Dr. Thomas Burton

Assistant Professor, Physics

(413) 662-5459
Center for Science & Innovation 110A


Ph.D, Materials Science, The University of 
Alabama, 2016

B.E., Materials Science and Engineering,
Virginia Tech, 2011

Courses Taught

PHYS 132: General Physics II and Lab

PHYS 151: Intro to Mechanics and Lab

PHYS 200: Seminar for Physics Majors

PHYS 301: Classical Mechanics

PHYS 305: Electronics

PHYS 401: Advanced Physics Lab I

PHYS 402: Advanced Physics Lab II

About Me

To me, teaching is about building connections between students and the world around them. Sometimes that means reinforcing subjects by applying them to modern problems or day-to-day challenges, so that we can see their use. Other times, I have found that learning about science through the lens of history paints a broader picture of the struggles that the students are currently going through in their classes. I am always on the search for great demonstrations, documentaries, videos, examples, or projects. So if you see one, please send it my way.

In my free time I am exploring the Berkshires with my fiance, learning to cook and bake, and playing video games.

Research/Creative Interests

I am currently investigating the properties of materials in extreme environments. Materials like the transition metal carbides and borides hold high promises for ultra-high temperature and thermal barrier coating applications.


Irina Schweigert, Thomas S. Burton, Gregory B. Thompson, Samuel Langendorf, Mitchell L. R. Walker, and Michael Keidar “Plasma Interaction with Emmissive Surface with Debye-Scale Grooves”, Plasma Sources Science and Technology, 2018

Thomas S. Burton, Tyson C. Back, Steven B. Fairchild, and Gregory B. Thompson “Influence of Surface Roughness on Secondary Electron Emission from Graphite”, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, 2017

Thomas Burton, Aaron M. Schinder, German Capuano, Julian J. Rimoli, Mitchell L. R. Walker, and Gregory B. Thompson. "Plasma-Induced Erosion on Ceramic Wall Structures in Hall-Effect Thrusters", Journal of Propulsion and Power, 2014


“Development of Advanced Magnetic Composites from Amorphous/Nanocrystalline Materials” MINT Fall Review, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, October 25, 2018

“Examining the Stability and Electron Emission Properties of Vacuum Plasma Sprayed Lanthanum Hexaboride Coatings” TMS 2016 145th Annual Meeting & Exhibition, Nashville, TN, February 14-18, 2016

“Microstructural Characterization of Eroded M26 HET Thruster Wall” TMS 2014 143rd Annual Meeting & Exhibition, San Diego, CA, February 16-20, 2014