The condensed matter theory group at MIT covers a broad range of activities that can roughly be divided into four major themes:
- One is the study of strongly correlated materials, where the strong interaction between electrons in the solid state gives rise to novel phenomena. Examples are the fractional quantum Hall effect and high temperature superconductivity.
- A second direction is the study of how electronic behavior is changed when the electrons are confined to nanometer-size structures, either in man-made quantum dots or in carbon nanotubes or nanowires. The phase coherence of the electron waves leads to novel behavior, and the understanding of phase coherence is crucial for the development of quantum computation and quantum information science.
- A third theme is nano-photonics: manipulation of light on length-scales substantially shorter than the wavelength of light, on very short time-scales, and at ultra-low energy levels.
- Finally, tools and concepts of statistical physics are employed to study the structure, function, and evolution of biological molecules, cells, and networks, as well as other complex forms of soft condensed matter. In all of these areas, the methodology includes analytic tools based on field theory methods, the development of computer algorithm, and the use of high performance computation.
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