Rayf Shiell - Optical Physics Group, Trent University

Research

My scientific research stems from my interest in optics. I spent several years working in atomic & molecular physics, exploring novel quantum systems and probing trace gases using high-power lasers and synchrotron light. I now explore the physics of the eye, developing devices targeted to ophthalmology. The field is fascinating – even seemingly-simple questions such as: ‘Why don't we notice when we blink?’ and ‘How do people distinguish so many colours?’ open up an exciting and interdisciplinary world of exploration. My specific focus is the biomechanics of the cornea – an avascular yet living structure with unique strength and stability, and with remarkable transparency to incoming light. Research in my group involves an exciting mix of optics and electronics, and modelling and apparatus design, and constitutes a great preparation for a future career in science, whether in academic or industrial sectors.

My education research involves developing new student-centred approaches to learning, and is targeted towards techniques of assessment. Since 2012 Prof. Aaron Slepkov and I have collaborated in the creation and deployment of a new assessment tool called an integrated testlet, which assesses and augments students' understanding of complex knowledge through a set of scaffolded multiple-choice items using an answer-until-correct format. Our research on this has demonstrated its many benefits and its broad applicability. We have advised the educational publisher Nelson in assisting them to deliver integrated testlets within their materials.

A list of my publications/patents can be found here.

To learn more about these projects please contact me.

Former Graduate Students & Postdocs at Trent:

Yuchen Song (MSc student, Materials Science; thesis here)   Sep 2017 - May 2020
Lisa Ugray (MSc student, Materials Science; thesis here)   May 2011 - Sep 2013
Jeffrey Philippson (PhD student, Trent/Queen's Physics Program; thesis here)   Sep 2007 - Jan 2012
Matt Romerein (MSc student, Materials Science; thesis here)   Sep 2009 - Sep 2011
Jaclyn Semple (MSc student, Trent/Queen's Physics Program; thesis here)   May 2009 - Dec 2010
Bryan van der Ende (Postdoc)   Aug 2009 - June 2010
Rob Collister (MSc student, Trent/Queen's Physics Program; thesis here)   Sep 2006 - Nov 2009
Jeffrey Philippson (MSc student, Trent/Queen's Physics Program; thesis here)       Sep 2005 - Sep 2007