Condensed matter physics research at UL Lafayette concerns studies of various luminescence effects and the elasto-magnetic behavior of novel alloys.
Gabriela Petculescu is an experimental physicist whose primary area of expertise is in elastic and magnetic properties of solids. Through the use of ultrasonic techniques such as Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy (RUS) and pulse-echo, she extracts information about lattice dynamics and physical properties such as elastic moduli and magnetoelastic constants of solids (elements, alloys, and compounds). In order to investigate elastic properties of samples with varied geometries, Gabriela employs bulk, surface, and Lamb waves, in both the linear and nonlinear acoustic regimes. A particular class of materials of current interest are Fe-Ga alloys (known as Galfenol). Their strong magnetostrictive coupling make them promising candidates as transducer materials, whether as precision drivers or energy-harvesting devices. Gabriela Petculescu is currently measuring the elastic properties of Fe-Ga alloys as a function of composition, over a range of temperatures and magnetic fields.