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Condensed Matter Research Themes

What is condensed matter physics?  It is the study of the microscopic and macroscopic properties of matter in the "condensed" (liquid or solid) state. The research areas in condensed matter are becoming increasingly cross-disciplinary, and research in the department falls under 4 broad themes.

Biomaterials and Soft Matter

The Biomaterials and Soft Matter group studies the physical principles relating to structure, dynamics and function in biologically significant systems (e.g. cell membranes, soluble and membrane proteins, bone, lung surfactant), and the physics of soft materials (e.g. formation and structure of lipid assemblies; phase transitions in and dynamics of colloids, liquid crystals and surfactants; glassy dynamics and nucleation in simple and network-forming liquids).

Theoretical approaches include large scale molecular dynamics simulations, Monte Carlo simulations, parallel tempering and free energy methods, making use of the High-Performance Computing facilities at ACEnet and other Canadian computing consortia. Experimental techniques used at Memorial include NMR spectroscopy, laser scanning confocal microscopy, Raman microscopy, atomic force microscopy, electrochemistry, as well as chemical synthesis/purification techniques.

Faculty: Mike Morrow, Kris Poduska, Ivan Saika-Voivod, John Whitehead, Anand Yethiraj. Other departments: Valerie Booth, Kaushik Nag (Biochemistry)

Magnetic and Electronic Materials


Magnetic and electronic materials research at Memorial includes studies of organic semiconductors, transparent conducting oxides, frustrated magnetic systems, correlated electron systems, and thin films for sensor technologies. The physics of these systems is addressed through studies of superconductivity, magnetism, electronic structure, crystal structure, and phase transitions. Theoretical investigations are facilitated by leading edge computational and visualization resources. Experimental techniques include scanning probe microscopies under controlled liquid and atmospheric environments, as well as ultrasonic measurements at high magnetic fields and low temperatures.

Faculty: Luc Beaulieu, Stephanie Curnoe, Jolanta Lagowski, Martin Plumer, Kris Poduska, Guy Quirion, John Whitehead

Nanoscience and Molecular Physics


Novel physics at small length scales is addressed in studies of thin nanostructured materials, thin films and multilayers, self-assembled monolayers, conducting polymers, metal-organic frameworks, and templated materials. Theoretical studies are facilitated by world class computational resources for molecular and extended structures. Experimental expertise within Memorial encompasses material synthesis (via sputtering, electrochemical etching and deposition) as well as structural and physical property characterization of systems for photonic, sensor, electronic, and magnetic applications.

Faculty: Todd Andrews, Luc Beaulieu, Qiying Chen, Jolanta Lagowski, John Lewis, Martin Plumer, Kris Poduska

Photonics, Spectroscopy and Microscopy


The photonics, spectroscopy and microscopy group uses a variety of optical techniques to study the fundamental physics (structure, elastic and optical properties, phase transitions) as well as photonic properties of a wide range of materials - films and nanoporous materials, ferro-elastic materials, photonic materials and soft materials. Experimental techniques used at Memorial include femtosecond laser spectroscopy, Brillouin light scattering, Raman and infra-red spectroscopies, laser scanning confocal microscopy, uv-vis-ir optical spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy.

Faculty: Todd Andrews, Qiying Chen, Maynard Clouter, Anand Yethiraj
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