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Experimental Condensed Matter & Materials Physics

Gaining a fundamental understanding of the properties of materials at the atomic scale has been a major goal driving basic research in condensed matter and materials physics. Beyond the intellectual pursuit, many of the recent major technological advances in consumer electronics are a direct result of fundamental condensed matter and materials physics research. 

At West Virginia, Condensed Matter experimentalists are conducting research to provide a better understanding of materials, their interfaces and interactions, and to lay the foundation for applications based on the discovery of new physics. 

Faculty Research

Prof. Wathiq Abdul-Razzaq conducts research in diverse areas including studies of magnetic and transport properties of thin films and multilayers, magnetic nanoparticles, and applied studies related to health and environment. Current focus is on electrosmog, geomagnetism and education. 

Prof. Alan Bristow uses short laser pulses to measure and control coherent and dynamic properties of electrons in condensed matter. Light-matter interactions provide insight into new physics at the nanoscale and are useful characterization tools for materials that have potential for electronic, photonic, spintronic and energy-harvesting applications. For more information: Bristow’s Research Website.

Prof. Cheng Cen studies low dimensional electronic and photonic materials. Current topics of interest include complex oxide interfaces, graphene plasmonics, and nanophotonics properties in vanadium oxides. Basic research tools include atomic force microscopy, near field scanning optical microscopy, ultrafast spectroscopy and variable temperature transport measurements. For more information: Cen’s Research Website.

Prof. Edward Flagg studies light-matter interactions at the level of single photons. Current topics of interest include the coherence of single photons emitted by quantum dots, coherent control of electron spin degrees of freedom, and spin-photon interfaces. 

Prof. Mikel “Micky” Holcomb’s research focuses on the high-quality growth and novel characterization of strongly correlated systems. The primary focus is on the effect of interface properties on bulk and coupling phenomena, such as magnetic dead layers (the loss of magnetism near the interface or surface) and magnetoelectricity (electric control of magnetism or vice versa). Ultrafast optical and synchrotron techniques are utilized to provide depth-dependent information on atomic valence, magnetization and symmetry. For more information: Holcomb’s Research Website.

Prof. Matthew Johnson’s research interests lie in the realm of nanotechnology. His research activities have covered a wide variety of systems and approaches: growth –from chemical synthesis to molecular beam epitaxy; patterning –from self-assembly to electron-beam, ion and optical lithography; characterization –including scanning probe microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. His research efforts naturally lend themselves to collaboration which has included bio-mimetics, fuel cells, tribology, superconductivity, ferro-electrics, and novel infra-red laser and detectors. 

Prof. Lian Li searches for different quantum phases of matter. Current topics of interest include epitaxial growth of topological insulators and semimetals, Fe-based superconductors, and 2D transition metal dichalcogenides, as well as in situ characterization using low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy. 

Prof. Mohindar Seehra has officially retired in August 2016, yet continues to remain active in mentoring younger physicists and in some research and writing in the areas of magnetism and nanomaterials.