Research Projects 

Levitated Optomechanics

Dr. Brian D'Urso, Assistant Professor of Physics

The research in the D'Urso group pursues new precision measurements and addresses fundamental physics questions. We utilize microparticles and nanoparticles levitated in magnetic, optical, and Paul traps under vacuum to make sensitive measurements with controlled coupling to the environment. Ultimately, we are pursuing the observation of quantum behavior in macroscopic objects, which could enable new techniques for measuring gravity, for inertial guidance, and even for gravity wave detection. Two specific goals we are currently pursuing include fundamental tests of quantum mechanics including gravitational decoherence and a new approach to a precision measurement of the Newtonian gravitational constant G. We use a broad range of experimental techniques including optics, ultra-high vacuum, electronics, and cryogenics.

 We are currently looking for new graduate students to join the group.


durso lab durso lab durso lab

Quantum Materials & Nano-Optics

Dr. Nick Borys, Assistant Professor of Physics

The Quantum Materials & Nano-Optics group investigates the optical, electronic and quantum properties of new material systems that are of interest for next-generation technologies in areas that include quantum computing, quantum information science, artificial light harvesting, and high-performance sensing. In the lab, sophisticated nano-optical laser spectroscopy and microscopy tools are used to measure how such new materials interact with light on very small length scales (as small as 10 billionths of a meter) and very fast timescales (billionths of a second and faster). From these studies, the Borys Group seeks to discover new phenomena that will improve our understanding of quantum mechanical effects in solid-state materials and aid the development of new technologies that use quantum effects. The group is continually improving capabilities and inventing new techniques to overcome the challenges that arise when trying to understand the newest quantum material systems.

Motivated students who are interested in quantum materials and nano-optical spectroscopy techniques are encouraged to contact Dr. Borys to discuss open positions and potential projects.


borys borys borys

Ultrastable Lasers and Materials for Signal Processing, Memories, and Lasers
Dr. Rufus Cone, Professor of Physics, Distinguished Professor College of Letters and Science

  • Ultra-high resolution optical spectroscopy of solids to sub-100Hz level
  • Designing new optical signal processing and memory materials and devices
  • Developing new laser crystals and methods for analysis of laser crystals
  • Relation of crystal valence and conduction band states to rare earth ion levels via UV photoemission
  • Stabilization of lasers to spectral holes - several patents issued for technology
cone cone cone

RF Photonics Group
Dr. Wm Randall Babbitt, Director Spectrum Laboratory, Professor of Physics

babbitt babbitt babbitt

Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Holography
Dr. Aleksander Rebane, Professor of Physics

  • Femtosecond Time-and-Space Domain Holography
  • One- and Two-Photon Coherent Transients and Spectral Hole Burning
  • New Multi-Photon Absorbing NLO Materials
  • Ultrafast Multi-Photon Spectroscopy


Physics Faculty Participating in Optical and Quantum Systems research: 

Name/Title Contact Information  

Wm. Randall Babbitt,  Ph.D


Phone: 406-994-6156 
Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 210, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

More Information on Dr. Babbitt


Nick Borys, Ph.D

Assistant Professor


Barnard Hall (EPS) , MSU
Bozeman, MT 59717-3840

More Information on Dr. Borys


Rufus L. Cone,  Ph.D

Distinguished Professor, Letters and Sciences

Phone: 406-994-6175 
Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 207, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

More Information on Dr. Cone


Brian D'urso Ph.D

Assistant Professor

Phone: 406-994-3456

Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 243, MSU
Bozeman, MT 59717-3840

More Information on Dr. D'Urso


Aleks Rebane Ph.D


Phone: 406-994-7831 

Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 208, MSU
Bozeman, MT 59717-3840

More Information on Dr. Rebane


Charles Thiel,  Ph.D

Research Scientist 

Phone: 406-994-4363 
Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 209, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

More Information on Dr. Thiel



 Graduate Students that are Participating in Optics and Quantum Systems:

Name Contact Information   
Aislinn Daniels


Office: Barnard 226

Torrey McLoughlin

Office:Barnard 226

More Information on Torrey McLoughlin

blank head
Owen Wolfe

Office: Barnard Hall 227

Owen Wolfe