Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics


With about 30 members, an intense programme of workshops, a constant flow of visitors, and close collaborations with local scientific institutions such as SISSA, Elettra, and the University of Trieste, the Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics (CMSP) section is a vibrant international research environment for scientists from every corner of the world.

Research in the CMSP section spans some of the most exciting areas of theoretical condensed matter physics, including the physics of nanostructures, of many-body quantum systems at, or far from equilibrium, the computer simulations of fluids and solids with atomistic, molecular and electronic structure methods, and the design of new materials for renewable energy applications.


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Research Topics

Understanding the physics of nano-devices, besides their fundamental impact on modern technology, offers the fascinating possibility to explore quantum properties of matter at the mesoscopic level. In these systems quantum coherence and strong interactions play a fundamental role. CMSP research includes charge and heat transport, thermoelectric effects, nanoelectromechanical systems, quantum coherent electronics and spintronics, solid-state quantum information processing, and low-dimensional systems with interaction.
The investigation of quantum many-body systems at CMSP bridges different aspects in condensed matter, statistical mechanics and quantum information. The wide spectrum of topics covered include 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.
CMSP work in this area focuses on simulations of condensed matter at high pressures, new materials, physics of friction and lubrication, surface physics, and physics and chemistry of aquaeous systems including acid-base chemistry, solvation, and hydration. Simulation methods include classical and ab-initio molecular dynamics and electronic structure calculations.
Efficient collection and storage of renewable forms of energy like solar radiation or wind requires the development of advanced functional materials. CMSP 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.