Close up of Molecular Beam Epitaxy system

Condensed matter physics research

Explore our work in condensed matter physics, one of our 3 areas of research expertise in Physics

We research the physics of condensed matter in all its forms. Our research helps solve issues related to energy harvesting, efficiency and storage, medical technologies, security, and the environment.

Our research influences the industrial sector and has social, economic and environmental impacts. For example, digital data storage technologies have the potential to influence a multi-billion dollar industry, while research on multiferroics can lead to developments in various sectors, including the refrigeration industry, sensors and defence.

Research in the field of condensed matter paved the way for all modern technology – including electricity, computers and the internet. A third of all Nobel Prizes in physics have been awarded to research in condensed matter physics.

While nano-technologies transform society, condensed matter physics delivers advanced solutions that will unlock developments in artificial intelligence, robotics and energy production.

We have an excellent track record of disseminating our research in leading international peer-reviewed journals – including Current Applied Physics, Physical Review, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, and Journal of Physics – as well as delivering conference presentations and social media platforms.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Applied ferroic and multiferroic materials
  • Surface and nanoscience
  • Nano-thin films plasma sputtering
  • Caloric and multicaloric effects
  • Digital data storage technologies and devices
  • Non-equilibrium theory of cooperative effects in solids

These topics cover synthesis of novel materials, development of novel measurements and testing instruments. They also explore applications for these interesting solid state compounds. Our emphasis is on nano-scale materials and nano-technologies.

Methods and facilities

We develop nano-materials and nano-thin films using Plasma Sputtering and Molecular Beam Epitaxy. We also have a production line for bulk ceramic oxides.

Our LabLine plasma sputtering tool is the only one in Europe, and we are the company’s demo site. Expertise in the Physics of Multiferroics is also a niche, as is the expertise materials for novel data storage and caloric effects, including the Multicaloric effect – which was discovered at Portsmouth.

We also have fully equipped laboratories to test microstructure, magnetic properties, thermal properties, conduction properties, dielectric properties and microscopy.

Collaborations and funders

We collaborate internationally – most notably with Moscow State University, University of York, UCL, Iowa State University, Central Michigan University, Oakland University, Dalian University, NIMP Bucharest, Western Digital, The Kurt J. Lesker Company, National Physical Laboratory and Diamond Light Source.

Recent projects have received funding from major funding organisations and industry partners, such as the Royal Society, The Kurt J Lesker Company, The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Diamond Light Source.

Publication highlights include

Discover our areas of expertise

Condensed matter physics is one of 3 areas of expertise within our Physics research. Explore the others below.

Quantum information and sensing technologies

We're conducting research into new quantum technologies, including applications for high-precision measurements, computing, and secure communication.

Read more

Quantum Optics and Quantum Foundations

Our work in this area is studying the particle-like properties of photons, and wave-like behaviour of massive objects, such as electrons and atoms.

Read more

Interested in a PhD in Physics?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Physics postgraduate research degrees page.