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Condensed Matter Physics


Condensed Matter Physicists study matter and materials from familiar sizes down to the atomic scale.

This field is often cross-disciplinary, examining a diverse spectrum of nature with a broad range of investigative techniques. However, at the core, it is the combination of quantum mechanics, electrodynamics, and statistical physics. It strives to explain and predict cooperative phenomena in solids based on fundamental interactions between atoms or molecules. The kinds of physical systems studied range from basic solids and liquids, to more exotic kinds of matter that exhibit superconductivity, atomic spin-spin magnetic interactions, spontaneous ordering, and low dimensional systems. This intellectually interesting branch of physics is also at the heart of modern technology: advances in semiconductors, magnetic storage media, and clean energy technology all depend upon foundations in condensed matter physics.

Students can readily be included in research projects

that prepare them for a wide range of future opportunities from graduate school, to industry or national laboratory positions, as well as entrepreneurial pursuits. Typically students will gain hands-on experience with a variety of modern laboratory tools (e.g., x-ray diffraction, microscopy, magnetometry, or UHV spectroscopy) that find broad application in many fields beyond just condensed matter physics. Faculty commonly collaborate with other researchers within RIT (such as the nano-Imaging Scanning Electron Microscopy facilities) as well as colleagues from national laboratories and industry. Prof. Barton's work focuses on magnetic materials, phase transitions, and critical phenomena, with samples being grown and characterized in her lab. Prof. Pierce is interested in experimental surface science, catalysis, magnetism, and x-ray scattering.

Surface Science and X-ray Laboratory

Students; Junghune Nam and Siddharth Gopal , assembling our Auger electron spectroscopy system.