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The Department of Physics and Astronomy

Condensed Matter/Solid State

Solid State Ionics Research Laboratory

Professor Robert Beeken has an established research program investigating an unusual class of materials known as solid electrolytes. Students involved in this program may participate in sample preparation as well as characterization measurements that determine crystal structure, electrical conductivity, and thermal phase transitions.
 
For more about the SSI lab, click here.
 

Superconductivity

Dr. Hinaus studies how the entrance of magnetic vortices affects the superconducting properties of high temperature superconducting grain boundaries. Superconductors exhibit zero resistance with a transition to a non-resistive state. The resistive transition is measured using an Ohm's law type setup as studied in most introductory labs. The resistive transition of the superconducting grain boundary is measured at the temperature and the magnetic field is varied.
 

Liquid Crystals

Professor Veum and his research students study the surface tension of liquid-crystal films in order to better understand the way molecules arrange themselves at the surface of materials. Liquid crystals are compounds that simultaneously exhibit properties of both liquids and solids (crystals). Since they are a little like ordinary liquids and a little like ordinary crystals, they have come to be known as liquid crystals. In recent years, liquid-crystal films have proven to be outstanding systems in which to study the physics of surfaces, but there is still much to be learned.