Physics at Virginia

Dustin Keller

Ph.D., 2010, Ohio University
Assistant Research Professor

Nuclear and Particle Physics,High Energy Physics

Research Interests

Professor Keller conducts research in spin physics at the intersection of high-energy, nuclear, and condensed matter physics, with interests in hadron spin structure, physics beyond the standard model, spin-sensitive phenomena, and mapping the inner structure of composite spin systems. This research involves the study of quark and gluon dynamics as well as the study of spin degrees of freedom to probe polarized observables. This research could also be used to gain possible insight on dark sector physics, such as dark-matter. Spin physics encompasses a range of goals from the study of nuclear entanglement to the application of quantum information theory in solid-state materials used to probe the motion of partons and the manifestation of emergent properties. This work requires a broad overlap between theoretical, experimental, and computational physics.

Nucleons are the smallest quantum composite structures in the universe presently known. Spin physics femtography attempts to map their inner structure using generalized parton and transverse momentum distribution functions describing spatial and dynamic properties on the sub-femtometer scale. This research is approached using modern developments in data science for data visualization and to produce three dimensional images of these tiny structures. This effort also focuses on the pursuit of modeling as well as optimized information extraction from experimental data using machine learning tools.

Another important area of Professor Keller’s research is low temperature solid-state physics and spin dynamics of polarized materials. The technique of polarizing solid-state materials for application in spin-oriented target systems is a specialized tool to study polarized observables. These types of systems use dynamic nuclear polarization at a low temperature and high magnetic fields to achieve high nuclear polarization for application in particle physics. These target systems are critical for spin physics experiments using polarized fix targets. Professor Keller has projects in all experimental Halls at Jefferson Lab, as well as projects at Fermilab, NIST, and CERN.