Astronomy and Astroparticle Physics


Astronomy and Astroparticle PDarkSide Researchhysics at UALR is divided into two categories.  The first in Extragalactic Astrophysics, Galaxy Structure and Dynamics.  The Arkansas Galaxy Evolution Survey (AGES) collaboration is involved in research in the areas of structure, morphology, and dynamics of nearby galaxies, and the dynamics of clusters of galaxies. Areas of particular interest include, the nature of central super massive black holes, the amount and distribution of dark matter in galaxies, spiral structure, and barred galaxies. We have access to large datasets including, Hubble Space Telescope archival data, Spitzer Space Telescope archival data, Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, The Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey, and the future data products of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.



Materials ResearchThe second area is the ongoing search for dark matter using underground detectors.  Faculty at UALR are involved in the DarkSide Program.  DarkSide (Depleted Argon Cryogenic Scintillation and Ionization Detection) is an experimental collaboration for the detection of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), a proposed form of dark matter. Its scientific program is planned in phases with increasing sensitivity. The first step is Darkside-50, a dual-phase, 50 kg depleted argon time projection chamber (TPC). WIMPs would be detected when they scatter off an argon nucleus in the bulk liquid argon target. The nucleus recoils leaving a short track of ionized argon. Molecular processes of electronic recombination produce a flash of scintillation light detected by arrays of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs). By applying an electric field, a fraction of the electrons are drifted to the anode grid, multiplied in the gas phase above the liquid argon and detected as a second signal. This dual readout allows us to distinguish nuclear recoils from other background events. Darkside-50 will be deployed at the Gran Sasso underground laboratories in Italy. The second phase of DarkSide is within a larger project called MAX (Multi-ton Argon and Xenon detectors), which also includes the XENON collaboration. The plan is to run dual-phase ton-sized depleted argon and xenon detectors side by side, to validate discovery claims with different targets.

Students interested in studying Astronomy or Astroparticle Physics should e-mail Dr. Marc S. Seigar ( or phone him at 501-569-8964.


Materials Research

Astronomy and Astroparticle Research







This research area focuses on properties, characterization, and advanced technological applications of thin film and nanostructured materials. Research topics include micro- and nano-fabrication, advanced characterization techniques, solid state physics, materials for energy applications, bio-materials, multifunctional materials, smart materials, thin film coating technologies, composite materials, and materials for space exploration. Faculty involved in this area of research include Dr. Jingbiao Cui (, Dr. Hye-Won Seo (, and Dr. Tar-Pin Chen (  Interested students should email one of them.