Franz Rueckert, Ph.D.

Department Chair


Ph. D. Physics, University of Connecticut (2013)
M.S. Physics, San Diego State University (2006)
B.S. Physics, San Diego State University (2004)
B.A. Mathematics, San Diego State University (2004)

Franz Rueckert is an Assistant Professor of Physics who joined the faculty of the Department of Sciences in 2013. Since that time, he has taught the introductory physics sequence at both the college and engineering levels, engineering chemistry, and modern physics. Dr. Rueckert led the effort to redesign our conceptual physics course, and has helped advanced a number of EPIC projects.

As an experimental physicist, Dr. Rueckert specializes in condensed matter and material sciences. His research interests include the magnetic and electrical properties of transition metal oxides and Mott insulators, focusing on the effects of oxygen doping in magnetic phase separation and superlattice ordering. Dr. Rueckert continues to supervise student projects on the production and characterization of superconducting materials. He is also interested in novel approaches to physics education and the classroom environment. Prof. Rueckert collaborates with a number of colleagues to explore new pedagogical techniques, including the development of game based lab-kits.

When atoms and molecules are brought close together, their various interactions lead to a number of interesting phenomena. Condensed matter physics investigates the science of solid and liquid materials, including their electronic and magnetic properties.

My work focuses on the material SrCoOx. This perovskite exhibits multiple distinct magnetic phases as a function of oxygen content. I explored this system through examination of bulk samples and epitaxial thin films grown via pulsed laser deposition. We noted a finite thickness effect giving an indication as to the size of the ordered regions. Subsequent resonant soft x-ray diffraction analysis uncovered an ordering commensurate to the lattice with may help to explain the stability of particular phases. Understanding these interactions may lend further insight to other strongly correlated electron systems.

Caption: In this film, two simultaneous ferromagnetic ordering temperatures are observed, in agreement with the suggested phase diagram shown in the inset (see Suppression of magnetic phase separation in epitaxial SrCoOX films, Rueckert et al, 2013).

Here at WIT, I help students learn condensed matter techniques through our ongoing project on high temperature superconductivity. In partnership with the material science laboratory and the department of Mechanical Engineering, we use Wentworth facilities to create superconducting Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide samples. I continue to work with student to develop tools to measure and characterize these materials.

Caption: Students use liquid nitrogen to test their superconducting samples. At low temperature these pucks exhibit magnetic levitation via the Meissner effect.

Recent Publications:

  • Charge order in SrCoO3−y investigated through resonant soft x-ray scattering, F. J. Rueckert, F. He, B. Poudel, B. Dabrowski, W. A. Hines, J. I. Budnick, B. O. Wells, in preparation arXiv:1707.04336
  • Distinct magnetic phases in structurally uniform SrCoO3-y, Z. H. Zhu, F. J. Rueckert, J. I. Budnick, W. A. Hines, Ch. Niedermayer, L. Keller, H. Luetkens, B. Dabrowski, S. Kolesnik, and B. O. Wells, Phys. Rev. B 93, 224412 (2016)
  • Suppression of magnetic phase separation in epitaxial SrCoOX films, F. J. Rueckert, Y. F. Nie, C. Abughayada, S. A. Sabok-Sayr, H. E. Mohottala, J. I. Budnick, W. A. Hines, B. Dabrowski, and B. O. Wells, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 152402 (2013)
  • It’s all fun and games until somebody learns, F. J. Rueckert, J. G. O’Brien, G. Sirokman, D. Cascio, Proceedings of Hawaii University STEAM Education Conference (2017)
  • Initial steps toward a study on the effectiveness of multimedia learning modules in introductory physics courses for engineers, D. S. Goodman, F. J. Rueckert, and J. G. O'Brien. Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (2017).
  • Engineering as an Educational Tool: Restructuring Conceptual Physics, F. J. Rueckert, Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition (2015)


Presidential EPIC Mini Grant (2017): Physics in Virtual Reality. A proposal to create education materials using virtual reality tools to better understand three dimensional fields.

Presidential EPIC Mini Grant (2016): A Comparative Analysis of Synthesis Techniques for High Temperature Superconductors. A proposal to compare various preparation methods for the creation and characterization of high temperature superconducting samples using WIT facilities

Invited Talks

Semana de la ciencia y el arte (2017) Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico

Magnets and Materials: Phase Separation and Ordering in SrCoOx  (2016) Trinity College

Física Helada: Superconductores (2015) Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico