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image caption: From the left, first column: (upper figure) Cut plane view of electron bonding charge densities of an iron-phosphorus compound obtained from ab initio calculations, and (lower figure) scanning electron micrograph of fracture surface of ductile amorphous steel showing network of plastic deformation zones. Second column: Pole figures of a (002) MnAl thin film deposited on a MgO substrate. Third column: (upper) The magnetic strip domain structure of MnAl thin film revealed by Magnetic Force Microscopy image. (Lower) The detailed magnetic parallel strip domains showing the width is ~10 nm. Fourth column: Color contour map of the strongly anisotropic spin resonance neutron scattering intensity in the momentum space obtained from superconducting FeTe0.5Se0.5 whose crystal structure is shown in the inset.
   
 

Condensed matter physics seeks to understand the striking new physical properties that may emerge when very large numbers of atoms or molecules organize into solids or liquids. Research in this area has led to fundamental breakthroughs in our understanding of metals, semiconductors and superconductors, as well as to the inventions of the transistor, diode laser, and integrated circuit. Condensed matter physics thus comprises the technological underpinning for the entire modern computer and communications industry. For these reasons, worldwide, this branch of physics commands the largest number of researchers, who work in academic institutions, major industrial and government laboratories, and small entrepreneurial enterprises. The problems addressed by condensed matter physicists are often interdiscplinary in nature, affecting a number of other scientific fields including chemistry, biology, electrical engineering, and materials science. The University of Virginia maintains a diverse and vigorous research program in both experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics.

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The experimental condensed matter research groups at UVa explore the structural, optical, electronic, and magnetic properties of different types of solids ranging from amorphous to crystalline systems with unusual properties. Activities include the synthesis and characterization of metallic glasses, quasicrystals, colossal magnetoresistive manganites and high temperature superconductors, measurements of electronic and magnetic properties of new intermetallic compounds, characterization of static and dynamic lattice effects in oxides, intermetallic alloys and martensites using the pair density function analysis, study of the microscopic processes at the interface of two relatively sliding materials as well as inside metals and crystals during plastic deformation, study of phase transitions, measurement of magnetic and quantum correlation effects in heavy fermion and high-temperature superconductors, scanning-probe and optical studies of new semiconductor alloys, studies of wetting and adsorption on crystal surfaces, and development of far-infrared applications of semiconductors and superconductors. The condensed matter community at UVa has access to a variety of cryogenic facilities capable of scanning temperatures from as low as 15 mK to room temperature, several high-field magnets, a quantum-interference magnetometer, different scanning-probe instruments such as scanning tunneling, force, and optical microscopes, various vacuum thin-film deposition and etching systems, and a range of microwave and millimeter-wave analytic instruments. In addition, many research projects work closely with Electrical Engineering and Materials Science Departments, using facilities such as a photolithography lab and X-ray diffraction and elec-tron-beam microscopes, as well as national labs where high magnetic fields sources are available. The group also performs research at national and international neutron and x-ray facilities and carries out high precession measurements on the atomistic properties of materials particularly under high pressure.

Theoretical condensed matter physicists at UVa try to arrive at a quantitative description of many unusual properties observed in novel materials and fluids. Such research includes an investigation into what makes the new generation of high-temperature superconductors work as they do, solving model problems like quantum spin chains which are believed to contain the features of newly synthesized low-dimensional metals and magnets. Studies of the structure of magnetic vortices in superconductors and the interactions that bind atoms and molecules to solid surfaces are also underway. For example, the point-contact tunneling amplitude for the fractional quantum Hall effect was recently exactly computed.

Selected Publications in Condensed Matter Physics at UVa > < Hide Publication List
  1. "Universal magnetic structure of the half-magnetization phase in Cr- based spinels", M. Matsuda, K. Ohoyama, S. Yoshii, H. Nojiri, P. Frings, F. Duc, B. Vignolle, G. L. J. A. Rikken, L. P. Regnault, S.-H. Lee, H. Ueda, Y. Ueda, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 047201 (2010).
  2. "Superconductivity in transition metal doped MoB4", J. W. Simonson, D. Wu, S. J. Poon, and S. A. Wolf, J. Superconductivity and Novel Magnetism 23, 1557 (2010).
  3. "Compressive plasticity and toughness of a Ti-based bulk metallic glass", X. J. Gu, S. J. Poon, G. J. Shiflet, and J. J. Lewandowski, Acta Materialia 58, 1708 (2010).
  4. "Relaxation dynamics of the metal-semiconductor transition in VO2 thin films", J. H. Claassen, J. W. Lu, K. G. West, S. A. Wolf, Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 132102 (2010).
  5. "Transport phase diagram for superconducting thin films of tantalum with homogeneous disorder", Y. Z. Li, C. L. Vicente, J. Yoon, Phys. Rev. B 81, 020505 (2010).
  6. "Study of SF6 adsorption on graphite using infrared spectroscopy", P. Thomas, Y. Xia, D. A. Boyd, T. A. Hopkins, G. B. Hess, J. Chem. Phys. 131 (12), 124709 (2009).
  7. "Spin-lattice order in frustrated ZnCr2O4", S. Ji, S.-H. Lee, C. Broholm, T. Y. Koo, W. Ratcliff, S-W. Cheong, P. Zschack, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 037201 (2009).
  8. "Magnetic field-induced phase transitions in a weakly coupled s = 1/2 quantum spin dimer system Ba3Cr2O8", M. Kofu, H. Ueda, H. Nojiri, Y. Oshima, T. Zenmoto, K. C. Rule, S. Gerischer, B. Lake, C. D. Bastista, Y. Ueda, S.-H. Lee, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 177204 (2009).
  9. "Hidden quantum gap state in the static stripe phase of La2-xSrxCuO4", M. Kofu, S.-H. Lee, M. Fujita, H.-J. Kang, H. Eisaki, K. Yamada, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 047001 (2009).
  10. "Weakly coupled s = 1/2 quantum spin singlets in Ba3Cr2O8", M. Kofu, J.-H. Kim, S. Ji, S.-H. Lee, H. Ueda, Y. Qiu, H. J. Kang, M. Green, Y. Ueda, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 037206 (2009).
  11. "Formation of local electric dipoles with no unique polar axis in Tb3Fe5O12", Despina Louca, K. Kamazawa, T. Proffen, Phys. Rev. B 80, 214406 (2009).
  12. "High Capacity Hydrogen Absorption in Transition Metal Ethylene Complexes: consequences of nanoclustering", A. B. Phillips and B. S.Shivaram, Nanotechnology 20, 204020 (2009).
  13. "Colloquium: Electron-lattice interaction and its impact on high Tc superconductivity, V. Z. Kresin and S. A. Wolf, Rev. Mod. Phys. 81, 481 (2009).
  14. "Properties of vanadium and tantalum granular oxide-metal tunnel junction fabricated by electrochemical anodization", W. Fan, D. Kirkwood, J. Lu, S. A. Wolf, Appl. Phys. Lett. 95, 232110 (2009).
  15. "Multiple-Trap Correlations in the Room-Temperature Random Telegraph Signal of a Carbon Nanotube Field-Effect Transistor". Tsz Wah (Jack) Chan , Brian Burke , Kenneth Evans , Keith Williams, Smitha Vasudevan, Mingguo Liu , Joe Campbell , Avik Ghosh, Phys. Rev. B 80, 033402 (2009).
  16. "Infrared spectroscopic study of C2F6 monolayers and bilayers on graphite", T. A. Hopkins, D.A. Boyd, Y. Xia, G. M. Shifflett, F. M. Hess, and G. B. Hess, J. Chem. Phys. 128 (15), 154714 (2008).
  17. "External magnetic field effects on a distorted kagome antiferromagnet", J.-H. Kim, S. Ji, S.-H. Lee, B. Lake, T. Yildirim, H. Nojiri, K. Habicht, Y. Qiu, K. Kiefer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 107201 (2008).
  18. "Field-induced antiferromagnetism and competition in the metamagnetic state of terbium gallium garnet", K. Kamazawa, Despina Louca, R. Morinaga, T. J. Sato, Q. Huang, J. R. D. Copley, Y. Qiu, Phys. Rev. B 78, 064412 (2008).
  19. "(Zr,Hf)Co(Sb,Sn) half-Heusler phases as high-temperature (>700 oC) p-type thermoelectric materials", S. R. Culp, S, J, Poon, V. Ponnambalam, J. Edwards, and T. M. Tritt, Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 022105 (2008).
  20. "Poisson's ratio and intrinsic plasticity in metallic glasses", S. J. Poon, A. W. Zhu, and G. J. Shiflet, Appl. Phys. Lett. 92, 261902 (2008).
  21. "High Capacity Hydrogen Absorption in Transition Metal Ethylene Complexes Observed via Nanogravimetry", A. B. Phillips and B. S.Shivaram, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 105505 (2008).
  22. "Very large anisotropy in the dc conductivity of epitaxial VO2 thin films grown on (011) rutile TiO2", J. W. Lu, K. G. West, S. A. Wolf, Appl. Phys. Lett. 93, 262107 (2008).
  23. "Deep-UV Pattern generation in PMMA", Brian G Burke, Timothy J Herlihy Jr, Andrew B Spisak and Keith A Williams, Nanotechnology 19, 215301 (2008).
  24. "Quantum spin liquid states in the two dimensional kagome antiferromagnets, ZnxCu4-x(OD)6Cl2", S.-H. Lee, H. Kikuchi, Y. Qiu, B. Lake, Q. Huang, K. Habicht, K. Kiefer, Nature Materials 6, 853 (2007).
  25. "Spin-lattice instability to a fractional magnetization state in the spinel HgCr2O4", M. Matsuda, H. Ueda, A. Kikkawa, Y. Tanaka, K. Katsumata, Y. Narumi, T. Inami, Y. Ueda, S.-H. Lee, Nature Physics 3, 397 (2007).
  26. "Characterization of Nanostructures During Growth Using a Quartz Monitor", A.B. Phillips and B.S. Shivaram, Appl. Phys. Lett. 91, 153109 (2007).
  27. "Spin Incommensurability and Two Phase Competition in Cobaltites", D. Phelan, Despina Louca et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 235501 (2006).
  28. "Nano-magnetic droplets and implications to orbital ordering in La1-xSrxCoO3", D. Phelan, Despina Louca et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 027201 (2006).
  29. "Origin of nonlinear transport across the magnetically induced superconductor-metal-insulator transition in two dimensions", Y. Seo, Y. Qin, C. L. Vicente, K. S. Choi, J. Yoon, Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 057005 (2006).
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  Utpal Chatterjee   Chatterjee: My research is focused on a branch of physics, commonly known as condensed matter physics, which is essentially the study of physical properties of matter in their liquid or solid state employing the principles of quantum as well as statistical mechanics. My research interest lies in the experimental investigations of various solid state systems which exhibit novel electronic and magnetic properties, such as cuprate high temperature superconductors, colossal magneto resistive manganites, different transition metal dichalcogenides hosting charge density wave (CDW) as well as metal ... More>
  Paul Fendley   Fendley: Professor Fendley´s main field of research is on non-perturbative approaches to field theory and statistical mechanics. These methods are valuable for exploring the large number of interesting systems with strong couplings in particle physics and condensed-matter physics. Theoretical physicists have used field theory to successfully describe the strong and electroweak interactions of particle physics, and all sorts of condensed-matter physics. Most of our understanding has been based on perturbative calculations, valid when some coupling constant is small. Nevertheless, we believe ... More>
  Israel Klich   Klich: My main field of interest is condensed matter physics with strong overlaps with mathematical physics and field theory. My research interests include entanglement in many-body systems, the Casimir effect, topological order and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. More>
  Eugene Kolomeisky   Kolomeisky: My current research effort consists of trying to understand static and dynamic properties of low-dimensional nonuniform quantum Bose gases. The experimental observation of Bose-Einstein condensation (1995) in trapped alkali vapors has ushered in a new era of superlow-temperature physics bridging the disciplines of atomic and condensed matter physics. Today, experimentalists can produce and manipulate condensates of different sizes and various geometries, and practical applications of this new state of matter are just on the horizon. Some of these applications (ultrasensitive ... More>
  Seung-Hun Lee   Lee: Lee’s research focuses on strongly correlated materials such as non-conventional high temperature superconductors, quantum magnets, frustrated spin systems, magnetic molecules, and multiferroics. The main experimental techniques that the group uses are elastic and inelastic neutron scattering with which one can directly probe the many body response function. Neutron scattering experiments are performed at several domestic and international facilities. The group also has the in-house capability of growing high quality single crystals of transition metal oxides using a ... More>
  Despina Louca   Louca: The interactions of the spin, charge and lattice degrees of freedom in solids often lead to the emergence of unique properties that exhibit distinct characteristics under external influences. The class of materials that are of interest includes, but are not limited to, the magnetoresistive perovskite oxides, bulk metallic alloys, superconductors, and multiferroics. Understanding the macroscopic functionality of these systems can be potentially very useful for industrial applications. Louca’s research focuses on understanding their responses as a function of temperature, pressure, ... More>
  Joseph Poon   Poon: Poon’s research program is in materials physics. He designs and synthesizes novel amorphous metals, nanostructured materials, and intermetallic compounds. The problems he investigates include structure-property relationships particularly on how atomic- and nano-scale structures determine magnetic anisotropy, thermoelectric performance, and mechanical behavior. His multi-level study employs both experimental and computational methodologies, utilizing various state-of-the-art electrical, thermoelectric, magnetic, and mechanical probes to measure properties. The materials studied ... More>
  Bellave S. Shivaram   Shivaram: Professor Shivaram is a condensed matter experimentalist whose research spans a wide variety of key areas. His earlier work focused on the properties of Quantum Fluids at very low temperatures and high magnetic fields. His recent work has focused on the thermodynamic, electromagnetic and acoustic properties of a class of compounds based on rare earth and actinide elements, called the heavy electron metals. Strong electronic correlations in these metals give rise to many exotic phenomena in these systems such as unconventional superconductivity and magnetism. More recently, Professor ... More>
  Stuart A. Wolf   Wolf: My primary interest at UVa is in the study of spin dependent phenomenon in thin films and alternating multilayers of magnetic and non-magnetic metals, semiconductors and insulators. These structures exhibit large changes in resistance depending on the relative orientation of the magnetic layers. These structures can be utilized as non-volatile memory, reconfigurable logic as a replacement for conventional CMOS, and read heads for hard drives. I am also interested in the use of the spin degree of freedom as a new state variable for information processing. Single electron spins can be ... More>
  Jongsoo Yoon   Yoon: My research is focused on understanding of phases and phase transitions in twodimensional (2D) electronic systems such as thin superconductor or metal films and semiconductor heterostructure or quantum well. At sufficiently low temperatures and high magnetic fields, these 2D systems exhibit many interesting quantum phenomena including integer and fractional quantum Hall effect, quantum phase transitions, and electron crystallization. However, many aspects of these phenomena are poorly understood. More>