Undergraduate Research I





Undergraduate Research I is a 4-credit physics major elective module which provides a unique opportunity for high-achieving students enrolled in the BSc (Hons.) Physics programme to conduct independent research on any physics or multidisciplinary topic under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department of Physics XMUM. Undergraduate Research I is designed with the intention to nurture and promote our young scientists' interest in pursuing a postgraduate degree and a research-based career, to expose them early to the process of knowledge co-creation and interaction with the international scientific community. Students will undergo 15 weeks of research activities according to their respective application proposals as well as the research tasks prescribed by their academic supervisor(s).

The Undergraduate Physics Research Experience (UPREx) is a unique opportunity for high-achieving students enrolled in the BSc (Hons.) Physics programme to conduct independent research on any physics or multidisciplinary topic under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department of Physics XMUM. UPREx is designed with the intention to nurture and promote our young scientists' interest in pursuing a postgraduate degree and a research-based career, to expose them early to the process of knowledge co-creation and interaction with the international scientific community. UPREx aspires to emulate the successes of similar programmes like the UROP programme in National University of Singapore and URECA programme in Nanyang Technological University. Students enrolled in this programme will also receive academic credits under the Major Elective course PHY210 Undergraduate Research I.

If you're interested in the UPREx programme, follow the steps below for your application:

1. Check your eligibility to enrol in UPREx:

  1. You would be at 3rd year standing during your enrolment in UPREx.

  2. You currently maintain a high CGPA such that enrolment in the programme will not affect your studies in other courses.

2. Select a research topic and a supervisor with the relevant expertise on the topic:

  1. You may browse the faculty directory to know more about the research areas of our academic staff here.

  2. You may propose your own research topic, or work on a topic that is assigned by your potential supervisor.

3. Prepare a research proposal on the project plan for the duration of 15 weeks:

  1. Research proposal has to contain a short summaried details of your topic and research objectives, schedule of research activities, and a personal statement on why you have chosen the topic and your interest in the programme.

  2. Your research proposal must be approved by your potential supervisor (by signing the supervisor undertaking section), and also your declaration of commitment to complete your research topic by the end of the programme.

4. Finally, submit your application package to us before the next semester commences:

  1. Complete the PHY210 Application form and also attach your past 2 recent 15-week semesters' academic results  .

  2. Optionally, you may also attach your CV and an extended research proposal.

  3. Submit all the documents to physics@xmu.edu.my

You can download the application form here: PHY210 Application Form.docx


Student: Leong Jing Tian

Supervisor: Chen Huanyang

Parity-Time (PT) symmetry in shifter and rotator

Abstract:In this project, we firstly have read many papers about transformation optics (TO). We further studied how to use the finite element software COMSOL and the numerical calculation software Mathematica, and based on the above software to demonstrate many intriguing phenomena including shifter and rotator. Inspired by the concept of parity-time (PT) symmetry, the recent progress of non-Hermitian physics that explores exotic phenomena in gain or loss media provide a new perspective on TO. Losses are not always considered as a foe, such as unidirectional invisibility and coherent perfect absorption (CPA), asymmetric metasurface. In further, we will explore the new physics in TO with the concept of PT-symmetry.

Student: Toh Yu Xuan

Supervisor: Lim Yen Kheng

Pure Einstein gravity and Anti de-Sitter space

In general relativity, obtaining the exact solution for a metric tensor via the Einstein field equation will bring usthe information about the curvature of a particular spacetime. For the past century, various solutions have beenobtained for different physical/nonphysical interpretations. Pure Einstein gravity describes the curvature ofspacetime with the absence of matter. An anti-de Sitter (AdS) spacetime, another form of spacetime withoutmatter in it but with a negative cosmological constant. The goal and the direction of this research is to comparethe solutions for a pure gravity spacetime and an AdS spacetime and find a way to link both solutions togetherfor an analogous comparison between the two.


Student: Choo Wei Zheng

Supervisor: Lim Yen Kheng

Project: Geodesic equation for the Schwarzschild black hole

Abstract:In general relativity, the unique spherically symmetric vacuum solution is the Schwarzschild metric; it is second only to Minkowski space in the list of important spacetimes. Gravity is described by curvature but not a force, geodesics is a common expression. In this research, we will study the properties of the Schwarzschild black hole, which is characterized by a surrounding spherical boundary, called the event horizon, then as finding out the geodesic solutions to Schwarzschild’s Black Hole as our goal. Besides we will also discuss the astrophysical behavior, like what will happen if we put a test particle at a different position to the Schwarzschild black hole. The principal knowledge we are going to use is the geometry of spacetime, gravitation, and Schwarzschild metric in general relativity and doing data analyses with Matlab or C/C++

Student: Yang Ziou

Supervisor: Lim Yen Kheng

Project: Magnetic fields in de Sitter space

Abstract: In a previous work with Hayward spacetimes, we have found that magnetic fields near its regular origin admits a dipole-like configuration. Now, the Hayward spacetime is approximately de Sitter near the origin. These results lead us to investigate the full de Sitter spacetime and explore its possible magnetic field configurations. To start, we will solve Maxwell's equations with de Sitter spacetime as the background, assuming the magnetic field is a test field. That is, the magnetic field is sufficiently weak such that it does not backreact to the spacetime curvature.

Student: Guo Yiming

Supervisor: Ong Chong Kim

Project:  Electric-field mediated transmission of action potential in myelinated nerve cells

Abstract: In nervous systems, how a nerve signal - which is known as action potentials or voltage spike - istransmitted is an ongoing research interest. In general, the Hodgkin-Huxley (HH)(1952) theory works very well in explaining and predicting the observations. However, the issue on saltatory conduction of the signal propagating along a myelinated axon is still unsettled. In this research, we study quasi-static electric fields generated by the dipole oscillations arisen from the opening and closing of ion pumps across the ion channel pore at the node of Ranvier to mediate signal propagates longitudinally along the axon. Concepts and effects of ephaptic electric fields from neighboring neurons will be considered.

Student: Xue Jiaheng

Supervisor: Huang Rao

Project:  Molecular Dynamics Simulations of the Thermal Conductivity of Nanomaterials

Abstract: Since the 1990s molecular dynamics simulations have been widely used to simulate nanoflow conditions. Researchers have focused on two properties: boundary slip and thermal resistance. There are two main forms of flow: Couette flow and Poiseuille flow. The main research field for this project is the heat transfer between solid and liquid after viscous heating underPoiseuille flow conditions. So how do use MD simulation to study slip and heat transfer at the same time? The viscous heating effect at large shear rates is used. That is, temperature control is not applied to the liquid, only to the wall, so that heat is conducted from the inside of the liquid to the wall. At this time, the heat conduction characteristics between the solid and liquid are sufficient to reflect the heat conductioncharacteristics of the liquid facing the wall. So, you couple heat transfer and slip. Why use Poiseuille flow? First Poiseuille flow is a layered flow on an infinitely long straight circular tube. When the Reynolds number is less than 2000, the liquid flow in a straight circular tube with equal cross-section is a layered flow, and the flow has a layered regular motion. In this research, the advantage of using Poiseuille flow:

1. It is a laminar flow, the flow is simple, and the theoretical solution can be obtained from the N-S equation, which is convenient to compare the simulation results with the theory.                   

2. The length scale of molecular dynamics simulations is limited in the nanometer scale, and the Reynoldsnumber of simulated flows is very small.

Student: Ng Khai Shuen

Supervisor: Lim Yen Kheng

Project: Cylindrically-symmetric spacetimes

Abstract: The research objective is to study the configuration of a cylindricallysymmetric spacetime. In 2021, Vesely and Zofka [Phys. Rev. D 103, 024048, 2021] found a solution to a cylindrically symmetric spacetime that are caused by radial magnetic fields. It turns out that the solution (of the metric) to this spacetime is akin to a magnetic field made up of two magnetic monopoles. My research objective is to convert this from a magnetism problem to an electrical problem, and instead of considering aspacetime made up of two magnetic monopoles, we consider its electric analogue. To take it further, we can also consider the behaviour of charged particles within this spacetime, and to observe its behaviour within this configuration for further interesting insights

Student: Yap Jia Cheng

Supervisor: Kalai Kumar A/L Rajagopal

Project:  Propagation of Bose-Einstein condensate bright soliton onto a localized potential

Abstract: Solitons are exceptionally stable wave phenomena that appear in a variety of physical systems. Being a stable wave, they maintain their shape during propagation in dimensional space. Such propagation without spreading is by large due to the balance between dispersion and non-linearity of the physical system. The physical system we consider here is called Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). The latter is a large matter-wave (condensation of large number of bosons) on its lowest energy state (ground state) occurring at ultra-low temperature (about 100 nano-Kelvin). The said matter-wave (in Gaussian bell-shape) profile or soliton is let to propagate passing a localized potential in a one-dimensional space. In principle there are two types of solitons characterized by the type of inter-particle interactions. A bright soliton is formed by collective attractive bosons whereas its counterpart the dark soliton on the other hand is formed by collective repulsive bosons. We choose the bright soliton as our case study in this work since they are much stable comparing the two. We propose to investigate the scattering properties of the bright soliton as it passes through a localized potential (finite potential barrier or well or other type potential) in 1-dimension. The system (1D-BEC soliton propagating through a localized potential) is well described by the celebrated Gross-Pitaevskii equation. The latter equation which is in the form of non-linear Schrödinger equation can only be solved numerically. We plan to employ the Crank-Nicolsen scheme to perform our numerical simulation to calculate the scattering properties such as quantum tunnelling and transmission rate by controlling variable parameters.

Student: Wen Lan

Supervisor: Ong Chong Kim

Project: Study of short-term and long-term memories using simplified Hodgkin-Huxley memristor.

Abstract: Studying the memory patterns of the human brain can help us learn more scientifically and developneural network computer. In the brain simulation circuit, the memristor is appropriate basic component that can successfully simulate neurons currently. A memristor is a two-terminal device whose conductivity can be modulated by external inputs and memory achieved by change of internal states variable. It consists of nonlinear continuously tunable resistance. Previous studies on the transition from short-term memory to long-term memory have been conducted using peroxide memristors, but no ion channel memristors in simplified Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) model. In this project, ion channel memristors will be used to deeply investigate the effect of ion channels on the overall short-term memory to long-term memory transition in HH model.


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