Experimental condensed matter physics is the largest research area in the department, taking over 10 PhD students per year, and includes many interacting research groups and facilities that access a wide range of materials and techniques. Some of the themes of our research are outlined below, with links to the research groups and facilities. Please contact the Admissions Tutor if you want to find out more about particular research themes. Students undertake the Materials Physics Doctorate scheme, giving access to a tailored research degree to help you exploit both our own outstanding materials growth, fabrication, characterisation and computational capabilities, and those at central facilities. A broad education in Materials Physics is provided through dedicated modules under the Midlands Physics Alliance Graduate School, and external courses.
Our research covers a huge variety of solid materials and some major classes are outlined here.
Research into semiconductors is undertaken by the Nano-Silicon Group (Si and Ge alloys, device physics, spintronics, epitaxy) and in the Surface, Interface & Thin Film Group (III-V and nitride materials, oxide semiconductors, spintronics, epitaxy). Associated with Nano-Silicon is the spin-out company Circadian Solar. The EPR and Diamond group are also involved with several carbon-based electronics projects, particularly focusing on dopants (defects) in diamond.
Magnetic and superconducting materials
Exotic magnetic materials and superconductors are studied principally by the Superconductivity and Magnetism Group which has facilities for producing material in-house and studying its magnetic and thermal properties. The group makes extensive use of neutron scattering facilities, particularly ISIS and ILL. Magnetic thin films on semiconductors (for spintronics) are studied in the Surface, Interface & Thin Film Group. The spin polarization of these materials is vital for this application and is being studied in the Magnetic X-ray Scattering group.
Ferroic and non-linear optical materials
These materials are mainly studied by the Ferroelectrics and Crystallography Group. As well as in-house crystal growth and analysis by X-ray diffraction and dielectric measurements, NMR and Microscopy are used extensively. New projects for thin film growth of these materials involve the Surface, Interface and Thin Film Group as well as Microscopy.
Glasses and glass-ceramics
Experimental Technique Themes
This introduction will hopefully give you a flavour of the research within the Experimental Condensed Matter Physics area. If you have further questions please ask the research groups directly and/or contact Admissions Tutor.