Charles Bennett, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor of Physics
124E Rhoades/Robinson Hall

Office Hours

  • Mon: 

    • 11:15 a.m. - noon
    • 2 - 3 p.m.
  • Wed: 

    • 11:15 a.m. - noon
    • 2 - 3 p.m.
  • Fri: 

    • 11:15 a.m. - noon

Chuck Bennett, our physics chair, currently teaches courses in calculus-based introductory physics, upper-level experimental physics, optics, and quantum mechanics. He has worked on a research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigating laser diagnostics in nuclear fusion experiments. He received one of the two 1996-1997 UNC Asheville Distinguished Feldman Awards for his research.


  • Ph.D., N. C. State Univ., 1982

Research Interests

Chuck's research areas include optical measurements on high temperature plasmas and infrared imaging applications using heterodyne detection. He has collaborated extensively with Oak Ridge National Laboratory for nearly two decades. He has been an Adjunct Research and Development Associate II in the Advanced Laser and Optical Technologies Group in the Instruments and Control Division.

One aspect of Chuck's research involves work for the thermonuclear fusion community. In this research, pulsed carbon-dioxide lasers are used to measure scattered power Doppler shifts from fusion-product alpha particles, thereby inferring the velocity distribution. The information provided by this diagnostic is crucial to the effective design of burning fusion reactors. This has been a long-term project which has resulted in related technological advances. A proof-of-principle measurement reported in 1993 still stands as the only demonstrated approach to this important measurement.

Chuck also conducts research in applications of imaging laser radar using two-dimensional detector arrays. Such systems have many uses, such as real-time detection of wing-tip vortices of aircraft to ultra-high resolution atmospheric spectroscopy of pollutant and other chemical species.

Chuck's recent scholarly focus includes the development of online homework assignments and work on an introductory physics text.

Selected Publications

  1. R. A. Serway, J. S. Faughn, C. Vuille and C. A. Bennett, College Physics, 7th ed. (Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA, 2006).
  2. C. A. Bennett, "Multipart Homework Problems over the Web," Computers in Science and Engineering, 2, 87, (January/February, 2000).
  3. M. L. Simpson, C. A. Bennett, Mike S. Emery, D. P. Hutchinson, Gordon H. Miller, Roger K. Richards, and David N. Sitter, "Coherent Imaging With Two-Dimensional Focal Plane Arrays: Design and Applications," Applied Optics 36, 6913 (1997).
  4. R. K. Richards, D. P. Hutchinson, C. A. Bennett, H. T. Hunter and C. H. Ma, "Measurement of CO2 Laser Small Angle Thomson Scattering on a Magnetically Confined Plasma," Applied Physics Letters 62 (1), 28 (1993).
  5. C. A. Bennett and D. P. Hutchinson, "Far Field Propagation of the Truncated EH11 Dielectric Waveguide Mode," Applied Optics, 28, 2581 (1989).
  6. C. A. Bennett, R. K. Richards, and D. P. Hutchinson, "Absolute Broadband Calibration Procedure for Infrared Heterodyne Receivers," Applied Optics 27, 3324 (1988).
  7. R. K. Richards, C. A. Bennett, L. K. Fletcher, H. T. Hunter and D. P. Hutchinson" CO2 Laser Thomson Scattering Diagnostic for Fusion Product Alpha Particle Measurement,", Review of Scientific Instruments 59, 1556 (1988).