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All Research Specialities

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory

Applied Physics

Applied Physics research in our department investigates problems that have a high level of practical significance to society. Current research efforts occur at the interface of physics with biology, medicine, geology, and engineering.

Faculty Specializing in Applied Physics

Research Groups

Astrophysics & Relativity

Our astrophysics research programs investigate problems on scales from stars to galaxies to the cosmos. Current experimental interests include ultra-short-period pulsating variable stars, neutron stars, black holes, supernova remnants, interstellar medium, active galactic nuclei, relativistic jets, formation and evolution of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, cosmic background radiation, cosmic rays, dark matter, and dark energy. Theorists explore topics in cosmology, cosmic background radiation, extra dimensions, tests of general relativity, plasma and high energy astrophysics, pulsars, active galactic nuclei, gamma ray bursts, and massive and supermassive black holes.

Faculty Specializing in Astrophysics and Relativity



Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Physics is one of the burgeoning areas in the landscape of experimental and theoretical physics. This field is concerned with understanding basic phenomena ranging from the few-body to the many-body level. Included are processes such as chemical reactions of small molecules at ultracold temperatures, where the field begins to merge with the sister subject of chemical physics, and the behavior of quantum gases such as Bose-Einstein condensates and degenerate Fermi gases as well as Bose-Fermi mixtures, which connects with modern day condensed-matter physics. AMO Physics also connects deeply with recent efforts worldwide in the subject of quantum information and computing, as well as the quantum teleportation and encryption of information. The physics of ultrafast laser pulses lasting less than 10-15 seconds, and the use of such pulses to control the behavior of quantum atomic and molecular systems, is another of these stimulating areas, ripe for new explorations.

The participation of the Purdue Physics and Astronomy Department in this dynamic subfield is presently in a growth phase, for both theory and experiment. One of the most exciting possibilities that is pervasive in nearly all aspects of AMO Physics is the idea of controlling the forces in any system through the clever application of external electromagnetic fields.

Faculty Specializing in AMO Physics



Biological Physics

Learn more about the research in biological physics.

Condensed Matter Physics

The goals of Condensed Matter Physics consist in understanding how atoms aggregate to form materials and how electrons ultimately determine and shape the vast assortment of possible states of matter. While pragmatically the ultimate purpose of Condensed Matter Physics is to determine experimentally, predict theoretically and tailor the properties of natural or artificial materials, from a more fundamental point of view great interest rests in making advances in the newest of frontiers, that of the physics of complex systems.

While many of the basic interactions at work in aggregates of atoms and electrons are in principle known, the sheer magnitude of the number of degrees of freedom involved leads to the emergence of completely unexpected and qualitatively new physical behavior. Accordingly the study of Condensed Matter Physics involves not only the continuous introduction of innovative observational and fabrication techniques and devices, but also that of new physical ideas and insight in the fascinating way in which large assembly of atoms behave.

Recent developments in the field like the discovery of high temperature superconductors, the scanning tunneling microscopy, the quantum Hall effects, the Bose-Einstein condensation in atoms and the recent emergence of the nano physics paradigm have led and promise to further enhance our understanding and use of technologically relevant materials ranging from semiconductors, metals, insulators and superconductors. This makes this broad and ever flourishing field the engine of intriguing, accelerating technological advances and discoveries.

Faculty Specializing in Condensed Matter Physics



Research Groups 

Nuclear Physics

Research in nuclear physics has a long and storied tradition at Purdue University, beginning in 1937, when one of the first cyclotrons in the United States was built by members of the Physics Department. Understanding the strong force, responsible for the binding of atomic nuclei, is a major goal of the field. This can be accomplished by studying properties of nuclear systems, both theoretically and experimentally, over a wide range of excitation energies and densities, covering many different types of nuclear phenomena, from fission to the creation of the quark-gluon plasma.

Faculty Specializing in High Energy Nuclear Physics


Research Groups 

High Energy Particle Physics

Particle physics research attempts to answer fundamental questions about the nature of space itself, the matter that fills it and the physical laws that  govern its behavior and consequently, the large-scale structure and behavior of  the universe. The currently most complete theoretical description of fundamental particles and their interactions is realized in the "Standard Model".

Faculty Specializing in High Energy Particle Physics



Research Group

Particle Physics

Physics Education

Our faculty combine their knowledge of educational theory and practice with physics specific concepts to better understand how students learn and teachers teach.  The Physics Education Research group works closely with colleagues in the Physics Outreach program, the College of Education, and Purdue's Discovery Learning Research Center to implement new ideas in learning and teaching.  Current interests include science teacher education, sociocultural influences on teaching and learning, evidence-based inquiry in teacher education, teacher knowledge and beliefs, and student attitudes and perceptions of physics.

Faculty Specializing in Physics Education

Planetary Physics and Geophysics

Planetary physics and geophysics research in our department explores processes that occur on spatial scales ranging microns to astronomical units and time scales from microseconds to billions of years.   Students and faculty conduct geophysical investigations into rock mechanics, acoustics of materials, hydrology and percolation physics, impact cratering, planetary tectonics, and earthquakes and landslides.  Using accelerator mass spectrometry at the department's PRIME Lab facility, we measure cosmogenic radionuclides to study meteorites, geomagnetism, glacial cycles, and geomorphology.  

Faculty Specializing in Planetary Physics and Geophysics

Research Groups

Quantum Information Science

QIS is at the frontier of several traditional research disciplines including condensed matter physics, atomic, molecular, and optical physics, information theory, applied math and computer science, and chemistry. QIS strives to harness the unusual quantum mechanical properties of superposition and entanglement to provide breakthrough advances for computing, secure communications, and novel device functionalities.  This new research direction within the Department of Physics and Astronomy incorporates quantum computing with superconducting qubits, spins in semiconductors and other condensed matter systems, cold atomic ions, Rydberg, photonic systems chemical physics, quantum materials, quantum algorithm research and information theoretic analysis.

Faculty Specializing in QIS

Research Groups

Last Updated: Jun 4, 2024 1:38 PM

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