Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed matter physics is the search for simplicity and quantitative precision in very complex systems.

A more practical definition is that it is the study of systems of many particles that interact quantum mechanically, and strongly enough that they condense into solid or liquid phases. It is the largest sub-field of physics, and includes topics like magnetic and electronic orders in bulk solids, interactions between electrons in engineered nanostructures, and superconductivity.

Birmingham has a long history of superconductivity research extending back to the formation of the Condensed Matter Group by Prof. W. F. Vinen, FRS in 1962. Early research was strongly focused on the magnetic, ultrasonic and thermal properties of very clean niobium single crystals. After the discovery of high-temperature superconductors in 1986/7, the group were the first to demonstrate a high-Tc SQUID using granular ceramic material, and the first to demonstrate that electrons are paired in the high-Tc superconductors.


Reader in Condensed Matter Physics and Head of Group
Research: Uniaxial stress, scanning SQUID microscopy, unconventional superconductors, correlated electron compounds
Teaching: Condensed Matter Physics (Year 3 & 4), Project (Year 4) and Tutoring (Year 2)
Find out more: The Hicks Group
chung-mingee-900Dr Mingee Chung (Minki Jeong)
Birmingham Fellow, Associate Professor and Head of Year 3 in Teaching
Research:  Quantum magnetism and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
Teaching: Superconductivity (Year 4) and Project (Year 4)
Find out more: The Jeong Group
Lucy ClarkDr Lucy Clark
Associate Professor in Materials Chemistry
Research:  Synthesis of quantum magnetic materials, neutron scattering, muon spin rotation
Teaching: Physical Chemistry, Practical Chemistry
Find out more: The Clark Group
ColcloughMarkDr Mark  S. Colclough
Senior Lecturer and Director of Learning and Teaching Laboratory
Teaching:  Physics Project (Year 2), Condensed Matter Laboratory (Year 3), General Physics (Year 3)
Find out more: Device Physics research

Group associates

  • Michael Parkes: helium liquefier
  • Jon Perrins: cryogenic and mechanical workshop

Retired faculty

Ted ForganProfessor Ted (Edward M.) Forgan
Professor Emeritus
Research: neutron scattering and muon spin rotation
Find out more: Professor Ted Forgan research summary
muirhead-cDr Chris Muirhead
Honorary Senior Research Fellow (formerly Senior Lecturer)
Research: Sub-micron device physics, multilayer superconductor device physics, quantum device physics
Find out more: Device Physics research
Joe VinenProfessor Joe (William F.) Vinen, Fellow of Royal Society
Professor Emeritus
Research: Quantum and classical turbulence, superfluidity
Find out more: Professor Joe Vinen research summary
A.I.M. RaeDr A. I. M. Rae
Honorory Senior Research Fellow (formerly Reader in Quantum Physics)
Research:  Device physics, foundations of quantum mechanics
Find out more: Device Physics research
C GoughProfessor Colin Gough
Professor Emeritus
Research:  Musical acoustics, microwave measurements of high-Tc superconductors
Find out more: Professor Colin Gough research summary