Research Areas

Condensed matter physics is the study of condensed phases of matter, primarily the solid and liquid states – including their structure and mechanical, electrical, magnetic, thermal, optical and chemical properties – but also exotic gaseous phases such as Bose-Einstein condensates. In addition to presenting rich and fascinating questions about the physical world, it is an area of physics with many real-world applications in such areas as microelectronics, nanomaterials, information storage and communication, biomedical science and engineering, renewable energy, and the development and use of new materials. Furthermore, theoretical results and methods in condensed matter physics have played a major role in other areas of physics, such as astrophysics, cosmology and nuclear physics.

Students with strong backgrounds in condensed matter physics are often well qualified for research and engineering positions in industry, as well as for academic careers. Potential graduate students and undergraduates interested in research opportunities are both warmly welcomed and advised to contact one of the faculty.

The Condensed Matter Group at Tufts performs both experimental and theoretical work as part of the Center for Nanoscopic Systems.


Experimental work focuses on the properties of polymers and biopolymers, interactions of atoms and molecules with metal surfaces, ultrafast nonlinear optics and photonics, electronic and sensing properties of one and two dimensional materials, and the study of biophysical processes at cellular and molecular level . On-site facilities are housed in the modern Science and Technology Center, and include X-ray diffractometers, infrared spectrometers, ultrahigh vacuum surface analysis equipment, femtosecond lasers, scanning calorimeters, and atomic force microscopes. In addition, research is conducted at national facilities such as Brookhaven National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


Theoretical research focuses in two principal areas: the low-temperature group studies microscopic and nanoscopic magnetic particles and fluid phases in the classical and ultralow temperature quantum regimes (1K or below); and Bose condensates in a ring geometry. The soft matter theory group aims to understand the behavior of complex fluids —l iquid crystals, colloids, biological materials etc. — confined in complicated geometries in order to propose new types of display and advanced chemical and biological sensors. The theorists make extensive use of the Tufts High Performance Computing facility and the Center for Scientific Visualization.

Condensed Matter Physics is inherently interdisciplinary, and the Tufts CMP group is highly collaborative, both within the group, with researchers in other Tufts departments and schools, and with colleagues at other institutions across the world.

Faculty: Prof. Tim Atherton | Prof. Peggy Cebe | Prof. Leon Gunther | Prof. Roger Tobin Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto | Prof. Cristian Staii

Graduate Students:  Christopher Burke | Mark Simon | David Thomas | Yazhe Zhu