Condensed Matter and Materials Physics

Condensed Matter Physics includes solid-state physics and the study of liquids and soft materials. As the largest field within physics, it includes a wide range of topics such as semiconductors, metals, magnets, superconductors, polymers, and biological systems. Our theorists and experimentalists explore quantum-mechanical phenomena including: semiconductor spintronics and optoelectronics, superconductivity, magnetism, and strong light-matter coupling; and they explore soft-condensed-matter topics such as the melting phase transition and colloidal crystals. Students attend a weekly Materials Physics/Solid State Physics seminar.

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Electron Wave

Our department has recently expanded its size in the area of condensed matter. We now have more than eleven labs filled with state-of-the-art equipment, and we offer students a wide range of thesis projects. Our theoretical group frequently publishes joint papers with our experimentalists. We give numerous invited talks at national and international conferences. Specialized courses are offered bi-annually, including Semiconductor Physics, Solid State Physics, Quantum Electronics, Laser Principles, and Nonlinear Optics. Students give talks at national and international meetings. There is a particularly wide job market for students trained in this area, with excellent opportunities in industry, government labs, and academia. Our strong research collaboration with industrial partners aids students in finding jobs.


Thomas F. Boggess

Nonlinear optics; ultrafast spectroscopy of semiconductor heterostructures.

  • Ultrafast nonlinear optical techniques used to study semiconductor nanostructures
  • Topics of interest include carrier energy and spin relaxation, recombination, and transport
  • Facilities include ultrafast lasers, cryogenic capabilities, photon-counting equipment, and magneto-optical instrumentation located in 2000 sq ft of laboratory space
Michael E. Flatté

Condensed-matter theory; materials theory.

  • Coherent properties of spin systems in the solid state
  • Carrier dynamics in semiconductor optoelectronic materials and devices
  • Member of National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center "Center for Emergent Materials" at Ohio State University
  • Students also interact with other group members, including postdocs and other students, and with members of experimental groups at Iowa, as well as many other institutions worldwide
  • Students develop skills including analytical and numerical techniques and programming C++
  • Placement opportunities for graduate students include industry and national lab partners in our research
John A. Goree

Experimental plasma physics; statistical physics; soft condensed matter physics.

  • Dusty plasma, strongly-coupled plasma, optical diagnostics of plasmas, waves
  • Physics problems are interdisciplinary, combining condensed matter, statistical physics, and plasma physics; experiments involve direct comparisons to theory
  • Experiments are performed in our labs. Data from experiments on the International Space Station (ISS) are also analyzed
  • Two labs with plasma chambers and optical diagnostics
  • Students also interact with group members including a research scientist; other faculty and research scientists; collaborators in other countries
  • Students develop skills including design, construction, and operation of: vacuum, electronic, optical, and laser systems; programming in various languages; image analysis
John P. Prineas

Experimental semiconductor physics; growth and fabrication; spectroscopy; microscopy; semiconductor nanostructures; optoelectronics and photonics; III-V MBE growth; nonlinear optics.

  • Research and development of antimonide III-V compound semiconductor materials, including Ga(Al)InAsSb bulk alloys and quantum wells, InAs/Ga(In)Sb superlattices, and core-shell nanowires
  • Facilities include a molecular beam epitaxy lab equipped to grow III-V semiconductors, and an optical spectroscopy lab; regular use of user facilities: Microfabrication Laboratory and the Central Microscopy Research Facility
  • Placement opportunities include industry, government labs, and academia
Craig Pryor

Theoretical condensed matter

  • Electronic, optical, and spin-related properties of semiconductor nanostructures
  • Computational materials physics
  • Applications to nanoelectronic and optoelectronic devices, quantum computation, and THz sources
  • Students develop skills in numerical methods and programming C++ and python
Markus Wohlgenannt

Experimental polymer physics.

  • Magnetotransport and spin-dependent effects in organic semiconductors
  • Organic light-emitting diodes and solar cells
  • Thin film solar cells based on hybrid perovskites
  • Light absorption, reflection and emission, continuous wave photo-induced (nonlinear) absorption
  • Facilities include a spectroscopy facility using a cw laser; glove-box and clean-room for fabrication or organic light-emitting diodes and solar cells, magnetoresistance measurement setup.