ICTP-East African Institute for Fundamental Research
KIST2 Building CST
University of Rwanda
From solids to liquids to the exotic superconducting phase of materials, condensed matter physics investigates phases of matter to understand them better.
Research in condensed matter physics investigates numerous phenomena, including nanostructures, many-body quantum systems at or far from equilibrium, computer simulations of fluids and solids with atomistic, molecular and electronic structure methods, and the design of new materials for renewable energy applications.
ICTP-EAIFR condensed matter physics research will cover many of the same topics studied by its parent institute ICTP. These include:
- Physics of Nanostructures: Understanding the physics of nano-devices offers the fascinating opportunity to explore quantum properties of matter at the mesoscopic level. Besides their fundamental impact on modern technology, quantum coherence and strong interactions play a fundamental role in these systems.
- Equilibrium and Non-equilibrium Many-body Quantum Systems: The investigations of quantum many-body systems bridges different aspects of condensed matter, statistical mechanics and quantum information. The wide spectrum of topics covered includes the study of superconductivity and magnetism in strongly-correlated systems, superfluids, cold atoms in optical lattices, localization in disordered systems, many-body physics with light, dynamics and relaxation in complex systems, quantum simulators, and quantum computing.
- Atomistic, Molecular, and Electronic Structure Simulations: Work in this area focuses on simulations of systems under a variety of different conditions. All of this with a strong interdisciplinary nature, ranging from condensed matter physics to computational chemistry. On the condensed matter side, this includes studying materials under high pressure, the physics of friction and lubrication and surface physics. For soft-matter systems, this includes bulk liquid water, ions and small organic molecules in water, water at interfaces and finally biological systems such as proteins and DNA. Simulation methods include classical and ab-initio molecular dynamics, path-integral molecular dynamics and electronic structure calculations.
- Materials for Renewable Energy Applications: Efficient collection and storage of renewable forms of energy like solar radiation or wind requires the development of advanced functional materials. Research in the field of sustainable energy focuses on this materials-related aspect. Using modern computer simulation techniques, conversion and storage processes are investigated on the atomic scale. The research topics include nanostructured solar cells, battery materials, and photocatalytic water splitting.