Physics Profile: Claire Thomas

Claire Thomas

Not too many BU sophomores climb bona fide mountains or analyze super-small substances. Claire Thomas does both.

Claire works in experimental solid-state physics, where she examines graphene, a two-dimensional layer of carbon that is only a single atom thick. Thanks to its specific properties, graphene has great potential for applications in nanotechnology. Its unique carbon lattice structure allows charge carriers to move through it at relativistic speeds, approximately 1/300th the speed of light.

Because of this, graphene is looked at as a potentially smaller and speedier alternative to the silicon chips currently used in computers, since those have size and speed constraints that graphene does not. In her research with Professor Bennett Goldberg , Claire subjects small portions of graphene to a changing electric field, and in turn gathers transport and optical data to understand the physics of the substance.

Claire also serves as president of BU’s undergraduate physics organization, Photon. The club is working to create a huge Zeppelin, which is similar to a blimp, and plans to do outreach with a local middle school this semester. In addition, Claire lends her time to the college classroom, as a peer mentor for the physics department’s freshman physics seminar.

When she isn’t writing up lab reports, Claire is composing poetry. Each week, in fact, you can find her reading her material at an open mic in Cambridge. You can also find her at area rock-climbing gyms or scaling the crags of New Hampshire. She rock-climbs twice a week and ventures out on excursions with the BU Outing Club. She says it helps clear the mind.