Current research in the department is within the following broad areas of physics:
NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY
Nanoscience, the behavior of physical systems when confined to near atomic, nanoscale (< 100 nm) dimensions together with the physical phenomena that occur at the nanoscale, is currently one of the most dynamic and rapidly developing areas of interdisciplinary research in applied physics.
SOFT CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS (THEORY AND EXPERIMENTAL)
The soft condensed matter physics being pursued in our department include:Friction, fracture, adhesion and lubrication, liquid crystals, biological physics, complex fluids, statistical physics, numerical simulations, Study of transport phenomena, thermodynamical measurements, optical / neutron / X-ray scattering
FERROELECTRIC AND FERROMAGNETIC MATERIALS
Ferroelectric materials are a special class of crystals, like barium or lead titanate (BaTiO3 or PbTiO3). Lead zirconate titanate (LZT) is another example. These materials are also piezoelectric: when applying some mechanical stress, they will generate some voltage. In fact, the process goes both ways: when applying some voltage to them, it will also create mechanical deformation. We have focused on BiFe1-xZnxO3, Li-Ni ferrite, (Bi,Gd)FeO3-Ni0.8Zn0.2Fe2O4, Li-Mn-Ni Ferrites and MnLaxFe2-xO4 etc.
NATURAL MAGNETIC MINERALS
The natural minerals of iron hydroxyl phosphates include Barbosalite (Fe3(PO4)2(OH)2), rockbridgeite (Fe5(PO4)3(OH)5), Beraunite (Fe6(PO4)4(OH)5.6H2O), and whitmoreite (Fe3(PO4)2(OH)2.4H2O). Barbosalite named by Marie Louise Lindberg (Smith) and William T. Pecora in 1955 in honor of Brazilian geologist Aluízio Licínio de Miranda Barbosa from Minas Gerais, Brazil - is a basic hydroxy-phosphate, with greenish blue to almost black in color and occurs as a hydrothermal product of triphylite Li(Fe(II), Mn(II))PO4. A crystallo-chemical characterization of barbosalite presents a challenging act because of its fibrous and microcrystalline character. The presence of other transition metal ions alongside iron makes the situation even more complicated to characterize the chemical properties of the crystal.