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 technologies. Major scientific themes include strong 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 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 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, as well as the SciDAC Partnership with the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, to address interdisciplinary, basic research problems inherent in high-performance computing that require team science.

Growth areas focus on (a) driven quantum dynamics, and novel and emergent materials behavior; (b) quantum computing or QIS approaches for condensed matter physics; (c) solar conversion and harvesting underpinning clean energy technologies; (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 quantum materials with atomic precision for QIS applications, addressing coherence and entanglement that extend to macroscopic time and length scales; (f) new theories and innovative materials to revolutionize memory and data storage, or power conversion in support of microelectronics; and (g) the development and use of advanced theoretical and computational methods for condensed matter physics and materials science, including innovative data-driven ML/AI approaches to accelerate fundamental research.

Areas of decreasing emphasis include conventional superconductivity, quantum phase transitions, fractional quantum Hall effect, wide bandgap and conventional semiconductors. 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.