Department of Physics & Astronomy

Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

Participating Faculty

Asst. Prof. I. BarsukovAssoc. Prof. W. P. BeyermannProf. M. Bockrath,  Asst. Prof. Yongtao CuiAsst. Prof. N. Gabor, Prof. J. LauAsst. Prof. J. LuiProf. D. MacLaughlinProf. A. MillsProf. J. ShiProf. U. Mohideen,  Prof. H. W. K. Tom,  Asst. Prof. P. WeiProf. J. A. Yarmoff

 cmp Experimental condensed matter physics investigates the physical properties of ordinary matter around us in various forms: solids, liquids, engineered materials, and nanostructures. These systems have exhibited fascinating behavior which challenges our understanding of nature at a fundamental level. Physicists have invented many of the experimental tools used to probe the electronic, optical, magnetic, and vibrational properties of matter, and the development of increasingly sensitive measurement techniques continues on. Condensed matter physicists are also involved in the synthesis of artificially-structured materials, nanostructures, and nanoscale devices, which often manifest interesting behavior that is distinctly quantum mechanical in origin. Related emerging areas are Biophysics, which seeks to develop a physical basis of biological behavior, and Environmental Physics, which utilizes experimental techniques developed by physicists to address environmental concerns.
The Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Group at the UCR Department of Physics has active research programs in novel materials and nanostructures, highly-correlated electron physics, surface science, biophysics, precision measurement, linear and non-linear optics, muon-based spectroscopy, high-density positronium gases, spintronics, and molecular electronics.

 Beyermann image Professor Ward Beyermann specializes in the transport and thermodynamic properties of highly correlated electronic condensed matter systems, semiconductors, and nanostructures. These include materials where the strong interactions between the electrons lead to unusual properties at low temperatures. Specific heat and resisitivity are measured down to millikelvin temperatures and in high magnetic fields. Some of the systems investigated include lanthanide and actinide intermetallic compounds, lanthanide intermetallic borocarbides, carbon-fullerene materials, DNA, magnetic nanowires, and ZnO heterostructures.
Professor Nathaniel Gabor is interested in the discovery of new quantum phenomena in atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) electronic materials including graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and layered transition metal chalcogenides. These materials, many of which can be separated into few or single atomic layers, exhibit quasi-low dimensionality that may lead to strongly correlated electron behavior. Among correlated electronic materials, true 2D materials provide the distinct advantage that they are one atom thick, thus allowing the utilization of techniques generally applied to small atomic ensembles, such as laser-cooling and optical cavity coupling. By incorporating these materials into nanoscale electronic devices, He envisions a distinct field of research that explores atomically thin condensed matter (CM) systems using precision techniques and concepts employed in atomic, molecular, and optical physics.  Gabor image
 Lau image Professor Chun Ning “Jeanie” Lau’s research focuses on (1) the exploration of novel phenomena in low dimensional nano-structures that arise from quantum confinement of atoms and electrons, and (2) engineering novel electrical, electro-mechanical and optical devices based on these novel properties. For example, under investigation are the limit of superconductivity in ultra-thin nanowires, dynamics of electrons and phonons in single-walled carbon nanotubes, novel electronic properties of single-layer graphene, and use of organic molecules as nanoscale memory elements and logic gates.
Professor Doug MacLaughlin's research interests center on understanding the behavior of certain exotic metals, alloys, and superconductors, in which the unifying thread is the importance of strong correlations between the conducting electrons. The so-called "heavy fermion" f-electron compounds comprise one class of strongly correlated electron materials. Electrons in the well-known high temperature superconductors are also strongly correlated. Viable explanations for much of the behavior of these materials continue to be elusive. Our research uses magnetic resonance, principally nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and the related muon spin rotation (µSR) technique, as a local probe of magnetic phenomena. Both techniques sense static and dynamic magnetic behavior on the atomic scale, and yield important information on the effect of strong electron correlations.  MacLaughlin image
 Millis image Professor Allen Mills seeks to make the first Bose-Einstein condensed positronium annihilation gamma ray laser, and to make a DNA neural network computer ten thousand times bigger than a human brain. Prof. Mills has pioneered several techniques in the field of positron physics including the single crystal negative affinity positron moderator (1978,9), brightness enhancement of slow positron beams (1980) and the rare gas solid moderator (1986). He is currently working on applying these techniques to the problem of obtaining a Bose-Einstein condensed gas of positronium atoms. He has worked DNA computation since 1996. Most recently he was part of the team lead by Bernard Yurke of Bell Laboratories that developed a molecular-size machine made from DNA molecules that operates using DNA as a fuel. His interests also include the study of solid-state materials and devices.
Professor Umar Mohideen's main research focus has been on (1) exploring the nature of the quantum vacuum by pioneering fundamental force measurements such as the normal and lateral Casimir force using an Atomic Force Microscope and (2) studying single molecule and nanostructures in condensed matter by scanning microscopy techniques such as the Atomic Force Microscopy, Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and the Near Field Scanning Optical Microscopy. He has also performed collaborative research activities in the areas of Plasma Physics and Biophysics.  Mohideen image
 Shi image Professor Jing Shi is interested in spin-dependent transport and tunneling in solids. In particular, he is exploring spin injection, detection, and transport in inorganic and organic semiconductors as well as metals. He is also working on the magnetization reversal of nanoscale magnetic structures and devices.
Professor Harry Tom specializes in nonlinear optics and femtosecond time-resolved laser techniques and is particularly interested in surface dynamics, laser-induced surface chemical reactions, laser-induced phase transitions in bulk materials, nonlinear optics of the water/solid interface, terahertz spectroscopy, and most recently in magnetic nanostructures and spintronics. Tom is Co-Director of the Environmental Physics graduate program, an interdisciplinary program in which condensed matter physicists and environmental scientists collaborate in joint research and graduate training.  Tom image
 Yarmoff image

Professor Jory Yarmoff investigates the physical and chemical properties of solid surfaces. Experimental studies in ultra-high vacuum provide an atomic-scale picture of surface geometric, electronic and chemical structures, chemical reactions that occur at surfaces, and the interaction of radiation with surfaces. These results have applications in diverse technological fields including nanoscale devices, microelectronics, catalytic chemistry, and environmental remediation. Current efforts include the use of neutralization during ion scattering as a measure of the electronic structure of adatoms, molecules and nanostructures, the investigation of the surface structure and composition of novel two-dimensional materials, and the development of innovative schemes for the fabrication of nanomaterials.

Assistant Professor Yongtao Cui’s research focuses on the study of quantum materials which exhibit unusual electronic and spintronic properties on the nanoscale, by leveraging a variety of techniques, including a unique scanning Microwave Impedance Microscopy (MIM) that is capable of spatially resolving materials’ electrical properties (conductivity and permittivity), as well as nanofabrication and quantum transport. He is particularly interested in study of topological phenomena and identification of new types of interface electronic states in various low dimensional electronic systems such as atomically thin 2D materials, and materials interfaces like boundaries, domain walls, and hetero-structures.  Yongtao Cui image
 Lui image Assistant Professor Chun Hung (Joshua) Lui's research focuses on laser spectroscopy and ultrafast science of innovative materials. In particular, we are interested in the electron, phonon and spin dynamics in novel two-dimensional systems, such as graphene, boron nitride and transition-metal dichalcogenides, as well as heterogeneous structures formed from these atomically thin materials. Our experimental techniques include Raman, infrared, terahertz, and ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy and imaging. Our research also involves state-of-the-art nanoscale device fabrication and new methods of material fabrication, characterization and manipulation.
Assistant Professor Peng Wei’s research program focuses on the physics of unconventional electronic structures in solid state materials. In particular, he explores new quasiparticle ground states that are emerged due to competing phase orders and/or electron correlations in material heterostructures. The current research interests are placed on triplet (or p-wave) pairing in new superconductor heterostructures, the coexistence between superconductivity and ferromagnetism, and superconducting spintronics with the aim of implementing them in fault tolerant quantum computations. His lab features molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) technique that allows the precise control of various material interfaces down to the atomic scale under clean ultra-high vacuum (UHV) environment. Besides, low dimensional hybrid devices involving new materials are studied, where mesoscopic physics of unknown quasiparticles are investigated. Quantum coherent tunneling spectroscopy, Josephson tunneling, as well as spin dependent electrical transport are commonly used in his group in probing the new electronic structures.  Yongtao Cui image
 Barsukov image Assistant Professor Barsukov focuses on spintronics and the related fundamental questions of physics. His lab designs and fabricates magnetic nanoscale devices and investigates spin dynamics and spin transport at the nanoscale. The methods include microwave and terahertz spectroscopy, electrical transport at cryogenic temperatures, and micromagnetic calculations. An important goal of the research is to gain a better understanding of the interplay of spin and lattice sub-systems. The societal impact of the research is the development of energy-efficient spintronics concepts and applications for future information technologies.

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