Condensed Matter and Materials Physics

The School of PEMS has long-standing research interest and strength in condensed matter and materials physics, with particular focus on the use of atomic and nuclear techniques.

The priority areas are strategic and applicable research directed at a range of advanced and functional materials and fields: magnetic, electronic and optical signal processing and storage, ionising radiation dosimetry and imaging, magnetic cooling, spintronics, and orthopaedic prostheses. The research is facilitated by measurements carried out in well-equipped in-house laboratories where we utilise some unique experimental techniques, as well as data resulting from competitive access to major national and international neutron and synchrotron facilities. Ongoing collaborations with many external groups and institutions worldwide and a strong publication and grant winning record contribute to the School's international standing in this research area. Group activities support several Postdoctoral Fellows and a number of HDR candidates.

The Condensed Matter and Materials Physics group is actively engaged in the investigation of the properties and behaviour of materials and condensed matter with topics as diverse as:

  • Magnetic properties of materials and their applications (Seán Cadogan, Wayne Hutchison, Heiko Timmers, Stewart Campbell, Glen Stewart)
  • Spin coherence and magnetic resonance measurements, (Wayne Hutchison, Seán Cadogan)
  • Radioisotope labelling of polymers and tracing of nano-particle pathways in orthopaedic prostheses (Heiko Timmers)
  • Structural characterisation of multiferroic materials for data storage and switching (Wayne Hutchison, Glen Stewart)
  • Optical signal processing and storage (Hans Riesen)
  • Advanced laser spectroscopy of the solid state (Hans Riesen)
  • Dosimetry and imaging of ionising radiation (Hans Riesen)
  • Palladium-vacancy pairing in germanium (Heiko Timmers)
  • Mössbauer characterisation of meteorites (Seán Cadogan)
  • Magneto-optical polarisation measurements using synchrotron radiation (Heiko Timmers)

Condensed Matter & Materials Physics Research Facilities:

  • Materials preparation laboratory.
  • Materials characterisation facilities including X-ray diffractometers (10-300 K), a PPMS resistivity, heat capacity and magnetometer (0-9T, 2-300 K), vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) (0-1 T, 8-300 K), tabletop scanning electron microscope (SEM).
  • 3He-4He dilution refrigerator (base temperature of 5 mK).
  • Suite of Mössbauer spectrometers (three cryostats 2-300 K; cooling unit 6-300 K, furnaces 300-720 K, Doppler speeds up to 800 mm/s).
  • Two perturbed angular correlation (PAC) spectrometers.
  • Spectrometers employed for conventional, pulsed and electrically-detected electron spin resonance (ESR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
  • Knee simulator laboratory for realistic tribological studies of knee prosthesis wear.
  • Radioisotope implanter (negative ion, 50 - 150 keV).
  • Radiochemistry and radioisotope handling laboratory.
  • The School maintains and operates its own helium liquefier.
  • State of the art laser laboratory that is fully functional and includes a closed-cycle refrigerator for optical work (2.5 - 300 K) and other cryostats with optical access.