Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed phases of matter

Condensed matter physics is the study of condensed phases of matter, primarily the solid and liquid states – including their structure and mechanical, electrical, thermal, optical and chemical properties. In addition to presenting rich and fascinating questions about the physical world, it is an area of physics with many real-world applications in such areas as microelectronics, nanomaterials, information storage and communication, biomedical science and engineering, renewable energy, and the development and use of new materials. Furthermore, theoretical results and methods in condensed matter physics have played a major role in other areas of physics, such as astrophysics, cosmology and nuclear physics.

Students with strong backgrounds in condensed matter physics are often well qualified for research and engineering positions in industry, as well as for academic careers. Potential graduate students and undergraduates interested in research opportunities are both warmly welcomed and advised to contact one of the faculty.

The condensed matter group at Tufts performs both experimental and theoretical work as part of the Center for Nanoscopic Systems. Peggy Cebe's polymer physics research group studies semicrystalline polymers, biophysics, and polymer-based nanocomposites. Roger Tobin's group studies surface science, including catalysis, chemical sensing and adsorbate effects on electronic conduction. Cristian Staii's biophysics group is performing both experimental and theoretical work to uncover fundamental physical principles that underlie the formation of functional neuronal networks among neurons in the brain. Tim Atherton's Soft Matter theory group seeks to understand the connections between shape and ordering in emulsions, liquid crystals and other complex fluids. Peter Love's quantum information group works on the theoretical properties and performance of quantum computers.

On-site experimental facilities include X-ray diffractometers, infrared spectrometers, ultrahigh vacuum surface analysis equipment, femtosecond lasers, scanning calorimeters, and atomic force microscopes. In addition, research is conducted at national facilities such as Brookhaven National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Theoretical researchers make extensive use of the Tufts High Performance Computing facility and the Center for Scientific Visualization. Additionally, the group hosts a biweekly seminar series featuring guest speakers from the New England area.