The CMP Group

The Condensed Matter Physics group at Leicester study the behaviour of complex materials at the nano-scale.


ptcle100x100.jpegPrimarily we are interested in the fundamental behaviour of systems that have application in modern technologies, for example in nanoscience and biophysics. We are involved in both national and international collaborations and make extensive use of central facilities such as DIAMOND and the ESRF.


Broadly speaking, condensed matter physics is concerned with the behaviour of matter on an atomic scale. The CMP group at Leicester are interested in the relationship between atomic configurations, electronic structure and function. A brief summary of some of our projects is given below.

To find details of the current research interests of the group, follow the links to the individual pages of the members of academic staff.


We are primarily interested in the structural and electronic properties of semiconductor nanostructures and the electronic properties of magnetic nanoparticles.

ntdevice100x100.jpeg We use numerical and analytical techniques to model both the single particle and strongly correlated quantum states of nanostructures.These, artificial atom-like systems have important applications in opto-electronics and quantum computing. We study many types of nanostructures: quantum dots formed in graphene, and carbon nanotubes (image: right), self assembled MBE grown dots, and electrostatic dots.

The group, in collaboration with Prof JA Blackman,  is studying the electronic properties of nanoscale magnetic clusters. The primary goal is the design of high magnetic moment and high anisotropy materials. We employ electronic structure techniques to study the properties of single element, binary and  encapsulated clusters of sizes up to about 1000 atoms. A particular focus for encapsulated clusters is the sensitivity of the properties to  the interface between the two components.

The group is also interested in X-ray and electron scattering. We use advanced computational techniques to accurately solve the quantum mechanical behaviour of electrons interacting with non periodic arrays of atoms or ions.


We use a wide range of techniques to produce and investigate novel nanoscale materials.lumps100x100.jpg

Much of our research program is based upon a custom made nanocluster source: L.U.M.P.S. (image: right) is capable of producing size selected metal nanoclusters of roughly a few hundred atoms. The clusters have novel structural and magnetic properties and we are currently developing more advanced cluster sources capable of producing nanoclusters with core-shell geometries.

stmchamber100x100.jpg The CMP scanning probe facility is also equipped with a low temperature AFM/STM (image: left). We are currently using the AFM to investigate the Casimir force - one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. A large proportion of our experimental work, including the microscopy, is carried out at ultrahigh vacuum (< 10-10mbar).

The group is a large user of central facilties in both the UK and abroad. We use synchrotron radiation techniques including magnetic x-ray circular and linear dichroism (MCXD, MCLD), surface x-ray diffraction (SXRD), photoelectron spectroscopy, and small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS).

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