Graduate Research

Graduates of the Department of Physics’ Ph.D. program have participated in high-level research that often dramatically impacts the course of their careers. Many even go on to make groundbreaking discoveries in the field.

For example, while at UAB, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green worked with Prof. Sergey Mirov on using nanotechnology to target cancer cells. She would go on to become one of fewer than 100 Black women physicists in the U.S. and make discoveries that could forever change treatment for cancer patients.

During 2015-2020, the graduates of the Physics Ph. D. program found jobs

  • In Research and Development departments, at companies such as ProPlate, Dynetics, Fujitsu, Georgia Tech Research Institute, and Relativistic Expression
  • As Data Scientists, at companies such as Shipt, Avigo Solutions, or Regions Bank  
  • As University Faculty, at King AbdulAziz University, Samford, Birmingham Southern College, Cincinnati State, and Berry College
  • As Staff or Postdocs in National Laboratories, such as Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
  • As Postdoctoral Researchers in Universities, such as CREOL, University of Central Florida, Penn State, University of Colorado, UAB Radiology, and UAB Biomedical Engineering

Research Areas

As a graduate student in the Department of Physics, you will have the opportunity to choose between three focused research areas where the UAB Physics department has developed excellence and national and international recognition. You can perform your Ph.D. work on research topics that may include the following:

Computational and Theoretical Physics

  • Algorithms Applicable to Massively Parallel Computers
  • Materials Modeling using High Performance Computing and Data-driven numerical techniques
  • Properties of Strongly Correlated Electrons
  • Properties of Topological, Magnetic, and Exciton Systems
  • Materials design far from equilibrium by using phase-coherent Terahertz Laser Pulses
  • How to control Quantum Dynamics by designing Femtosecond and Terahertz Laser Pulses
  • Modeling and Simulation of Materials Modeling Coherent Nonlinear Spectroscopy datasets for imaging and light-wave entanglement of Quantum Materials
  • Non-Equilibrium Processes and Phase Transitions in Condensed Matter Systems (quantum materials, superconductors, quantum magnets, nanostructures, and semiconductors)
  • Laser-Induced Metastable Phases and Phase Transitions
  • Quantum Many-Body Algorithms
  • Quantum Monte Carlo Numerical Simulations
  • Scientific Supercomputing
  • Theory of X-ray Spectroscopies
  • Theory-Experiment synergies to make new discoveries

Experimental Condensed Matter and Materials Physics

  • Two-Dimensional Layered Materials
  • Synchrotron x-ray spectroscopy
  • Mössbauer spectroscopy and inelastic x-ray scattering
  • Defects in Insulators, Semiconductors, and Advanced Materials
  • Electrical and Optical Properties of Bulk Synthetic Diamond and Diamond Thin Films
  • Electron-Beam Lithography
  • EPR Studies of Bulk Crystals and Thin Films
  • Functional Nano-Photonics
  • High-Pressure Physics
  • Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Perovskites
  • Light-Harvesting Nano-Materials
  • Low-Dimensional Systems
  • Nanocomposite Biomaterials
  • Nanodiamonds
  • Nanoimprinting
  • Synthesis of Super-Hard Materials
  • Nanoscale Direct Writing and Patterning
  • Design, Simulation, and Fabrication of Nanostructured Electronic Materials for Energy and Optoelectronic Applications
  • Phase-Change Materials
  • Photolithography
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials
  • Radiational Defects in Crystals
  • Strongly Correlated Systems
  • Superconductivity
  • Magnetism
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Metallic, Semiconducting, and Magnetic Materials and Nanostructures
  • Composite and Hybrid Materials and Functional Structures based on 0-D (nanoparticles) and 1-D (nanofibers) carbon and ceramic constituents
  • Phase Development and Interface Phenomena in Multiscale Nanostructured Materials
  • Functional carbon- and ceramic-based nanomaterials and nanostructures for catalytic, environmental, and biomedical applications

Experimental Optical and Terahertz Spectroscopy and Laser Physics

  • Infrared-driven Intense-laser-field Science
  • Highly Intense Mid-Long-Wavelength Infrared Lasers
  • Fiber, Laser, and Soft X-ray/UV optics
  • Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells
  • In Situ Spectroscopy of Nanostructured Catalysts
  • Laser Physics and Spectroscopy
  • Advanced Optical Microscopy
  • Laser Resonators
  • Nanomaterials for Light Harvesting
  • Nanophotonics
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Optical Coherence
  • Optical Imaging
  • Optical Sensors
  • Plasmonics; Metamaterials
  • Solid-State Laser Materials
  • Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting
  • Tomography
  • Ultrafast Time-Resolved Spectroscopy
  • UV Holographic Projection Processing of Materials
  • Water-Splitting Photocatalysts for Solar-to-Fuel Conversion
  • Laser Cooling and Trapping, Optical Clocks, Ultracold Atomic Gases and Plasmas