From Michigan State University (US) : “Enhancing photoelectric efficiency”

Michigan State Bloc

From Michigan State University (US)

Sept. 3, 2021

Peng Zhang and Yang Zhou are working to improve the quantum efficiency of photoemission. Credit: Michigan State University.

MSU brightens the future of medical x-rays, space communications.

Albert Einstein might have called this research at Michigan State University a much-needed study. Einstein won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for explaining the photoelectric effect.

New research in the MSU College of Engineering may soon guide the development of better X-rays for everyday health or improving the space satellites consumers rely on every day.

Peng Zhang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, said that in simple terms the advancement involves ways that light dances on hard surfaces.

“When light impinges on material surfaces it can cause the ejection of electrons from the surface-a phenomenon known as the photoelectric effect. High quality electron beams for tabletop particle accelerators, intense x-rays, high-resolution electron microscopes, and high power high speed electronics need light induced electron emissions,” he explained.

So Zhang and Ph.D. student Yang Zhou studied and analyzed photoemissions from metal surfaces using laser illumination. Their theoretical tests used ultraviolet wavelengths that ranged from 200 nanometers to near-infrared wavelengths of 1200 nanometers.

“Our results could help guide the development of highly efficient and bright photoelectron sources,” Zhang said. “That means improvements in devices and systems including signal amplifiers in radars and satellites for space-based communications to better medical imaging for daily health.”

Their research is currently featured in an article, “Quantum model considers the effect … on photoemission,” by Chris Patrick in the American Institute of Physics Scilight.

Also, read “Quantum efficiency of photoemission from biased metal surfaces with laser wavelengths from UV to NIR,” by Yang Zhou and Peng Zhang in the Journal of Applied Physics (2021).

See the full article here .


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Michigan State Campus

Michigan State University (US) is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. Michigan State University (US) was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, Michigan State University (US) is one of the largest universities in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has approximately 634,300 living alumni worldwide.

U.S. News & World Report ranks its graduate programs the best in the U.S. in elementary teacher’s education, secondary teacher’s education, industrial and organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, African history (tied), supply chain logistics and nuclear physics in 2019. Michigan State University (US) pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, supply chain management, and communication sciences. Michigan State University (US) is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university’s campus houses the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, the Abrams Planetarium, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the country’s largest residence hall system.


The university has a long history of academic research and innovation. In 1877, botany professor William J. Beal performed the first documented genetic crosses to produce hybrid corn, which led to increased yields. Michigan State University (US) dairy professor G. Malcolm Trout improved the process for the homogenization of milk in the 1930s, making it more commercially viable. In the 1960s, Michigan State University (US) scientists developed cisplatin, a leading cancer fighting drug, and followed that work with the derivative, carboplatin. Albert Fert, an Adjunct professor at MSU, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.

Today Michigan State University (US) continues its research with facilities such as the Department of Energy (US)-sponsored Plant Research Laboratory and a particle accelerator called the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory [below]. The Department of Energy (US) Office of Science named Michigan State University as the site for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The $730 million facility will attract top researchers from around the world to conduct experiments in basic nuclear science, astrophysics, and applications of isotopes to other fields.

In 2004, scientists at the Cyclotron produced and observed a new isotope of the element germanium, called Ge-60 In that same year, Michigan State University (US), in consortium with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (US) and the government of Brazil, broke ground on the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

The consortium telescope will allow the Physics & Astronomy department to study galaxy formation and origins. Since 1999, MSU has been part of a consortium called the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which aims to develop biotechnology research in the State of Michigan. Finally, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Quello Center researches issues of information and communication management.

The Michigan State University (US) Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. Michigan State Spartans football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1954, 1956, 1988 and 2014, and the university claims a total of six national football championships. Spartans men’s basketball won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 and has attained the Final Four eight times since the 1998–1999 season. Spartans ice hockey won NCAA national titles in 1966, 1986 and 2007. The women’s cross country team was named Big Ten champions in 2019.[12] In the fall of 2019, MSU student-athletes posted all-time highs for graduation success rates and federal graduation rates, according to NCAA statistics.