Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics

This program supports fundamental research in quantum physics with an emphasis on quantum materials, materials discovery and design, out-of-equilibrium quantum dynamics, and materials theory related to clean energy.

Major scientific themes include electron correlations, quantum phases of matter, topological states, quantum magnetism, superconductivity, multiferroic and ferroelectric materials, and excited states phenomena. Research spans from analytical to computational approaches with a strong emphasis on theory, methods, and technique development, as well as prediction and interpretation of novel quantum phenomena.

The goal is to develop predictive theories and new theoretical and computational methods for the investigation of novel quantum phenomena or materials with superior functional properties. This includes the development of theory targeted at aiding experimental techniques and interpretation of results. The program also supports Computational Materials Sciences (CMS) research underpinning community code development and exascale computing, and the SciDAC Partnership with the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research addressing interdisciplinary, basic research problems exploiting the emerging capabilities of high-performance computing.

Growth areas focus on (a) driven quantum dynamics, (b) novel and emergent materials behavior; (c) novel photovoltaic conversion mechanisms and photophysics underpinning clean energy and optoelectronics in stable materials; (d) materials discovery and design of alternates to critical materials/minerals that will significantly reduce or eliminate their need in next-generation magnets or functional materials; (e) computational design of materials addressing emerging quantum phenomena; (f) new theories and innovative materials that could be the foundation for future data storage, computing, or power conversion; and (g) the development and use of advanced theoretical and computational methods for condensed matter physics and materials science, with an emphasis on innovative physics-guided AI or quantum computing approaches to accelerate fundamental research.

Areas of decreasing emphasis include quantum phase transitions, fractional quantum Hall effect, wide bandgap and conventional semiconductors, and high-throughput calculations. Soft matter, polymers, glasses, granular materials, cold atoms, classical transport, classical molecular dynamics, and optimization of physical properties are not priorities.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact  Dr. Matthias Graf and / or Dr. Claudia Mewes.