Nanoscale and Material Physics

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 At the nanometer length scale, materials and structures behave differently, which offers exciting opportunities for scientific discoveries and technological advances. We use the tools of physics to create, probe, and understand new materials and atomic-size structures that will enable future technological breakthroughs.


Materials physics attracts a high fraction of physicists worldwide not only by virtue of the immediate technological impact of its advances, but also because the theoretical tools developed to understand emerging properties, such as superconductivity or ferromagnetism, can be applied in all other areas of physics. Our group has a very broad range of interests, from the synthesis of new materials with lower dimensionality to the use of atomic-size probes to understand the observed properties in terms of the most elementary atomic constituents. Our faculty and students devote a significant effort to the development of new experimental and theoretical tools that will make it possible to achieve a deeper understanding of materials properties, from electron holography to thermodynamics at the nanoscale.

Why Nanoscience & Materials at ASU ? 

ASU is one of the few institutions worldwide where a true interdisciplinary critical mass has been achieved for materials research, with more than 100 faculty members scattered across departments and colleges working together on diverse nano-science and materials physics projects. Large-scale facilities for materials synthesis, nano-fabrication, ion-beam scattering, electron-microscopy, diffraction-physics, optical spectroscopy, and supercomputing are available on campus.

In particular, ASU is the world’s leading university in the field of sub-angstrom resolution electron microscopy, and will soon be home to the first table-top free electron laser for materials research. Students find that most materials science facilities they need to pursue their research are available on campus, and that each of these facilities are used by other students and faculty members who can provide the key insights to advance any project. 

Peter Bennett
Department Chair

Bennett works in experimental surface science to study ultra-thin films and self-assembled nanostructures.

PSF 450A
Ralph Chamberlin

Chamberlin is interested in the internal response of condensed matter. For example, we want to understand how the magnetization inside a material relaxes as a function of time after removing an applied field.

PSF 425
Tingyong Chen
Assistant Professor

The Chen lab engineers quantum materials and structures to explore novel science and applications using new techniques and analysis.

Office: PSB137 Lab: PSB240
Associate Professor

Culbertson's interests include Physics and Society.

PSH 553
Jeffery Drucker

Drucker is a professor with interests in nanoscience and materials physics. His research group performs experimental and theoretical research to better understand the atomistic mechanisms of crystal growth on surfaces.

PSF 342
Christian Dwyer
Associate Professor

Dwyer is an electron microscopist with a backgrounds in scattering and condensed-matter physics. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at ASU.

PSF 336
Onur Erten
Assistant Professor

Erten is a condensed matter theorist. He obtained his doctorate at The Ohio State University in 2013 and has worked at Rutgers University and Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems before joining ASU.

William Graves
Associate Professor

Graves' interests focus on a new type of x-ray light source based on the collision of extremely short electron and laser pulses.

Biodesign C 303
Rizal Fajar Hariadi
Assistant Professor

Hariadi's interests include the biological physics of molecular machines, mechanobiology, low-cost ultra-sensitive digital diagnostics, and the origin of life.

Jingyue Liu

Liu's interests are in nanoscience and materials physics.

PSF 432A
Martha McCartney

McCartney's research interests include nanoscience and material physics.

PSB 347
Jose Menendez

Menéndez leads a research program on the physics of semiconductor materials.

PSB 349

Nemanich's research group has applied advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to characterize the growth and properties of thin film interfaces and nanostructures.

PSB 353
Xihong Peng
Associate Professor

Peng's expertise is in first principles density-functional theory calculations and material science.

Fernando Ponce

Ponce's current interest is in the understanding of the materials properties of III-V nitrides, and their correlation to growth and to device performance for solid state lighting.

PSF 344
Quan Qing
Assistant Professor

Qing is a joint assistant professor of the Department of Physics, and the Center of Bioelectronics and Biosensors in the Biodesign Institute. He is also a member of the Center of Biological Physics at ASU.

PSF 433A
Peter Rez

Rez's background is in the theory of electron scattering as applied to electron microscopy and analysis. His studies include the development of electron energy loss spectroscopy and the microstructure of kidney stones.

PSF 325
Robert Ros
Professor & Associate Chair of Space

Ros' research interests are in experimental biophysics and nanoscience.

PSF 359B
Antia Sanchez Botana
Assistant Professor

Botana's research employs density functional theory to direct the computational design of materials with novel functionalities.

Kevin Schmidt

Schmidt's interests include quantum Monte Carlo, many-particle theory, nuclear physics, cold atoms, and femtosecond pulse X-ray scattering.

PSF 334
Igor Shovkovy

Shovkovy's expertise includes theoretical physics, nuclear physics, high-energy physics, and condensed matter physics.

Arunima Singh
Assistant Professor

Singh's research focuses on accelerating materials discovery, synthesis and application using first-principles computation.

David Smith
Regents' Professor

Smith specializes in the development, applications, and advancement of atomic-resolution electron microscopy.

PSB 343
Maxim Sukharev
Associate Professor

Sukharev's research interests include computational nano-optics; coherent control of light and matter; and plasmon resonance assisted control of atoms and molecules.

Michael Treacy
Professor & Associate Chair of Academics

Treacy received his PhD in physics from Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge in 1979. His interests are: modeling hypothetical zeolite frameworks; the study of disordered materials by Fluctuation Microscopy.

PSB 147
Founding Director

Venables retired from his tenured post in 2008. He was rehired increasingly part-time in connection with the PSM in Nanoscience, for which he is the founding program director.

PSB 470
Uwe Weierstall
Research Professor

Weierstall is working on bio-sample delivery methods for X-ray Free Electron Lasers and Synchrotrons. He is a member of the NSF BioXFEL Science and Technology Center.

PSF 248


John M. Cowley Center for High Resolution Electron Microscopy

As a global leader in high resolution electron microscopy, ASU plays an important role characterizing critical properties of materials. This facility houses a dozen electron microscopes that can probe the physical, electronic and chemical structure of matter on an atomic scale. Instruments & techniques include Ion Milling; Electron Microprobe; Scanning Electron Microscopy; Transmission Electron Microscopy; Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy; and Aberration Corrected Electron Microscopy.