Research at Department of Physics

The department of Physics of SST is active in several important research areas that span from black holes, quantum entanglement and non linear dynamics in theoretical physics to condensed matter, high energy physics and optical spectroscopy in experimental physics. Research projects in these areas are available for students who want to take a first step into the world of academic research. In addition students may have the opportunity to conduct research in other areas at NURIS or in affiliated research centers and laboratories around the world. Physics department is connected to reputed research groups of the world through individual faculty efforts.

Current Research Areas

1. Statistical Mechanics of Complex Systems, Non-Linear Dynamics (Georgios Tsironis)

Dr. Tsironis’ current research interests involve theoretical and computational studies in complex systems with emphasis in condensed matter, complex electronic and optical media, metamaterials, biological systems and accelerator physics and technology. Special emphasis is given in the statistical mechanics and self-organization properties of extended, nonlinear, discrete systems and the introduction of specific designs for quantum and superconducting metamaterials.

2. Ultrafast Photonics and Applied Non-linear Dynamics (Vassilios Kovanis)

Dr. Kovanis is currently working on theoretical, numerical, analytical and experimental work in ultrafast photonics, applied nonlinear dynamics, tunable photonic oscillators and photonic clocks, next generation optical and radio frequency meta-materials, control and synchronization of chaotic waveforms, phased arrays of coupled oscillators and laser emitters.

3. Nanophotonics and Molecular Electronics (Alexander Tikhonov)

Dr. Tikhonov is primarily interested in Nanophotonics and molecular electronics.  Photonic Crystals are nanostructures with `crystal’ like periodicities that can be used to control light through a diffraction process. His research activities include 1) Calculations and numerical simulations: He develops new methods and software to calculate diffraction by Photonic (Colloidal) Crystals. 2) Fabrication: He fabricates photonic crystals thin films by self-assembling nanoparticles into a close-packed crystal structures.

4. Laser-Based Material Science (Zhandos Utegulov)

Dr. Utegulov’s current research is focused on condensed matter physics and material science with focus on laser-based materials characterization and processing, development of fast time-resolved laser-acoustic and photo-thermal techniques, inelastic laser (Raman and Brillouin) light scattering spectroscopy, surface plasmon-enhanced spectroscopy and optical nano-metrology. He has been studying large variety of nanostructured, thin film and bulk materials including semiconductors, refractory metals and metal oxides.

5. Ultrafast Spectroscopy, Photoluminescence and Photocurrents in Semiconductors (Mithun Bhowmick)

Dr. Bhowmick’s current research is focused on development of new materials for optoelectronic applications, by studying optical properties of a variety of semiconductors (primarily II-VI and III-V) through coherent optical spectroscopy, photoconductivity, and photoluminescence studies. Coherent optical spectroscopy (for example Time Resolved Spectroscopy) encompasses a powerful set of techniques for studying scattering processes that are dominated by many-body effects.

6. Atomic and Molecular Physics, Quantum Chemistry (Sergiy Bubin)



Dr. Bubin’s research is focused on theoretical studies and computer simulations of systems governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The systems of interest range from few-body systems, such as small atoms, molecules, and positronic complexes, to nanostructures. His goal is to accurately predict the structure and dynamics of quantum systems and unravel the underlying mechanisms of how nature works at the atomic scale.

7. Entanglement, Quantum Computing and Information (Aikaterini Mandilara)

Quantum information poses new challenges to the theory of quantum mechanics. One of them concerns the understanding and integration of the notion of quantum entanglement into the existing theory. Dr. Mandilara’s main research interests focuses on the mathematical description of quantum entanglement and on its applications in the fields of quantum optics and information. Other subjects are quantum uncertainty relations, geometric representations of quantum mechanical systems and quantum control.

8. High Energy Physics and Radiation detectors (Dmitriy Beznosko)

Dr. Beznosko’s research areas are in the field of experimental High Energy Physics and the scientific instrumentation, such as novel photo detectors and data acquisition systems. My research interests are mostly concentrated around water-based liquid scintillator for large water-based detectors and the detection of the ultra-high energy cosmic rays at the Tien-Shan High-Altitude Research Station (TSHARS) facilities. The facilities include the laboratory space, photosensor and detection medium R&D and data acquisition equipment at NU. Current large project is the design and construction of the grid detector for the TSHARS facility that will be up to all cutting edge detection, time and data synchronization and analysis advancements. Other projects include the hardware random number generator development and optimization of the liquid scintillator components. Each project above presents ample opportunities for the undergraduate student research. Topics are not limited to physics only, thus students from engineering and programming disciplines are also welcome, as well as chemistry (for liquid scintillator project, ending 2015-2016).

9. Computational Astrophysics (Ernazar Abdikamalov)

Dr. Abdikamalov’s research interests are in the field of computational astrophysics. He works on various topics at the interface of fluid dynamics, radiation transport, numerical relativity, nuclear and neutrino astrophysics, and high-performance computing.

10. General Relativity, Quantum Field Theory and Black Hole Thermodynamics (Michael Good)

Dr. Good’s main area of research concerns how ‘quantum field theory in curved space-time’ can be used to understand and find new approaches for the theoretical reconciliation of quantum mechanics and gravitation. His primary interest is in quantum gravitational phenomenology, including the study of the creation of particles via Dynamical Casimir effect, Unruh effect, Parker effect and Hawking effect.

11. General Relativity, Black Holes and Naked Singularities (Daniele Malafarina)



Dr. Malafarina’s current research interests in General Relativity cover exact solutions of Einstein’s field equations and analytical models for astrophysics and cosmology. He is particularly interested in the study of the equations that describe the complete gravitational collapse of massive objects and the formation of black holes and naked singularities. He is also interested in the significance of relativistic singularities towards the formulation of a theory of quantum-gravity.

Facilities/ Laboratories

Department of Physics is rapidly growing to establish a strong and leading research program. The variety of projects, run by a group of vibrant faculty, covers a lot of colors in the spectrum of modern day pure Physics and interdisciplinary research. Currently, several groups are working to establish state of the art research facilities to match the aspirations of Nazarbayev University.

Dr. Zhandos Utegulov is working towards a laboratory to study laser based material science.

Dr. Mithun Bhowmick is working on his goal to establish a material fabrication, and characterization laboratory equipped with a Pulsed Laser Deposition system (planned). His Optical Spectroscopy laboratory with a Spectrofluorometer and a Femtosecond laser based time-resolved set up is under construction (approved).

Summer Internships/workshop/ other opportunities

Every summer the Physics Department is organizing internships, summer schools and trips to international conferences for the students. We offer students the opportunity to be exposed to real research environment in physics and related areas as early as possible in their career.

Physics faculty in the news

Acting chair of Physics Dr. Georgios Tsironis’ article  “ Small-world networks of optical fiber lattices” was featured in Journal of Optics and was selected as “paper of the week” (October, 2014). Please find below the link and excerpt from the news.

Read all news here