Condensed Matter Physics and Complex Systems


Theoretical physicists at Michigan carry out research both in traditional Condensed Matter physics and in the field of Complex Systems using methods originally developed to understand the properties of matter. Active theoretical efforts address topological insulators, nonlinear systems driven out of equilibrium, biophysics, soft condensed matter, nano-science, quantum circuits, quantum computing, superconductivity, vortex dynamics, dynamical instabilities, nonlinear collective transport phenomena, and network theory.


Experimental Condensed Matter Physics research at Michigan spans a wide variety of experimental techniques and topics. Much of the work involves overlap with applied physics, complex systems, optics and biophysics.

General topics studied include topological insulators; soft condensed matter; semiconductor physics and devices; quantum optics and quantum computing; metamaterials, photonics, optoelectronics and non-linear optics; thermoelectricity and ferroelectricity; solar energy conversion, light emission and lasing, strongly correlated and low dimensional electron systems; magnetism, optically induced magnetism, spins in semiconductors, and pattern formation in non-equilibrium systems.

Materials preparation includes molecular beam epitaxy, organic thin film deposition, and microfabrication.

Experimental techniques include low temperature and high magnetic field electrical transport; thermal transport; scanning tunneling and other microscopies; optical and ultrafast spectroscopies; x-ray and inelastic light scattering; and synchrotron and laboratory electron and x-ray spectroscopy.

Materials and devices studied include thin films; single electron transistors; organic and inorganic semiconductors; semiconductor quantum dots, wells, and superlattices; light emitting diodes; solar cells, lasers, detectors, low dimensional compounds and fabricated structures; rare earth, transition metal and actinide compounds and alloys; complex fluids.





  • Charles Doering (mathematical physics, stochastic and fluid dynamics)
  • Sharon Glotzer (computational nanoscience and simulation of soft matter, self-assembly, and materials design)
  • Emanuel Gull (computational condensed matter physics)
  • Xiaoming Mao (soft condensed matter, materials physics, statistical physics)
  • Mark Newman (complex systems, statistical physics, networks)
  • Franco Nori (quantum computing, vortex dynamics, superconductivity, complex systems, biophysics)
  • David Lubensky (theoretical biophysics)
  • Leonard M. Sander (complex systems, statistical physics, biophysics)
  • Robert S. Savit (complex systems, statistical physics, biophysics)
  • Kai Sun (condensed matter physics, strongly correlated many-body systems, topological states of matter)
  • Kevin Wood (complex systems, statistical physics, population dynamics, biophysics)


  • Roy Clarke (x-ray, materials research, magnetic and ferroelectric nanostructures)
  • Steven Cundiff (ultrafast optics, ultrafast spectroscopy, semiconductors, AMO)
  • Robert Deegan (hydrodynamics, complex fluids, pattern formation, complex systems)
  • Hui Deng (single and coupled solid-state quantum systems, matter-light interactions, quantum state generation, optical vortices, wide bandgap materials, AMO)
  • Stephen Forrest (organic thin film semiconductors, MBE III-V semiconductor growth, optoelectronics, energy devices)
  • Rachel Goldman (electronic materials science, molecular-beam epitaxy, scanning tunneling microscopy)
  • Cagliyan Kurdak (quantum transport in mesoscopic and low dimensional systems, single electron devices)
  • Lu Li (novel magnetic properties, novel oxide interfaces, frustrated quantum magnets, strongly correlated systems)
  • Roberto D. Merlin (light scattering, ultrafast optics, AMO, collective excitations, metamaterials)
  • Bradford G. Orr (AFM/STM imaging, surfaces and interfaces, nanoscience, Biophysics)
  • Stephen C. Rand (nonlinear optics, AMO)
  • Vanessa Sih (optical spectroscopy, spins in semiconductors, nanophotonics, AMO)
  • Duncan Steel (quantum dots, nonlinear optical spectroscopy, AMOBiophysics)
  • Ctirad Uher (thermoelectrics, thermal transport, diluted magnetic semiconductors, MBE V-VI semiconductors)
  • Michal Zochowski (complex systems, network dynamics, Biophysics, neuroscience)

Related Centers and Programs

Applied Physics Program



Center for the Study of 
Complex Systems