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Professor Emeritus Donald Sprung  
Area: Theoretical Physics
Donald Sprung
Location: ABB 147
Phone: 905-525-9140 ext 23188
Fax: (905)546-1252
  1. Letter to Grad Students

September 2013

Donald Sprung
Department of Physics & Astronomy
McMaster University

Dear Prospective Graduate Student,

I am a theoretical physicist with broad interests and considerable experience and have studied with two of the giants of 20th century physics: Rudi Peierls in Birmingham, and Hans Bethe at Cornell.

During the past twenty years my work has mainly focussed on problems related to optics and nanoelectronics. As the feature size of semiconductor devices decreases year by year according to Moore's law, we are approaching the scale where the motion of electrons will be governed by quantum mechanics rather than classical laws. Also, fewer and fewer electrons will be involved in recording one bit of information. This trend has sparked an explosion of interest in quantum wires and quantum dots, as people explore the principles and possibilities for the construction of future devices. I have a former post-doc, now a faculty member in Paisley, Scotland with whom I collaborate on thin films for optical applications.

My current graduate student has just completed his M.Sc. on "some recent developments in the WKB approximation". My previous M.Sc. student worked on Rabi oscillations and Zener tunneling in a biased superlattice. He studied this by solving the time dependent wave equation for a wave packet which started as a localised (Wannier) state.

Many of my recent publications have concerned the propagation of electrons or photons in finite periodic systems. This is a subject where it is easy to get started in research, and some undergraduate students have become co-authors through their involvement as Summer Research Assistants. An example is the paper 177 by Betti et al. (Consult "recent publications" on my website for up-to-date information on my developing interests.)

 I have NSERC funding for the next four years. If it appeals to you to work in a field with connections to practical developments, I would be glad to correspond with you.

Donald Sprung