Condensed Matter & Material Physics: Experiment
Scientists in Dalhousie's Condensed Matter and Material Physics experimental research labs are working on the materials, technologies, and devices that we will be able to use in the future to make our lives easier, healthier - and more sustainable.
Condensed matter physics is the branch dealing with the physical properties of matter in its condensed phase, while material physics considers the both the subatomic and macroscopic properties of matter. An understanding of both physics and chemistry can be helpful in this reseach area.
Craig Bennett (Adjunct)
Dr. Craig Bennett's research is concerned with charge-density waves in low-dimensional metals. He also studies aspects of complex metallic alloys, including shape memory alloys and quasicrystals.
The research in Dr. Jeff Dahn's lab focuses on developing new materials for advanced lithium-ion batteries and polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Such devices will be crucial in the next few years, as demand for electric vehicles and storage capacity for renewable energy (solar and wind) increases in the next decade.
Dr. Richard Dunlap's lab performs experimental investigations, including the study of nanostructured materials for Li-ion battery electrodes and magnetoelastic materials for sensors, actuators, and energy harvesting devices. Principal experimental techniques include Mössbauer effect spectroscopy, magnetization and x-ray diffraction. The Dunlap lab is part of the Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability (DREAMS) program through NSERC.
Dr. Kimberley Hall's research group uses femtosecond lasers to investigate charge and spin dynamics in semiconductor materials. The broad objective of this research is to develop new semiconductor technologies, including spintronic devices and a solid state quantum computer using semiconductor quantum dots.
Dr. Kevin Hewitts's research group has two main foci: medical and condensed matter physics. Spectroscopic methods are used to diagnose diseased states, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, and to detect neurotransmitter release with the aim of understanding the formation of memory. The Hewitt Group is also one of only two in the world using a combinatorial approach to search for new superconductors and enhance our understanding of existing ones.
In Ian Hill's research lab, students and researchers work on developing materials for new solar cell technologies, including organic, hybrid organic/inorganic, and dye-sensitized solar cells, as well as organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs) and thin-film transistors (OTFTs). Dr. Hill's lab is one of many in the Department that is part of the Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability (DREAMS) program, part of NSERC's CREATE program.
Manfred Jericho (Professor Emeritus)
Professor Jericho uses atomic force microscopy (AFM) to probe surfaces and surface deposits for a variety of materials. AFM can be used to image live bacteria and for fundamental studies of long-range interactions between proteins and the elastic properties of cell components.
The research focus of Dr. Ted Monchesky's group involves the integration of magnetic materials with Si (silicon) and Ge (germanium) for spintronic studies. Dr. Monchesky and his group members use molecular beam epitaxy to grow atomically thin ferromagnets, helical magnets, and ferromagnetic semiconductors, with the objective of developing new magnetic materials for next-generation spintronic technologies.
Mark Obrovac (Cross-appointed with Chemistry)
Dr. Mark Obrovac's research is in the development of practical battery chemistries based on low-cost and abundant materials, such as sodium and magnesium. This includes the synthesis and characterization of new intercalation materials, nanostructured compounds, amorphous metal alloys and non-aqueous electrolytes for use in advanced batteries.
Michael Roberston (Adjunct)
Dr. Michael Robertson's primary research interest is in developing the nanoscience framework necessary for the characterization and inter-relation of the physical, electronic and optical properties of semiconductor nanostructures. The primary experimental tools for this research are the transmission and scanning electron microscopes and, theoretically, the Beowulf parallel computing cluster.
Harm Rotermund (Chair)
The aim of the research done by Harm Rotermund and his group involves a detailed, quantitative investigation of pattern formation during catalytic surface reactions. Not only does the group focus on imaging pattern formation, it is also trying to control such formations in simple reactions like CO-oxidation on platinum. The imaging tools developed are also used for in situ pitting corrosion studies of stainless steels in salt water as electrolyte. Rotermund's group is also part of the DREAMS program.
Mary Anne White (Cross-appointed with Chemistry)
The long-term goal of Dr. Mary Anne White's research is to determine the underlying relationships between material structure and thermal properties. Dr. White and her group members' approach is primarily experimental, especially in investigations of thermal conductivity and phase stability, including experiments down to 0.3 K and in magnetic fields up to 9 T, and pressures up to 3 GPa.
Josef Zwanziger (Cross-appointed with Chemistry)
Dr. Josef Zwanziger and his group are doing research at the interface of the physics and chemistry of materials. They use a variety of experimental methods, including nuclear magnetic resonance, optical studies, and thermal analysis to investigate materials ranging from optical glass to concrete composites.