Department of Physics

Condensed Matter & Material Physics

The condensed matter and material physics faculty members in the Department of Physics are engaged in research on a broad range of materials, i.e., electronic materials, biomaterials, nanomaterials, magnetic materials, superhard materials, and rare earths and actinide metals.

The focus of the electronic materials program is to understand the role of material defects in high speed and/or high power electronic applications. Presently silicon carbide and gallium nitride are the primary materials of interest, which are characterized using a variety of electrical and spectroscopic techniques.

diamond_smallThe high pressure materials research program is focused on structural and magnetic phase transformations in rare earths and actinide metals and syntheses of superhard materials under high pressures and high temperatures using diamond anvil cells employing designer diamonds. The high pressure research program is carried out at UAB and facilities at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratories.

scaffoldThe biomaterials programs are focused on the synthesis and characterization of bioceramics and biopolymers as well as composites of ceramics and polymers for applications in biomedical implants and porous materials for tissue regeneration. Recent research has focused on nanostructured diamond coatings and functionally graded metalloceramic materials for articulating joints, hydroxyapatite and other calcium phosphate coatings on metals, and porous collagen and hydroxyapatite scaffolds to be used as bone grafts.

nano_coating_03The primary interests of the nanomaterials program are the fabrication of metallic, ceramic, and semiconducting nanoparticles and nanostructures through a variety of synthesis techniques, the characterization of their structures and properties, and the functionalization of the nanomaterials for sensing, labeling, and active media applications in biological and optical systems.

The magnetic materials program is focused on the fabrication and characterization of magnetic nanoparticles, nanowires and other nanostructures as well as bulk materials. The magnetic nanostructured materials and techniques are being developed for biomedical applications.

The complex materials program is studying the nature of cooperative motion in condensed matter. Current projects include terahertz spectroscopy of the insulator-to-metal transitions in vanadium dioxide, heavy fermion superconductors, interstellar ices, two-dimensional Quantum Hall systems, and wide band gap semiconductors

plasma_reactorThe computational materials research program is focused on the simulation of microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition processes used in the growth of nanostructured materials. Another thrust of the computational research is to calculate the optical defect levels in materials from first principles and help experimentalists in identifying impurities and defect centers in bulk materials and thin films.

The condensed matter physics faculty are also involved in mentoring undergraduates and high school teachers through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) programs. In addition, several of the condensed matter and material physics faculty are researchers in the Center for Nanoscale Materials and Biointegration (CNMB)

Additional information on research programs in condensed matter and material physics can be found at the faculty member's website by clicking on a name of the faculty member listed below. Short synopses of current research projects in this research area can also be found by clicking here.
CAMATA, Renato P.
Assoc. Professor
Campbell Hall 306
(205) 934-8143
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HILTON, David J.
Asoc. Professor (as of 10/2013)
Campbell Hall 340
(205) 934-8189
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VOHRA, Yogesh K.
Professor & University Scholar
Campbell Hall 387
(205) 934-6662
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CATLEDGE, S. Aaron
Asst. Professor
CBSE 100
(205) 934-3693
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KAWAI, Ryoichi
Assoc. Professor
Campbell Hall 309
(205) 934-3931
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WENGER, Lowell E.
Professor
Campbell Hall 305
(205) 934-8659
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HARRISON, Joseph G.
Assoc. Professor
Campbell Hall 308
(205) 934-1559
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ZVANUT, Mary Ellen
Professor
Campbell Hall 384
(205) 934-6661
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