Physics & Astronomy Facilities

Ward Beecher Planetarium

In addition to astronomy classroom use, the Ward Beecher Planetarium on campus offers field trip programs to area schools and weekend public programs.

In 2016, the planetarium was awarded $650,000 in funding via a NASA cooperative agreement to support the development of full-dome video and 3D animation materials that will be distributed for free to planetaria across the globe. The funds will in part be used to upgrade the planetarium’s computing facilities and to purchase a new high-resolution full-dome video camera system.

Visit Ward Beecher Planetarium's website

Photonics and semiconductor lab

The Physics and Astronomy department's Photonics and Semiconductor Laboratory maintains a growing optical and electrical characterization laboratory. This lab includes a variety of laser and photonics equipment for analysis of photoluminescence, nonlinear optics and spectral analysis, including:

  • A 55-watt, 325 nm He-Cd laser
  • A quadrupled Nd:YAG 10-Hz laser
  • A doubled 5kHz diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser
  • PMTs
  • Monochromators
  • Optical power meters

It also includes a high power Eclipse ME- 6 Nikon microscope with a set of objective lenses for sample inspection, and computer-interfaced Keithley and Agilent meters and microprobes for I-V and CV characterization. The latter are interfaced with a dedicated Dell Pentium 4 workstation for data collection.

Other equipment includes a student-constructed laser tweezer system, two vacuum deposition systems, one fitted with sputter guns for DC magnetron sputter deposition and the other fitted with graphite heater for vacuum annealing, and a well-equipped machine shop directly across the hall.

Additionally, YSU Physics is the primary user of a parallel cluster obtained through the Cluster Ohio Program and has easy access to the Ohio Supercomputing Center. The cluster at YSU is currently being used by Dr. Andrews for modeling fields in layered polymers in coordination with Case Western Reserve University.