At any given time, my group and I are involved in research on a variety of subjects in condensed matter physics. Because of the breadth of this field, it is important to expose graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to a wide spectrum of problems. A broad view is also important because new breakthroughs occur in different subareas of this field. Since the research projects are chosen because of their inherent scientific importance, we are sometimes working directly with experimentalists and at other times developing new formalisms and techniques to understand or solve a problem. We are often trying to predict the existence of new materials and attempting to explain or predict new properties of condensed matter systems.
Some of our current research is in the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology. The major systems under investigation are nanotubes, C60-based materials, large molecules like C36, nanocrystals or quantum dots, clusters, onions, cones, horns, nanowires, etc. The quantum nature of these systems makes them physically interesting and provides a variety of possible applications.
There is almost always some work going on in my group on superconductivity, semiconductors, and predicting new materials. Currently, except for the copper oxides, the highest temperature superconductors are MgB2 and C60 (using gated electrodes)—we are trying to explain the properties of these systems using novel applications of BCS theory. For semiconductor research, there are ongoing studies of electronic, optical, and high pressure properties of these systems.
Other studies recently completed focussed on quantum computation in the ground state, superluminal velocities, and the limits on the strength of materials.
In the News
Carnegie Mellon University will award its 2011 Dickson Prize in Science to Berkeley physics professor Marvin L. Cohen, a senior scientist at the Berkeley lab and one of the most influential condensed-matter physicists in the world.
Launched as a pilot project at Berkeley Lab, the Cleantech to Market program is finishing its first semester as an official class at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and it's safe to say the students learned more than they expected on how to take a technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. What was less expected is how much the scientists got out of the program.