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
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.