Both basic research and applied research in condensed matter are well represented at the physics department by leading international research groups. Traditional solid-state physics is concerned with the search for phenomena that are caused by the interaction of electrons with one another and with the crystal lattice. Magnetism and superconductivity or the quantum Hall effect are the most famous and partially still not understood examples.
Left: Neutron diffraction pattern of the external magnetic field in a type 2 superconductor; Middle: Ferromagnetic areas (blue) in an alloy; Right: The interaction of a superconducting quantum circuit with a microwave photon.The interactions of the electrons in particular lead to a variety of novel properties, such as unusual metallic and insulating behavior. The collective states of the electrons in the solid-state often work in close connection with fundamental questions about quantum field theory and nuclear and particle physics, such as the existence of particles with the fractional charge, magnetic monopoles or the Higgs particle. In addition, they have recently led to the development of a new subdivision of many-body physics in which ultracold gases in optical lattices serve as model systems for solid-state physics.
Links: Electronic quantum states in a two-dimensional supramolecular Kagomé network; Middle: nanophotonic crystal honeycomb structure; Right: vibrational states in a ferromagnetic ring (diameter two microns).The development of highly sophisticated methods to manipulate individual atoms allows access to new phenomena through the selective design of solid-state physical systems on the angstrom scale. Here, the physics department is engaged in the search for new data storage and data processing concepts via special optical and mechanical phenomena, the systematic creation of new functionalities in special hybrid systems of solid-state and soft matter, the realization of special thermoelectric phenomena and fuel cells or solar cells in the area of renewable energies, as well as the creation of nanostructures with novel electronic states such as collective excitations for further developments in information technologies. These undertakings are in the tradition of mastering major technical challenges faced by humanity by applying new phenomena in condensed matter.
The exploration of quantum effects in nanostructure solids and interfaces is a broad field. By selectively tailoring matter at the nanometer-scale, novel electronic, magnetic, and optical properties can be generated. The quantum coherent behavior of solid-state nanostructures forms the basis for the realization of future quantum information systems.