Condensed Matter Physics

The University of Alberta boasts a large community of scientists working in the areas of condensed matter and biophysics. This includes several groups at the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), a federal facility that has close ties to the Department of Physics and is housed in an adjacent building. Many of our senior faculty are internationally recognized for their important contributions. At the same time, the University continues to make significant investments in a new generation of junior faculty pursuing hard and soft materials physics on the cutting edge.

For more information about graduate research opportunities, please visit the webpage of the Condensed Matter Physics Focus Area.

The Department of Physics and NINT share an extraordinary collection of new laboratory tools. Two excellent nanofabrication facilities are located on campus, including the U of A NanoFab, and NINT hosts one of the world's leading electron microscopy facilities. Researchers working in simulation and materials modelling enjoy access to the high performance computing resources at WestGrid.

An incredibly broad range of experimental work is carried out here, with research objectives that span the exploratory, applied, and clinical. A partial list of topics includes superconductivity, semiconductor physics, superfluids, supersolids, low-temperature physics, nanomagnetism, surface science, molecular electronics, quantum information, nanomechanics, tunneling phenomena, nanoscale properties of solids, terahertz spectroscopy, ultrafast phenomena, photonics, quantum dots, protein folding, DNA mechanics, and prion diseases.

Theoretical areas of interest include a particularly strong effort in quantum many-body problems—especially as they relate to thermal and quantum phase transitions. A variety of computational tools is used to study both strongly correlated electrons and bose gases. The latter can become superfluid, or maybe even supersolid, while the former can give rise to various exotic states of matter; examples are unusual forms of magnetism, spin liquids, superconductivity, polaronic or Kondo-like behaviour, and even ‘relativistic’ tendencies (as in graphene). There are also research efforts in close connection to the Department of Oncology focussed on microtubule assembly and drug design.