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We are a research group in the Physics Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. We conduct theoretical studies of "condensed matter", which is a very broad area (actually the largest) of physics, encompassing physical phenomena in matter that holds itself together (hence "condensed"). Our group's focus is on quantum physics of materials.^ TOP
Our research projects are constantly evolving. To a large extent this because condensed matter physics is an experimentally driven field, and we have to work hard to keep pace with the latest developments. Also, as a theoretical group, we are able to move into new areas quickly.
One major topic of research in the group has been frustrated, mostly quantum, magnetism. This is an exciting area where real materials and exotic theory meet. Another growing subject is correlation phenomena in oxide heterostructures, stimulated by the experimental work of the Stemmer and Allen groups at UCSB. In addition, we've worked recently on dynamics of coupled electron dynamics with hyperfine interactions in quantum dots, the quantum Hall effect in graphene, ultra-cold trapped atoms, one-dimensional electron gases, and topological aspects of insulators with strong spin orbit interactions. You can see from this list that we are pretty flexible: if we think we can contribute and it is interesting enough, we'll give it a try!
How do we do this? We try not to rely too much on any one technique, and let the approach fit the problem. We're pretty comfortable with most analytical methods, including quantum/classical field theory, statistical mechanical methods, renormalization, symmetry analysis, replica and other tricks for disorder averaging, applied mathematics and and some exact solutions. We use computational techniques as well (including rather sophisticated use of Mathematica), and increasingly hard-core computational physics, like density functional calculations, quantum Monte Carlo, and DMRG.^ TOP
We're not a huge group, but bigger than many in condensed matter theory. We usually hover around 3-4 graduate students and a similar number of postdocs, and occasionally an undergraduate local or exchange student. There's always room for a really talented and motivated student (but the bar is high)! If you're interested, send Leon an email to find out more.
The full condensed matter theory group on campus is quite big, and if you're thinking about UCSB, you should check out the other options.