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Department of Physics and Astronomy Collins Research Group


Principle Investigator

Brian A. Collins, Assistant Professor

Email: brian.collins at
Phone: (509) 335-4671
Office: Webster Physical Science 523

PhD and MS in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
BA in Physics from Gustavus Adolphus College



Postdoctoral Researchers

Terry McAfee PhD

Email: terry.mcafee at
Office: Webster Physical Science 525

PhD in Physics from North Carolina State University
BS in Physics from California State University – Chico

Terry is stationed at the Advanced Light Source of LBNL where he is developing a new instrument for in-situ/in-operando structural measurements of organic materials using Resonant Soft X-ray Scattering.

Prabodh Dhakal PhD

Email: prabodh.dhakal at
Office: Webster Physical Science 521

PhD in Materials Science from Washington State University

Developing structure-property relationships in organic solar cell active layers by combining advanced resonant X-ray nanoprobes with optoelectronic characterization on the exact same devices.



Graduate Students

Victor Murcia

Email: Victor.Murcia at
Office: Webster Physical Science 525

BS in Chemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology

Combining X-ray spectroscopy with Density Functional calculations to developing a tensor optical/scattering model for the analysis and interpretation of polarized resonant soft X-ray scattering on molecular materials targeted for optoelectronic applications.


Awwad Alotaibi

Email: Awwad.Alotaibi at
Office: Webster Physical Sciences 521

BS in Physics from King Saud University
MS in Physics from Western Illinois University

Exploring morphological control of excited states and charge generation and recombination dynamics in organic solar cell devices.


Tamanna Kahn

Email: Tamanna.Kahn at
Office: Webster Physical Sciences 525

BS in Physics from University of Dhaka
MS in Physics from University of Texas at El Paso

Investigating the effect of morphology on ion and charge transport in conducting polymers. Developing in-operando resonant X-ray techniques to characterize nano-structure during ion transport.

Obaid Alqahtani

Email: Obaid.Alqahtani at
Office: Wbster Physical Sciences 521

BS in Physics from
MS in Physics from Washington State University

Combining spectroscopy, microscopy, scattering, and diffraction for multimodal nanostructure characterization of organic solar cell active layer morphology using advanced resonant X-ray techniques.



Undergraduate Students

Kyle Norbert

Office: Webster Physical Sciences 524






Jacob Hastings

Office: Webster Physical Sciences 524






Graduate Alumni

  • Thomas Ferron Ph.D. (2019)
    Thesis: “Spectral model of resonant soft X-ray scattering to resolve molecule specific organization in 3D organic nanostructures”
    NOW: NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at NIST
  • David Buckley M.S. (2017)
    Thesis: “Computational Modeling to Determine Molecular Orientation at Buried Interfaces in Polymer Thin Films”
    NOW: Physics Professor – Lab Specialist at Gonzaga University
  • Michael Pope M.S. (2017)
    Thesis: “Using resonant X-ray scattering to determine how structure controls the charge generation process in PCPDTBT:PC70BM solar cells”
    NOW: Analyst at Discover Financial Services
  • Obaid Alqahtani, M.S. (2016)
    Thesis: “Probing nanostructure of organic films and photovoltaics via synchrotron X-ray techniques”
    NOW: Instructor of Physics at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University
  • Qun Lu, M.S. (2016)
    Thesis: “Calibration and automation of AAA solar simulator and external quantum efficiency measurement of organic photovoltaic devices”

Undergraduate Alumni

  • Zachary Croft, B.S. (2018)
    NOW: DOE SULI Researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Michael Anderson, B.S. (2018)
    NOW: PhD Candidate at University of Arizona Materials Science and Engineering
  • Keith Hillaire, B.S. (2017)
    NOW: PhD Candidate at North Carolina State University Physics Department
  • Matthew Waldrip, B.S. (2017)
    NOW: PhD Candidate: Wake Forest University Physics Department
  • Eric Beier, B.S. (2015)
    NOW: US Navy