Sign up & Download
Sign in

Condensed Matter Physics

In this subdiscipline: 69,193 papers

Discipline summary

Condensed matter physics deals with the physical properties of condensed phases of matter. These properties appear when a number of atoms at the supramolecular and macromolecular scale interact strongly and adhere to each other or are otherwise highly concentrated in a system. The most familiar examples of condensed phases are solids and liquids. Such every-day condensed phases arise from the electromagnetic forces between atoms. More exotic condensed phases include the mesophases of liquid crystal devices, the superconducting phase exhibited by certain materials at low temperature, the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic phases of spins on atomic lattices, and the Bose-Einstein condensate found in certain ultracold atomic systems.

Condensed matter physics seeks to understand the behavior of these phases by using well-established physical laws. In particular, these include the laws of quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics. The diversity of systems and phenomena available for study makes condensed matter physics by far the largest field of contemporary physics. By one estimate, one third of all United States physicists identify themselves as condensed matter physicists. The field has a large overlap with chemistry, materials science, and nanotechnology, and there are close connections with the related fields of atomic physics and biophysics. Theoretical condensed matter physics also shares many important concepts and techniques with theoretical particle and nuclear physics.

Historically, condensed matter physics grew out of solid-state physics, now considered one of its main subfields. The name of the field was apparently coined in 1967 by Philip Anderson and Volker Heine when they renamed their research group in the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge from "Solid-State Theory" to "Theory of Condensed Matter". In 1978, the Division of Solid State Physics at the American Physical Society was renamed as the Division of Condensed Matter Physics. One of the reasons for this change is that many of the concepts and techniques developed for studying solids can also be applied to fluid systems. For instance, the conduction electrons in an electrical conductor form a Fermi liquid, with similar properties to conventional liquids made up of atoms or molecules. Even the phenomenon of superconductivity, in which the quantum-mechanical properties of the electrons lead to collective behavior fundamentally different from that of a classical fluid, is closely related to the superfluid phase of liquid helium.

Popular papers

  1. Graphene is a rapidly rising star on the horizon of materials science and condensed-matter physics. This strictly two-dimensional material exhibits exceptionally high crystal and electronic quality, and, despite its short history, has already…
  2. Spintronics, or spin electronics, involves the study of active control and manipulation of spin degrees of freedom in solid-state systems. This article reviews the current status of this subject, including both recent advances and well-established…
  3. Topological insulators are electronic materials that have a bulk band gap like an ordinary insulator, but have protected conducting states on their edge or surface. The 2D topological insulator is a quantum spin Hall insulator, which is a close…
  4. This article reviews the basic theoretical properties of graphene, a\ntwo-dimensional allotrope of carbon, with unusual electronic properties. The\nelementary excitations are linearly dispersing Dirac fermions with vanishing\nelectronic density of…
  5. Metal-insulator transitions are accompanied by huge resistivity changes, even over tens of orders of magnitude, and are widely observed in condensed-matter systems. This article presents the observations and current understanding of the…
  6. Graphene is the two-dimensional building block for carbon allotropes of every other dimensionality. We show that its electronic structure is captured in its Raman spectrum that clearly evolves with the number of layers. The D peak second order…
  7. This article reviews the basic theoretical properties of graphene, a\ntwo-dimensional allotrope of carbon, with unusual electronic properties. The\nelementary excitations are linearly dispersing Dirac fermions with vanishing\nelectronic density of…
  8. Graphene is a wonder material with many superlatives to its name. It is the thinnest known material in the universe and the strongest ever measured. Its charge carriers exhibit giant intrinsic mobility, have zero effective mass, and can travel for…
  9. Topological insulators are new states of quantum matter in which surface states residing in the bulk insulating gap of such systems are protected by time-reversal symmetry. The study of such states was originally inspired by the robustness to…
  10. The structure of the electronic energy bands and Brillouin zones for graphite is developed using the "tight binding" approximation. Graphite is found to be a semi-conductor with zero activation energy, i.e., there are no free electrons at zero…

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Already have an account? Sign in