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Halley Aycock Rizzo Halley Aycock Rizzo, a first year student in the physics doctoral program, was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship in the field of physics. The fellowship provides a $34,000 annual stipend for 3 years.

The fellowship was awarded to Halley for his research in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Meriles, Professor of Physics, The City College of New York and the Graduate Center. Of this research, Halley writes:

There exists little understanding of the interaction between orbital angular momentum (OAM) of visible light and individual atoms. A single long-lived electron spin called the nitrogen vacancy (NV) center in diamond is a robust candidate for detecting quantum effects using single electron spins. For my NSF fellowship I will study this particular point defect in diamond in parallel with a novel focusing of orbital angular momentum beams through the use of plasmonic surfaces, seeking to measure new and critically important qualities in the interactions of visible light with individual atoms.

Halley was an undergraduate physics major at The City College when he took Dr. Meriles’ Quantum Mechanics course in spring 2013. Then he learned about the research in the Meriles group and was hooked. Halley seeks to continue nanofabrication research at the doctoral level and is especially excited about the prospect of working in the world class facilities at the college’s new Center for Discovery and Innovation science building and CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center.

Over the last 5 years, a total of 3 physics doctoral students, including Halley, have been recipients of this prestigious NSF fellowship. The previous recipients were Arthur Parzygnat (CCNY-V. Parameswaran Nair) and Giovanni Milione (CCNY-Robert Alfano).