Condensed matter and Experimental physics
Condensed matter and experimental physics research
The field of condensed matter physics explores the macroscopic and microscopic properties of matter. Condensed Matter physicists study how matter arises from the many interactions between atoms and electrons.
Condensed-matter and experimental physics are disciplines of physics that studies and investigates the thermal, elastic, electrical, magnetic, and optical properties of solid and liquid substances. Condensed-matter physics grew at an explosive and rate during the second half of the 20th century, and it has scored numerous important scientific and technical achievements, including the transistor. Traditionally, condensed matter physics is split into “hard” condensed matter physics, which studies quantum properties of matter, and “soft” condensed matter physics which studies those properties of matter for which quantum mechanics plays no role.
Among solid materials, the greatest theoretical advances have been in the study of crystalline materials whose simple repetitive geometric arrays of atoms are multiple-particle systems that allow treatment by quantum mechanics. Thus conductors, such as metals, contain some so-called free (or conduction) electrons, which are responsible for the electrical and most of the thermal conductivity of the material and which belong collectively to the whole solid rather than to individual atoms. Semiconductors and insulators, either crystalline or amorphous in structure, are other materials studied in this field of physics. This field, which treats the thermal, elastic, electrical, magnetic, and optical properties of solid and liquid substances, grew at an explosive and exciting rate.
Other aspects of condensed matter involve the properties of the ordinary liquid state, of liquid crystals, and, at temperatures near absolute zero (−273.15 °C, or −459.67 °F), of the so-called quantum liquids. The latter exhibit a property known as superfluidity (completely frictionless flow), which is an example of macroscopic quantum phenomena. Such phenomena are also exemplified by superconductivity (completely resistance-less flow of electricity), a low-temperature property of certain metallic and ceramic materials. Besides their significance to technology, macroscopic liquid and solid quantum states are important in astrophysical theories of stellar structure in, for example, neutron stars.
The condensed matter field is considered one of the largest and most versatile sub-fields of study in physics, primarily due to the diversity of topics and phenomena that are available to study. Breakthroughs in the field of condensed matter physics have led to the discovery and use of liquid crystals, modern plastic and composite materials and the discovery of the Bose-Einstein Condensate.