The Materials Physics Group focuses on improving our understanding of the behavior of condensed matter. Materials of interest range from single crystals and aggregates of crystals such as minerals, metals and rocks, to amorphous and disordered materials such as polymers and glasses. Knowledge of the fundamental properties of these materials can be applied in diverse arenas, including solid state physics, geophysics and engineered materials.
The Materials Physics group uses primarily acoustic and optical techniques to extract information from samples, including Resonant Ultrasound Spectroscopy (RUS), Raman Spectroscopy, and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Typically, these tools are used to interrogate samples while they undergo changes in state variables such as temperature or pressure. Changes in the state variables can induce concomitant changes in the arrangement of atoms within the materials, which in turn can lead to changes in microscopic and macroscopic properties of the material.