Condensed Matter Physics at UCI

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

Theoretical

 
Theoretical Condensed Matter Faculty

Experimental

 
Experimental Condensed Matter Faculty

Condensed matter physics is the study of physical phenomena in solids and liquids.  In the past, work by condensed matter physicists led to many of the most important technologies of today, such as transistors, lasers, semiconductor technology, LEDs, solar photovoltaics, MRIs, magnetic hard drives,  etc.  Today, condensed matter physics focuses on new types of materials and phenomena, including exotic quantum phenomena such as superconductivity and superfluidity, some of which may become the leading technologies of the future.

UC Irvine has a large condensed matter physics group of both experimentalists and theorists, with many students, postdocs, and visitors, and an active seminar program.  Much of this group works on what one might call quantum materials--materials exhibiting exotic behavior because of the effect of quantum mechanics. This include high temperature superconductivity, superfluids, quantum spin liquids, frustrated magnetic systems, quantum Hall systems, topological insulators, and topological quantum computing.  Experimentalists in this area both create new materials and devices, and use a variety of experimental probes to understand their properties in a detailed microscopic way.  Experimental progress on these systems is tied to theoretical progress. The central problem of condensed matter theory is simple to state:  how do macroscopic phenomena arise from the microscopic laws of nature?  Remarkably, this simple to state problem gives rise to a host of possible phases of matter, only some of which have been discovered in materials so far.  Theorists in the group use both pencil and paper, and computer simulations, to study condensed matter systems.

Condensed matter physics is a broad field, and in addition to quantum materials, members of the group work on nanoscale physics, including the properties of single molecules on surfaces, or graphene, on nanotubes and nanopores, on spintronics, and on "soft condensed matter",  including the fluid dynamics of superfluids, and the dynamics of soap bubbles films.