Condensed Matter Experimental Physics
(top) Scanning electron microscopy image of single-crystalline ZnO nanobelts; (bottom) Atomic force microscopy image of a carbon nanotube field-effect transistor.
Condensed matter physics is the study of the physical arrangement and concomitant properties of materials in their condensed phases (liquids, solids, liquid crystals, etc). Much of the interesting emergent physics is revealed under extreme conditions or at atomic length scales. Research tools at Florida State University allow the synthesis of highly ordered materials and fabrication of nanoscale devices, and permit measurements over extraordinarily large temperature (mK to ~1000 K), magnetic field (approaching 100 Tesla), pressure (up to 109 pascals), and spatial (down to 10-10 m) ranges. This diversity of conditions provides exciting possibilities for experimental studies that are unavailable in this combination at any other department or university. Because of the strong ties to the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics (CMMP), the Integrative NanoScience Institute (INSI), and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL), the experimental condensed matter physics group at the Florida State University is able to utilize a number of specialized research tools to investigate many new materials with novel structural, chemical, electronic, magnetic, and/or optical properties.
Important experimental research areas in condensed matter physics at FSU include:
- Growth of single crystals of correlated electron materials, including high temperature superconductors, magnetic perovskites, organic conductors, and heavy fermion materials.
- Synthesis of thin films and heterostructures of metals, semiconductors, oxides, and ferromagnets by molecular beam epitaxy, pulsed laser deposition, and magnetron sputtering.
- Fabrication of micro- and nanoscale devices using photo- and electron-beam lithography, dip-pen nanolithography, STM-assisted micro-CVD, and a host of physical and chemical etching techniques.
- Correlated electron physics: studies of the quantum phase transitions, emergent states of matter, and novel physics in complex low-dimensional materials with strong magnetic and/or electronic correlations.
- Spintronics and quantum information: physics and applications of metallic and semiconductor spintronics devices, nano-magnetism, quantum coherence and entanglement in superconducting devices and molecular magnets.
- Nano-materials and nano-devices: studies of physical mechanisms and applications in energy conversion/storage, nano-electronics, and biomolecular sensing.
- Optical spectroscopies: microwave, infrared and visible optical spectroscopies of magnetic and electronic materials; time-resolved electron diffraction and optical spectroscopy.
- Soft condensed matter: studies of order and structure in complex fluid systems involving macromolecules, such as DNA, protein, micellar liquid crystals, and polymers.
Condensed matter physicists at Florida State University have strong collaborations with theorists and experimentalists both here and elsewhere. There is also strong interaction with biologists, chemists, engineers, and materials scientists at FSU, both through CMMP and INSI, and through the NHMFL's magnetic and electron resonance programs. Many of the experimental problems deal with electron correlations in magnetic or superconducting materials and with problems of reduced dimensionality, providing natural areas of overlap with the FSU condensed matter theoretical physics group.
Van Winkle, David
von Molnár, Stephan
Graduate Research Faculty: