Biophysics and Condensed Matter Physics
Researchers in the Physics Department explore a broad range of topics in Condensed Matter Physics and Biophysics. This work includes nanostructured materials, thin-film magnetic nanostructures, quantum computing, complex systems, superconductivity, surface physics, polymer structure and photophysics, biomaterials, femtosecond dynamics, and strongly-correlated systems. Much of the research is interdisciplinary, involving collaborative research with faculty in materials science, engineering physics, medical physics, the medical school, chemisty, chemical engineering, and biology.
The condensed matter group presently consists of fifteen faculty, twelve with primary appointments in physics. Three have recently joined the group through interdisciplinary / intercollege efforts in nanostructured materials, spectromicroscopy of biological systems, and complex systems. Our faculty are involved in a broad range of research activities, and are committed to staying at the forefront of condensed matter research.
Thesis research in experimental condensed matter physics emphasizes laboratory-scale research where students participate in all aspects of the project. Theoretical work often includes both pure analytical treatments and complex numerical analysis. Students graduate with a broad range of expertise arising from these experiences. Research students in condensed matter are primarily supported by individual group research grants. Also available are Distinguished Graduate Fellowships in condensed matter physics, awarded to outstanding condensed matter applicants to the physics graduate program.
Several unique facilities are available to condensed matter researchers at UW. The University operates the Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) whose Aladdin Storage Ring offers one of the premier facilities in the country for high resolution photoemission experiments. The Materials Science Center provides an extensive array of diagnostic facilities, including high resolution electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, as well as electron beam lithography. Many faculty collaborate with researchers in the Applied Superconductivity Center. The Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics provides access to micro-lithography, etching, and silicon processing facilities. Electron beam and x-ray lithography at SRC provide nanofabrication capability. Several condensed matter faculty are involved in the NSF funded Materials Research Science and Engineering Center for Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces, which incorporates facilities for surface diagnostics and low-temperature measurements. Condensed matter faculty also have strong ties with the atomic physics group, physical chemists, the Materials Science Program, and groups in the College of Engineering.