UCR

Department of Physics & Astronomy



Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics


Participating Faculty

Assoc. Prof. V. M. Aji,  Asst. Prof. M. Mulligan, Prof. L. P. Pryadko, Prof. K. ShtengelAssoc. Prof. S-W. TsaiDistinguished Prof. C. M. VarmaProf. R. Zandi

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What makes Condensed Matter Physics a fascinating subject is the fact that a wide range of physical phenomena and properties of matter emerge from the relatively simple interaction laws that govern the behavior of electrons and atoms - the basic building blocks of the "ordinary" matter around us. Can we understand the variety of emergent phases and the transitions between them? Which of the properties are peculiar to the microscopic details of interactions and which are universal for wide classes of physical systems? How does disorder, surfaces, confining geometry (e.g. nanostructures) affect these properties? These are some of the fundamental questions that condensed matter theory addresses.

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The Condensed Matter Theory Group at the UCR Department of Physics is represented by Professors Vivek Aji, Leonid Pryadko, Kirill Shtengel, Shan-Wen Tsai, Chandra Varma and Roya Zandi. The research interests of the group include both "hard" and "soft" condensed matter physics. The former category refers to the studies of quantum phenomena in condensed matter, particularly in the strongly correlated systems. The research topics include superconductivity, quantum phase transitions, the physics of novel materials and nanostructures, and quantum computation. The soft condensed matter physics includes classical statistical mechanics and its applications to the physics of polymers and biological systems.

The interests of the members of the group are briefly described below:

 nanotube Professor Leonid Pryadko is interested the physics of disordered and strongly-correlated, mostly low-dimensional systems. This includes two-dimensional electron systems (2DES's) in semiconductors and on the surface of liquid Helium, both in zero magnetic field and under the conditions of quantum Hall effect, layered high-transition temperature (high-Tc) cuprate superconductors and related materials, various one-dimensional systems (self-organized quasi-1D systems like stripes in cuprates, chiral edge channels in quantum Hall samples, quasi-one-dimensional organics, carbon nanotubes, etc), "zero"-dimensional systems (quantum dots, tunneling junctions, Kondo spins, etc). His most recent projects include quantum coherent control and quantum computation, high-temperature superconductivity, cold atoms in optical lattices, and transport phenomena in disordered correlated systems.
Professor Kirill Shtengel's current research involves studying solid state systems with frustration, both classical and quantum. Effects of frustration tend to suppress conventional ordered phases. This, in turn, may give way to the appearance of new, unconventional phases at low enough temperatures. One fascinating possibility is so-called fractionalized phases. As the name suggests, the excitations in such systems carry fractions of "normal" particles' charge and spin and have other unusual properties, such as fractional exchange statistics which makes them very attractive candidates for some interesting schemes of fault-tolerant quantum computation. He is also interested in statistical mechanics of frustrated systems. triangle
 cnt Professor Shan-Wen Tsai's research focuses on such topics as properties of novel materials and nanostructures where the presence of strong interactions and disorder lead to a wide range of macroscopic quantum effects. Current and recent projects involve investigation of the electronic properties of a d-wave superconducting quantum wire, study of the behavior of correlated electrons in a high magnetic field and the magnetotransport properties of graphite and bismuth, development of a renormalization-group method for studying interacting electrons coupled to bosonic excitations such as phonons and its application to electron-phonon systems in one and two-dimensions, and to Bose-Fermi mixtures in artificial lattices of cold atoms.
Professor Chandra Varma works on many-body problems with emphasis in the fields of heavy fermions, superconductivity and constrained solids. His current efforts are focused on quantum phase transitions and quantum critical behavior which appear to play a key role in both high-temperature superconductivity and heavy-fermion materials. currents
 cover Professor Roya Zandi is doing research in the fields of statistical mechanics and soft condensed matter physics, which has given her the opportunity to work in broad interdisciplinary areas: she has conducted research in the statistical mechanics of both neutral and charged polymers, the dynamics of the passage of polymers through membrane pores, knot theory and Casimir forces in superfluid films. Her most recent research focuses on statistical mechanics of virus assembly, both equilibrium and nonequilibrium aspects. She has investigated the physical basis for the icosahedral structures observed in spherical viruses. She is currently examining the role of the genome (RNA or DNA) in the equilibrium viral structure and in the dynamics of the self-assembly process.

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