Feature Stories

  • About Our Graduate Program

    The Department of Physics offers thesis-based degree programs in condensed matter physics at the MSc and PhD level.

  • Financial Support

    Our students are completely supported by teaching and research assistantships. The stipends are some of the most generous in Canada.

  • Scholarships and Fellowships

    U of A offers financial top-ups for excellent students. There are many internal and external awards available to graduate students and postdocs.

  • Life in Edmonton, Alberta

    Alberta's renowned “Festival City” is active all year round.


  • Faraday Effect Cartoon 

    Superfluid 3He

    At ambient pressure, 3He does not solidify, even down to termpatures near absolute zero. Its behaviour is dominated by quantum mechanical effects, and it is arguably the most complex and remarkable fluid we know of. John Davis has used transverse sound measurements to determine the energy and Zeeman splitting of excited Cooper pair sates in the superfluid phase of 3He.

  • Faraday Effect Cartoon 

    Quantum Dots in Optical Microcavities

    Whispering Gallery Modes are a wave interference effect in circular geometries. The name was coined by Lord Rayleigh to describe the acoustic effects in St. Paul's cathedral, London. The same phenomena occur in optical resonators. The animation above shows a simulation of the electric field of a low-angular number (l=6) whispering gallery mode propagating in a microsphere.


    Quantum Cellular Automata

    Robert Wolkow and coworkers at NINT have demonstrated that single silicon atoms on a surface can act as quantum dots. This may allow for the implementation of an extremely low power computer architecture in which electronic configuration rather than current is propagated.



    Unzipping Proteins

    Michael Woodside's group studies how single biological molecules like nucleic acids and proteins respond when mechanical forces are applied across the molecules. Optical tweezers are used to apply force to the ends of a molecule, causing it to unfold and refold reversibly. The resulting trajectories of the molecule and their dependence on the applied force yield important insight into the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of structure formation in biomolecules.



    Tubulin is the target for numerous small molecule ligands which alter microtubule dynamics leading to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Many of these ligands are currently used clinically for the treatment of several types of cancer. Unfortunately, serious side effects always accompany chemotherapy since these drugs bind to tubulin indiscriminately, leading to the death of both cancerous and healthy cells. However, the existence and distribution of divergent tubulin isoforms provide a platform upon which we may build novel chemotherapeutic drugs that can differentiate between different cell types and therefore reduce undesirable side effects.


    Spin Transfer in Coupled Chains

    The manner in which spin-polarized electrons interact with a magnetized thin film is currently described by a semi-classical approach. This in turn provides our present understanding of the spin transfer, or spin torque phenomenon. However, spin is an intrinsically quantum-mechanical quantity. Here, we make the first strides towards a fully quantum-mechanical description of spin transfer through spin currents interacting with a Heisenberg-coupled spin chain.


CMP recruiting poster
  • Recruiting Poster

    Find out more about condensed matter physics at U of A

  • Open House

    Prospective graduate students are encouraged to visit. We're certain you'll like what you see.

Faculty Members

  • John Beamish leads a research program concentrating on quantum fluids and solids in porous media. He is a world leader in the experimental detection of supersolidity.

  • John Davis explores the properties of superfluid 3He confined to nanoscale dimensions and the quantum behaviour of nanoscale mechanical resonators.

  • Gino DiLabio needs to write a brief two- or three-line blurb describing his research interests.

  • Ray Egerton needs to write a brief two- or three-line blurb describing his research interests.

  • Mark Freeman's research pertains to the dynamics of small structures at the intersection of nanomagnetism and nanomechanics.

  • Frank Hegmann studies ultrafast phenomena in materials and devices using a femtosecond laser source.

  • Wayne Hiebert seeks to apply nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) platforms as technology solutions. Using novel transduction techniques, including down-mixed high bandwidth electron tunneling and integrated nanophotonics, our primary goal is the development of transformative applications such as NEMS based mass spectrometry and NEMS metabolite sensing arrays.

  • Marek Malac needs to write a brief two- or three-line blurb describing his research interests.

  • Frank Marsiglio is a theorist working on strongly correlated electron systems. Interactions with one another can lead to interesting superconducting or magnetic phenomena. He is also particularly interested in the electron-phonon interaction, as it impacts electrons from weak to strong coupling.

  • Al Meldrum specializes in the the photonic properties of quantum dots and optical microcavities (photonic dots). The way quantum dots interact with the optical modes of a photonic dot leads to a range of exciting physics, ranging from the basic understanding of light emission in optically confined systems to the development of microscale fluorescence sensing technologies.

  • Wojciech Rozmus's research addresses how to achieve a quantitative understanding of nonlinear, many body processes in plasma systems that are far from equilibrium.

  • Rick Sydora is interested in theoretical and computational methods for the study of turbulence in plasmas and fluids.

  • Jack Tuszynski does research in the area of computational and theoretical biophysics. Of particular interest is the modeling of functional proteins as well as protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions.

  • Robert Wolkow pursures atom-level structural control as a route to silicon-based atomic electronics—experiment and theory. Holographic point projection and scanning ion microscopy development based upon unique, stable single-atom electron and ion sources. In each area both forefront exploratory research and commercially driven development is ongoing.

  • Michael Woodside uses optical tweezers to look at how nucleic acids and proteins respond to applied mechanical forces. The resulting trajectories reveal the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of structure formation in biomolecules.

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