Condensed Matter

Condensed Matter Physics

Professors Oana Jurchescu, David Carroll, and Richard T. Williams, together with research professor K. Burak Üçer direct research in experimental condensed matter physics. Professors  Timo Thonhauser and Natalie A. W. Holzwarth, together with research professor William C. Kerr, direct research in computational condensed matter physics.

Graduate student Katelyn Goetz is growing organic single crystals using the physical vapor transport set-upThe laboratory of Oana Jurchescu focuses on the study of charge transport in organic and halide perovskite electronic materials. Their efforts consist of several major lines of interest. They study single crystals of small molecule organic semiconductors to elucidate their intrinsic properties, establish the potential and limit of their use, and provide feedback for material and device design. They also investigate the interplay between chemical composition, crystal structure, and electronic properties in organic and halide perovskite semiconductors. A significant component of their effort is aimed at understanding the fundamental aspects of charge transport in these materials and how processing impacts the quality of various interfaces in devices.



Professor Dave Carroll and a graduate student work with FIPEL lighting at the Nanotech CenterDavid Carroll External link icon is Director of the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials at WFU. The studies of the research group focus on the properties and applications of nanomaterials, nanoparticle arrays, and matrix nanocomposites.  Specifically they work at the interface between between these exotic new materials and their implementation into technology.  While there is a range of technologies under study in the group, most fall into photovoltaics, advanced lighting and opto-electronics, thermoelectric/piezoelectric power scavenging, and bioelectronic sensing.  They seek to understand the role of material dimensionality in enhancements to such technologies.


Wake Forest physics graduate students Peiyun Li and Drew Onken work with a sapphire laser to study crystals that can detect gamma rays, in Prof. William's lab in Olin Richard Williams External link icon directs research using ultrafast laser spectroscopy to investigate real-time consequences of light absorption by solids. Phenomena of interest include self-trapping of excitons and charge carriers in insulators, relaxation of hot carriers, and excitonic processes of lattice defect formation.  Current work focuses on the physics of scintillation—what goes on in high-energy particle tracks to determine the energy resolution of spectroscopic radiation detectors.

Antibonding highest-occupied molecular orbital in a molecular model dimer

Timo Thonhauser External link icon and his group conduct research in theoretical and computational condensed-matter physics and materials science with a focus on the development of ab-initio electronic-structure methods and their application to bio-, nano-, and energy-related materials. These theoretical studies go hand-in-hand with experimental research and provide the necessary framework to understand the behavior and characteristics of materials. Such knowledge is the basis for the design of new, improved, and advanced materials with direct applications to all areas of technology.  The research in Prof. Thonhauser’s group usually has three components. The first component is model development, which in many cases is based on the theory of quantum mechanics. The next step is the translation of this theoretical model into a computer program, which involves the development of algorithms as well as the development of computer codes appropriate for parallel computing on super computers. The last step then is the application of theory and code to problems of current interest.

Structural diagrams of ideal solid electrolytes for lithium ion batteries


N. A. W. Holzwarth External link icon and her group concentrates on the development and use of computational tools to model the fundamental and technological properties of materials. Realistic simulation and modeling tools are essential for understanding the basic properties of materials and for designing materials for technology. The research addresses the need for the development of algorithms and codes for modeling complex materials. Recent projects have focused on modeling solid electrolyte materials motivated by the possibility of all solid state battery technology.  Examples of some of the crystalline solid electrolytes that have been studied are shown above.

Research professor William Kerr External link icon studies spin effects in semiconductor transport.