts of the white arrows; also shown are the holes’ trajectories (pink, blue curves). Bottom: the emitted gravitational wave from this binary (green curve). (Images courtesy Robert McGehee, Jr.)


Black hole horizon

The common horizon enclosing the horizons of two rapidly rotating black holes just after they have merged.



I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at California State University, Fullerton. My current research interests focus on using numerical relativity to model sources of gravitational waves, such as merging black holes. I join assistant professors Jocelyn Read and Joshua Smith in Cal State Fullerton's Gravitational Wave Physics and Astronomy Center (GWPAC), and I also am a member of the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration

GWPAC and the SXS collaboration are contributing to LIGO's discovery of gravitational waves.

At Cal State Fullerton, my research goals focus on modeling sources of gravitational waves using numerical relativity. Gravitational waves—ripples of spacetime curvature—are opening a new window on the universe. The Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO) has observed the first (and second) gravitational waves passing through Earth, and both came from merging black holes. My students and I use supercomputers to simulate colliding black holes using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC), and we are particularly interested in binaries with high black-hole spins and in responding to LIGO observations. I recently have begun using supercomputers to model thermal noise in LIGO mirrors, with the goal of helping to improve the sensitivity of next-generation detectors.

As a graduate student at Caltech, my research spanned a variety of topics in gravitational-wave physics, including thermal noise in gravitational-wave detectors, black-hole tidal deformation, and reducing orbital eccentricity and spurious gravitational radiation in numerical simulations of binary black holes. Building on this broad introduction, I focused my postdoctoral research at Cornell entirely on numerical relativity: I have simulated merging black holes with the highest spins to date, explored new tools for building physical insight into strongly warped spacetime, and investigated implicit-explicit time stepping as a way to reduce the cost of binary black hole simulations.



My students and I are pleased to thank the National Science Foundation, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority ParticipationCalifornia State University, Fullerton, and Cal State Fullerton alumnus Dan Black. Our research is supported in part by the following external grants:

NSF grant PHY-1654359CAREER: Computational Gravitational-Wave Science and Education in the Era of First Observations.

NSF grant PHY-1606522. RUI: Computational Gravitational-Wave Research for the Era of First Observations.

NSF grant AST-1559694. The CSUF-Syracuse partnership for inclusion of underrepresented groups in gravitational-wave astronomy.

NSF grant PHY-1429873. MRI: Acquisition of a High-Performance Computer Cluster for Gravitational-Wave Astronomy with Advanced LIGO.

Our work has also been supported in the past by the following external grants:

Multi-investigator Cottrell College Science Award. Developing a numerical injection analysis pipeline for gravitational waves from merging black holes and neutron stars.

NSF grant PHY-1307489. RUI: Numerical Simulations of Merging Black Holes and Neutron Stars.





I have taught the following courses:

Physics 300, "Survey of Mathematical Physics", a course that bridges the under-division and upper-division undergraduate physics major courses, introducing key mathematical tools while emphasizing how to think about math like a physicist.

Astronomy 444, "Applications of Gravitation," a new course on applications of general relativity for advanced undergraduate students.

Physics 211, "Elementary Physics," an algebra-based introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics.

Physics 211L, "Elementary Physics Laboratory", the laboratory co-requisite to Physics 211.

Physics 520, "Analytical Mechanics," a master's-level course in classical mechanics and special relativity.

Physics 225, "Fundamental Physics," a calculus-based introduction to mechanics. I am piloting a revision of this course using a flipped classroom, supported in part by the CSU Sustaining Success and Proven Course Resdesign redesign programs.


Curriculum Vitae

Geoffrey Lovelace
McCarthy Hall 601B, California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92834
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Personal Data  
Born April 6, 1980, Huntingdon Valley, PA   
Assistant Professor Aug. 2012 – present
California State University, Fullerton  
Research Associate Sep. 2007 – Aug. 2012
Cornell University  
Postdoctoral Scholar Jul. 2007 – Aug. 2007
California Institute of Technology  
Ph.D. in Physics Oct. 2002 – Jun. 2007
California Institute of Technology  
B.S. in Physics Aug. 1998 – May 2002
University of Oklahoma  
Visiting Appointments  
Visiting Associate Aug. 2012 – present
California Institute of Technology  


Download my complete CV, including a publication list and list of presentations, in PDF format.



My up-to-date publication list is available through the following:
* = CSUF undergraduate student co-author
+ = CSUF graduate student co-author
^ = CSUF alumni
40. Geoffrey Lovelace, Carlos O. Lousto, James Healy, Mark A. Scheel, Alyssa Garcia, Richard O'Shaughnessy, Michael Boyle, Manuela Campanelli, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder Harald P. Pfeiffer, Bela Szilagyi, Saul A. Teukolsky, and Yosef Zlochower. "Modeling the source of GW150914 with targeted numerical-relativity simulations." (2016).
39. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "GW151226: Observation of Gravitational Waves from a 22-Solar-Mass Binary Black Hole Coalescence." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241103 (2016).
38. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Directly comparing GW150914 with numerical solutions of Einstein's equations for binary black hole coalescence." (2016).
37. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "An improved analysis of GW150914 using a fully spin-precessing waveform model." (2016).
36. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Tests of general relativity with GW150914." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 221101 (2016).
35. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Properties of the Binary Black Hole Merger GW150914." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 241102 (2016).
34. B. P. Abbott et al., for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration. "Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger." Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 061102 (2016).
33. Prayush Kumar, Kevin Barkett, Swetha Bhagwat, Nousha Afshari*, Duncan A. Brown, Geoffrey Lovelace, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. "Accuracy and precision of gravitational-wave models of inspiraling neutron star-black hole binaries with spin: Comparison with matter-free numerical relativity in the low-frequency regime." Phys. Rev. D 92, 102001 (2015).
arXiv:1507.00103 [gr-qc]
32. Mark A. Scheel, Matthew Giesler^, Daniel A. Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Kevin Kuper*, Michael Boyle, Bela Szilagyi, and Lawrence E. Kidder. "Improved methods for simulating nearly extremal binary black holes." Class. Quantum Grav. 32, 105009 (2015).
31. Geoffrey Lovelace, Mark A. Scheel, Robert Owen, Matthew Giesler^, Reza Katebi+, Bela Szilagyi, Tony Chu, Nicholas Demos*, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Harald P. Pfeiffer, and Nousha Afshari*. "Nearly extremal apparent horizons in simulations of merging black holes." Class. Quantum Grav. 32, 065007 (2015).
arXiv:1411.7297 [gr-qc]
30. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the Virgo Collaboration, and the NINJA-2 Collaboration: J. Aasi et al. “The NINJA-2 project: Detecting and characterizing gravitational waveforms modelled using numerical binary black hole simulations.” Class. Quantum Grav. 31, 115004 (2014).
arXiv:1401.0939 [gr-qc]

29. Andrea Taracchini, Alessandra Buonanno, Yi Pan, Tanja Hinderer, Michael Boyle, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Abdul H. Mroue, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Anıl Zenginoglu. “Effective-one-body model for black-hole binaries with generic mass ratios and spins.” Phys. Rev. D 89, 061502 (2014).

28. Ian Hinder et al, “Error-analysis and comparison to analytical models of numerical waveforms produced by the NRAR Collaboration.” Class. Quantum Grav. 31, 025012 (2014).
arXiv:1307.5307 [gr-qc]

27. Abdul H. Mroue, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Michael Boyle, Daniel A. Hemberger, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Serguei Ossokine, Nicholas W. Taylor, Anıl Zenginoglu, Luisa T. Buchman, Tony Chu, Evan Foley+, Matthew Giesler*, Robert Owen, Saul A. Teukolsky. “A catalog of 174 high-quality binary black-hole simulations for gravitational-wave astronomy.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 241104 (2013).
26. Alexandre Le Tiec, Alessandra Buonanno, Abdul H. Mroué, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Daniel A. Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Béla Szilágyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Periastron Advance in Spinning Black Hole Binaries: Gravitational Self-Force from Numerical Relativity.” Phys. Rev. D 88, 124027 (2013).
25. Tanja Hinderer, Alessandra Buonanno, Abdul H. Mroue, Daniel A. Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Periastron advance in spinning black hole binaries: comparing effective-one-body and numerical relativity.” Phys. Rev. D 88, 084005 (2013).
24. Daniel Hemberger, Geoffrey Lovelace, Thomas J. Loredo, Lawrence E. Kidder, Mark A. Scheel, Bela Szilagyi, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Final spin and radiated energy in numerical simulations of binary black holes with equal masses and equal, aligned or anti-aligned spins.” Phys. Rev. D 88, 064014 (2013).
23. Geoffrey Lovelace, Matthew D. Duez, Francois Foucart, Lawrence E. Kidder, Harald P. Pfeiffer, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Massive disk formation in the tidal disruption of a neutron star by a nearly extremal black hole.” Class. Quantum Grav. 30, 135004 (2013).
22. Daniel A. Hemberger, Mark A. Scheel, Lawrence E. Kidder, Bela Szilagyi, Geoffrey Lovelace, Nicholas W. Taylor, and Saul A. Teukolsky. “Dynamical excision boundaries in spectral evolutions of binary black hole spacetimes.” Class. Quantum Grav. 30, 115001 (2013).
21. David A. Nichols, Aaron Zimmerman, Yanbei Chen, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, Robert Owen, Fan Zhang, and Kip S. Thorne. “Visualizing Spacetime Curvature via Frame-Drag Vortexes and Tidal Tendexes III. Quasinormal Pulsations of Schwarzschild and Kerr Black Holes.” Phys. Rev. D 86, 104028 (2012).
arXiv:1208.3038 [gr-qc].
20. Fan Zhang, Aaron Zimmerman, David A. Nichols, Yanbei Chen, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, Robert Owen, and Kip S. Thorne. “Visualizing Spacetime Curvature via Frame-Drag Vortexes and Tidal Tendexes II. Stationary Black Holes.” Phys. Rev. D 86, 084049 (2012).
arXiv:1208.3034 [gr-qc].
19. Fan Zhang, Jeandrew Brink, Bela Szilagyi, and Geoffrey Lovelace. “A geometrically motivated coordinate system for exploring spacetime dynamics using a quasi-Kinnersley tetrad.” Phys. Rev. D 86, 084020 (2012).
arXiv:1208.0630 [gr-qc].
18. Bryant Garcia, Geoffrey Lovelace, Lawrence E. Kidder, Michael Boyle, Saul A. Teukolsky, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Are different approaches to constructing initial data for binary black hole simulations of the same astrophysical situation equivalent?” Phys. Rev. D 86, 084054 (2012).
arXiv:1206.2943 [gr-qc]
17. Andrea Taracchini, Yi Pan, Alessandra Buonanno, Enrico Barausse, Tony Chu, Lawrence E. Kidder, Geoffrey Lovelace, Harald P. Pfeiffer, and Mark A. Scheel. “A prototype effective-one-body model for non-precessing spinning inspiral-merger-ringdown waveforms.” Phys. Rev. D 86, 024011 (2012).
16. Michael Boyle et al. “The NINJA-2 catalog of hybrid post-Newtonian/numerical-relativity waveforms for non-precessing black-hole binaries.” Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 124001 (2012).
15. Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Boyle, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “High-accuracy gravitational waveforms for binary-black-hole mergers with nearly extremal spins.” Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 045003 (2012).
14. David A. Nichols, Robert Owen, Fan Zhang, Aaron Zimmerman, Jeandrew Brink, Yanbei Chen, Jeffrey D. Kaplan, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, Mark A. Scheel, and Kip S. Thorne. “Visualizing spacetime curvature via frame-drag vortexes and tidal tendexes: General theory and weak-gravity applications.” Phys. Rev. D 84, 124014 (2011).
13. Stephen R. Lau, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Harald P. Pfeiffer. “Implicit-explicit (IMEX) evolutions of single black holes.” Phys. Rev. D 84, 084023 (2011).
12. Robert Owen, Jeandrew Brink, Yanbei Chen, Jeffrey D. Kaplan, Geoffrey Lovelace, Keith D. Matthews, David A. Nichols, Mark A. Scheel, Fan Zhang, Aaron Zimmerman, and Kip S. Thorne. “Frame-dragging vortexes and tidal tendexes attached to colliding black holes: visualizing the curvature of spacetime.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 151101 (2011).
11. Geoffrey Lovelace, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi. “Simulating merging binary black holes with nearly extremal spins.” Phys. Rev. D. 83, 024010 (2011).
10. Geoffrey Lovelace, Yanbei Chen, Michael Cohen, Jeffrey D. Kaplan, Drew Keppel, Keith D. Matthews, David A. Nichols, Mark A. Scheel, and Ulrich Sperhake. “Momentum flow in black-hole binaries: II. Numerical simulations of equal-mass, head-on mergers with antiparallel spins.” Phys. Rev. D 82, 064031 (2010). 
9. Geoffrey Lovelace. “Reducing spurious gravitational radiation in binary-black-hole simulations by using conformally curved initial data.” Class. Quantum Grav. 26, 114002 (2009). 
8. Geoffrey Lovelace, Robert Owen, Harald P. Pfeiffer, and Tony Chu. “Binary-black-hole initial data with nearly extremal spins.” Phys. Rev. D 78, 084017 (2008). 
7. Chao Li and Geoffrey Lovelace. “Generalization of Ryan’s theorem: Probing tidal coupling with gravitational waves from nearly circular, nearly equatorial, extreme-mass-ratio inspirals.” Phys. Rev. D 77, 064022 (2008).
T. Geoffrey Lovelace. “Topics in gravitational-wave physics.” Ph.D. thesis, California Institute of Technology (2007). 
6. Duncan A. Brown, Jeandrew Brink, Hua Fang, Jonathan R. Gair, Chao Li, Geoffrey Lovelace, Ilya Mandel, and Kip S. Thorne. “Prospects for detection of gravitational waves from intermediate-mass-ratio inspirals.” Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 201102 (2007).
5. Harald P. Pfeiffer, Duncan A. Brown, Lawrence E. Kidder, Lee Lindblom, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Mark A. Scheel. “Reducing orbital eccentricity in binary black hole simulations.” Class. Quantum Grav. 24 S59 (2007).
4. Geoffrey Lovelace. “The dependence of test-mass thermal noises on beam shape in gravitational-wave interferometers.” Class. Quantum Grav. 24, 4491 (2007).
3. Hua Fang and Geoffrey Lovelace. “Tidal coupling of a Schwarzschild black hole and circularly orbiting moon.” Phys. Rev. D. 72, 124016 (2005).
2. Chung Kao, Geoffrey Lovelace, and Lynne H. Orr. “Detecting a Higgs pseudoscalar with a Z boson at the LHC.” Phys. Lett. B 567, 259 (2003).
1. Yun Wang and Geoffrey Lovelace. “Unbiased Estimate of Dark Energy Density from Type Ia Supernova Data.” Astrophys. J. 562 L115 (2001).


The following are a selection of movies from some recent numerical simulations that I have performed using the Spectral Einstein Code (SpEC) as part of my research in collarboation with the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) collaboration. For more, please see the SXS Collaboration's YouTube channel.

To learn more, visit !
Advanced LIGO saw gravitational waves from two black holes that merged over a billion light years from Earth. This computer simulation shows (in slow motion) what this would look like up close.  If this movie were played back in real time, it would last for about one third of a second.
In this movie, the black holes are near us, in front of a sky filled with stars and gas and dust. The black regions are the shadows of the two black holes: no light would reach us from these areas.  Light from each star or bit of gas or dust travels to our eyes along paths (light rays) that are greatly bent by the holes' gravity and by their warped spacetime. This is called "gravitational lensing."  Because of this gravitational lensing, the pattern of stellar and gas/dust images changes in fascinating ways, as the black holes orbit each other, then collide and merge.
The ring around the black holes, known as an "Einstein ring," arises from all the stars in a small region directly behind the holes; gravitational lensing smears their images into the shape of a ring.
The gravitational waves themselves would not be seen by a human near the black holes (though they would be felt!) and so do not show in this video, with one important exception: The gravitational waves that are traveling outward toward the small region behind the black holes disturb that region’s stellar images in the Einstein ring, causing them to slosh around in the ring, even long after the collision. The gravitational waves traveling in other directions cause weaker, and shorter-lived sloshing, everywhere outside the Einstein ring.
Credit: SXS Lensing


A computer simulation of the gravitational waves from the merging black holes that LIGO observed. Our three-dimensional space is shown as a two-dimensional surface, with one dimension removed. The black holes’ strong gravity curves the space near them into funnel shapes. As the black holes spiral together and merge into one, gravitational waves ripple outward. The movie is shown in slow motion, about 40 times slower than real time.



This movie shows two black holes that are spinning very rapidly (about 97% of the theoretical maximum) as they spiral together and merge. The simulation was published in Geoffrey Lovelace, Michael Boyle, Mark A. Scheel, and Bela Szilagyi, Class. Quantum Grav. 29, 045003 (2012) (, and the movie was rendered by Cornell undergraduate researcher Robert McGehee, Jr.

The holes trace out their orbits as cyan and magenta lines, and their spins point along the white arrows. The colored surfaces are the holes' apparent horizons, shaded by the horizon vorticity (i.e., by how much an observer's body, oriented perpendicular to the horizon, would be twisted by the hole as it spins).
The black holes’ spins and the orbital angular momentum point in the same direction. Consequently, the holes experience an “orbital hangup” effect previously seen in simulations with lower spins: the holes merge much more slowly (after many more orbits) than if the spins were pointing in the opposite direction. This gives the system time to radiate enough angular momentum so that the final black hole will have a spin less than the theoretical maximum (the final hole ends up with about 95% of the maximum in this case). The initial holes have the highest spins of all binary-black-hole simulations to date.




Merging black holes are among the most promising sources of gravitational waves for the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO). Accurate predictions of the gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes---necessary both for detecting the waves in LIGO data and for estimating the properties of the binaries that generated those waves---can only be constructed using numerical simulations. In this talk, I will review recent progress and discuss current challenges in numerical simulations of merging, spinning black holes. After summarizing recent results (including the effects of black-hole spin on the holes' motion, the remnant hole's mass and spin, and the emitted gravitational waveforms), I will discuss the significant challenges that simulations of spinning binary black holes must still overcome. In particular, I will discuss the challenges of constructing and applying simulated waveforms to gravitational-wave data analysis, particularly when the spins are misaligned (causing orbital and spin precession) and when the holes are spinning near the theoretical maximum.





Shovit Bhari completed his Masters Degree in Physics demonstrationPhysics from our department and taught lower divisionphysics labs and classes for three semester. In the mid August 2011 he joined the department as Staff Physicist Tech to design, develop, refurbish, build and curate lecture demonstrations. Lecture Demonstration can be requested using our Demo Request Form

Shovit welcomes an oppurtunity for community outreach and collaboration with sutudents for video analysis of the high speed videos captured by our new Casio EX-F1. Our new YouTube Channel CSUFPhysics includes some of the recent videos by Shovit.  


Physics demos


Date Outreach
Nov 4, 2011 Steve Luther Elementary School
Nov 5, 2011 'Cool Class' for middle school kids 
March 23, 2012 Kids to College Workshop
April 27, 2012 Kids to College Workshop
June 5, 2012 Transit of Venus
Jan 30, 2013 Star Party at Raymond Elementary School
March 1, 2013 Kids to College Workshop
March 22, 2013 Women in STEM
May 31, 2013 Kids to College Workshop
Feb 13, 2014 Star Party at Raymond Elementary School
Feb 17, 2015 Build a better puck
Sep 27, 2015 Supermoon lunar eclipse 
Feb 23, 2016 Light a lamp
Mar 11, 2016 TACIB Field Trip



CSUF Physics Astrophotography

CSUF Physics YouTube Channel




Mission Kepler

Astronomy Picture of the Day



American Physics Society

Particle Adventure








Demo Request


Where am I?

Morty KhakooMorty Khakoo


Dr. Murtadha "Morty" Khakoo was born in Zanzibar Town on the island of Zanzibar, which lies off of the eastern coast of Tanzania. He accompanied his early studies with football (soccer), fishing with friends, and enjoying the sandy beaches afforded by island life.

Dr. Khakoo completed high school in Abingdon, UK. Afterwards, he attended University College in London, where he graduated with honors. He remained at University College to complete his doctorate in atomic physics while developing a love for London which persists even to this day.

In 1989, Dr. Khakoo joined the Cal State Fullerton Physics faculty. In addition to teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level physics courses at CSUF, Professor Khakoo devotes his energy towards the advancement of experimental research in atomic physics, working together with students and colleagues in order to maintain a very vibrant and extremely active laboratory.

A Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Chartered Physicist, Dr. Khakoo has been the recipient of more than $2.1 million in grants and fellowships and co-holds a patent for a pulsed-electron gun. 

Dr. Khakoo values his family over his passion for experimental physics. He lives in Orange County with his wife Sherbanu and his two children, Naushad and Sabaha.

Dr. Khakoo's Research

Dr. Khakoo focuses his research efforts on experimental inquiries into atomic physics -- specifically, on electron scattering from fundamental targets.

The goal of this research is to provide experimental electron-gas scattering data in the form of cross-sections, cross-section ratios, and coherence and correlation parameters as fundamental tests of current electron scattering models. As well as spin polar electron polarimetry; gas dynamics of molecular beams; and atomic and molecular sources from discharge media. This information is very useful for plasma processing applications, astrophysical modeling applications, lighting industry applications, and Tokamak magnetic confinement fusion research. With special interests in fundamental targets such as H, He, rare gases, metallic vapors, and H2, N2, O2, CO, and CO2.


Research Summaries

Electron scattering from atomic targets

Electron scattering from molecular targets

Monte Carlo modeling of Mott scattering from Au and Th foils

Research Publications (PDF)

(2011) Near-threshold electron impact doubly differential cross sections for the ionization of argon and krypton

(2011) Radiative transition parameters of the 107,109Ag2 C 1Πu - X 1Σg+ band system

(2011) Symmetry relations in the relative intensities of the energy loss lines of argon excited by electrons in the ground state to the 3p 54s fine-structure states

(2011) Near-threshold electron impact excitation of the argon 3p 54s configuration - new and revised normalized differential cross sections using recent time-of-flight measurements for normalization

(2010) Low-energy elastic electron scattering from furan

(2010) Elastic electron scattering by ethyl vinyl ether

(2010) Total electron scattering cross sections for methanol and ethanol at intermediate energies

(2009) Integral cross-sections for the electron impact excitation of the
C 3Πu, E 3Σg+, and a'' 1Σg+ states of N2

(2009) Low energy electron scattering from polyatomic targets

(2009) Three-body dynamics in single ionization of atomic hydrogen by 75keV proton impact

(2009) Vibrational excitation of water by electron impact

(2009) Near-threshold electron impact doubly differential cross-sections for the ionization of neon and xenon

(2008) Electron scattering of slow electrons by n-propanol and n-butanol

(2008) Electron scattering from H2O: elastic scattering

(2008) Low energy elastic differential electron scattering from water

(2008) Low energy electron scattering from methanol and ethanol

(2008) Electron impact excitation of the X 1Σg+(v'' = 0) state to the
a'' 1Σg+, b 1Πu, c 1Πu, o 1Πu, b' 1Σu+, c' 1Σu+, F 3Πu, and G 3Πu states of molecular nitrogen

(2007) Direct evidence for channel-coupling effects in molecules: electron impact excitation of the
a'' 1Σg+ state of N2

(2007) Low energy elastic electron scattering from ethylene

(2005) Low energy electron impact ionization of helium - doubly differential cross-sections

(2005) Integral cross sections for the direct excitation of the
A 3Σu+, B 3Πg, W 3Δu, B' 3Σu-, a' 1Σu-, a 1Πg, w 1Δu, and C 3Πu electronic states of N2 by electron impact

(2005) Differential cross sections for the electron impact excitation of the
A 3Σu+, B 3Πg, W 3Δu, B' 3Σu-, a' 1Σu-, a 1Πg, w 1Δu, and C 3Πu states of N2

(2004) Low-energy electron scattering from atomic hydrogen. II. Elastic and inelastic scattering

(2004) Low-energy electron scattering from atomic hydrogen. I. Ionization

(2004) Electron impact excitation of the argon 3p54s configuration: differential cross-sections and cross-section ratios

(2003) Electron-impact ionization of atomic hydrogen at incident electron energies of 15.6, 17.6, 25, and 40 eV

(2003) Accurate determination of background scattered electrons in crossed electron- and gas-beam experiments using a moveable gas beam source


Older papers

(2005) Electron impact excitation of argon and krypton: improved r-ratios

(2002) Differential cross-sections for the electron-impact excitation of molecular hydrogen

(2002) Differential cross-sections and cross-section ratios for the electron-impact excitation of neon

(2000) Angular profiles of molecular beams from effusive tube sources

(1999) Differential cross-sections for electron-impact excitation of krypton and Letter to the editor

(1999) Elastic electron scattering from laser-excited Ba atoms and Letter to the editor [JPL collaboration]

(1999) Absolute differential cross sections for the electron impact excitation of the 12S to the 22S and 22P levels of atomic hydrogen at 50 and 100 eV

(1996) Electron-impact excitation of the 11S to 31P and 41P transitions in helium

(1996) Differential cross sections for electron impact excitation of Xe

(1996) A time-of-flight spectrometer for electron-gas scattering

(1995) Electron impact excitation of the 11S to 31P transition in helium

(1994) Electron-impact excitation of select levels of Ne, Kr, Ar, and Xe

The Lab

Morty in the labMorty in the labDr. Khakoo's experimental research laboratory is located in the Science Laboratory Center, on the first floor of Dan Black Hall at CSU Fullerton. Completed in 1994, the SLC is a state-of-the-art research facility for exploration into most major branches of science, including atomic physics, laboratory astrophysics, and fiber optics.

One of the vacuum chambersOne of the vacuum chambersSeveral vacuum chambers house the various electron scattering test regions and represent the core elements of Dr. Khakoo's laboratory equipment. Three such chambers are present in the laboratory; low-energy electron spectrometers collimate, monochromate, and direct electrons onto gaseous targets, while a computer-monitored residual energy detector counts and registers scattered electrons.

Much of the equipment in Dr. Khakoo's lab has been donated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a close partner of the lab in the exploration of physical phenomena.

Leigh at the computerLeigh at the computerSeveral computers monitor and control 'round-the-clock experiments while recording precise measurements of experimental data. Sophisticated computerized data analysis enables the research team to extract meaningful physical conclusions from the raw data produced by these experiments. Finally, these computers provide tools for the research team to design new experimental equipment, write new proposals, and maintain the website.

Lab Staff

Dr. Khakoo leads a team of highly motivated and extremely capable experimenters who perform research into electron scattering from fundamental targets.

Leigh HargreavesLeigh HargreavesDr. Leigh Hargreaves has come to Fullerton from the Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, where he explored experimental methods for studying electron scattering from short-lived free radicals. Leigh has also worked at the University of Adelaide studying electron ionization of rare gas atoms and buckyballs. He has joined the CSUF Physics department as a student research director and part-time lecturer. His favorite thing to do in the lab? Perform miracles with LabView.

Colin CampbellColin CampbellColin Campbell is a part-time faculty member of the CSUF Physics department, and he's the lab's technical expert. He loves to build things with his own hands while exhibiting supreme patience and open approachability towards his student assistants.

Joshua TannerJoshua TannerJoshua Tanner is a CSUF Physics graduate student. He loves to put the scientific knowledge he has learned so far into practical use whether it be through experimental physics or side projects. Understanding more about the world and seeing it in action is his goal!

Danny OrtonDanny OrtonDanny Orton is a CSUF undergraduate student double-majoring in Mathematics and Physics. Ask him about Portal 2, wakeboarding, or number theory -- all three subjects will likely net you an enthusiastic response. He will be traveling to Brazil with Colin Campbell this summer (2011) to visit Dr. Khakoo's colleagues in bioethanol research.

Alexs GaufAlexs GaufAlexs Gauf is another Physics/Mathematics double-major at CSU Fullerton. His keen insight and matter-of-fact attitude toward school make him a student researcher with considerable potential. He's a fan of House and is focused clearly on his academic and professional goals. His favorite thing to say, and always with a comical grin: "[whatever the topic of conversation is] is for suckers."

Amos JoAmos JoAmos Jo is pursuing a major in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. Inspired by a sudden change of heart, he has returned to school after eight years of full-time work to pursue a career in environmental science and sustainability. He's good at breaking things, especially if they are interesting things...

Kevin RalphsKevin RalphsKevin Ralphs is a Physics/Mathematics double-major at CSU Fullerton. Strong-willed and extremely bright, Kevin is known for his natural tendency to ace his classes... and give detailed lessons on physics and math to his peers.

But even Legends aren't perfect -- Kevin has earned a B+ at CSUF!

Zac Yauney is an intern from Troy High school who is interested in math and physics. He hopes that by completing an internship with Dr. Khakoo he will be one step closer to someday becoming a great physics researcher and Nobel Laureate.

Phillipe RodriguezPhillipe RodriguezPhillipe Rodriguez joined the CSUF team as an intern from Los Altos High School. He aspires to expand his knowledge of physics through constant experimentation and constantly works to grasp the concepts needed for success, working diligently toward the end result. He thanks Dr. Khakoo and his high school physics teacher,  Mr. Mark Hughes, for such a wonderful opportunity in the field of physics.

Gabby SernaGabby SernaGabriela Serna studies Physics and Mathematics at Cal State Fullerton. Her hardworking ethic has been noticed by professors at CSUF. She works as a lab assistant studying electron scatter with Dr. Khakoo and Dr. Hargreaves. In addition to electron scatter studies, Gabriela also works closely with Dr. Smith and Dr. Loverude on teaching strategies for Astronomy.

Cris Navarro is a Physics undergraduate at Cal State Fullerton working as a lab assistant for Dr. Khakoo and learning as much as he can in the process. Cris has also worked under Colin Campbell to organize and maintain a variety of lecture demonstrations which has given him a basic understanding oh physics phenomena.


Isik, Sandor, and friends at JPL.Isik, Sandor, and friends at JPL.

































Dr. Khakoo wishes to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support and/or funding:

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Isik Kanik, Paul Johnson

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The National Science Foundation Research in Undergraduate Institutions grant (NSF-RUI)

The American Chemical Society

The Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) Cottrell Fund

The US Department of Energy DOE-AWUI Summer Faculty Fellowship

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) Junior-Senior and Minigrant funds

CSUF Physics Department faculty and staff

And last, but certainly not least -- ashante and salaamu to Sherbanu, Naushad, and Sabaha for all your love. Hamna matata.

Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
California State University, Fullerton.  T (657) 278-3366 / F (657) 278-2555
Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.



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