University of California Merced

Department of Physics

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5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
(209) 228-4481

http://physics.ucmerced.edu/

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Research Specialties and Staff

Research Specialties and Staff

University of California Merced

Specialties for Degree Program

Research specialty Degree type
PhD
(Theoretical/Experimental)
Master's
(Final degree/Enroute to PhD)
Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics Both Both
Biophysics Both Both
Condensed Matter Physics Both Both
Nano Science and Technology Both Both
Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems Both Both
Solar and Energy Sciences Both Both
Statistical & Thermal Physics Both Both

Departmental Research and Staff

THEORETICAL

Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics

The ability to manipulate matter at the atomic scale and its interactions with light have led to transformative advances in atomic, molecular and optical physics (AMO). Research areas include theoretical nonlinear dynamics for atomic and molecular systems, and quantum optics and quantum information in nanoscale systems including superconducting quantum computing, semiconductor optics, and nanomechanics.
Chih-Chun Chien, Kevin Mitchell, Lin Tian

Biophysics

Biophysics is by definition an interdisciplinary science where ideas and techniques from physics (including soft condensed matter physics) are utilized to understand biological systems and phenomena. The biophysics group at UC Merced collaborates extensively between theory and experiment, and with chemistry, biology, applied math, and bioengineering groups. Research areas include macromolecular transport, biopolymers (structure, dynamics and function), bacterial physics (growth, division, motility), and molecular motors and intracellular transport.
Daniel Beller, Kinjal Dasbiswas, Ajay Gopinathan

Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed matter physics investigates the physical, electronic and magnetic properties of the various forms of solid and liquid matter, ranging from naturally occurring crystals to engineered micro- and nanostructures as well as more exotic condensed phases and phenomena such as superconductivity and the quantum Hall effect. Research areas include nanoscience, strongly correlated systems, quantum information processing and magneto-optical phenomena, optical properties of nanostructures, and theoretical and computational tools for condensed-matter physics.
Chih-Chun Chien, David Strubbe, Lin Tian

Nano Science and Technology

The ability to fabricate, control, and study matter on the nanometer scale has opened up new possibilities in science and technology. Research areas include optical properties of nanostructures, quantum optics and quantum information in nanoscale systems, superconducting quantum computing, semiconductor optics, and nanomechanics.
Chih-Chun Chien, David Strubbe, Lin Tian

Nonlinear Dynamics and Complex Systems

Most processes encountered in nature are inherently nonlinear. Nonlinear dynamics and statistical physics find applications across a wide range of disciplines from mathematics and physics to chemistry, biology, and engineering. Research areas include chaotic dynamics, thermal transport, collective phenomena in swarming and foraging, anomalous transport in complex environments, and fundamental studies of topological dynamics.
Daniel Beller, Chih-Chun Chien, Ajay Gopinathan, Kevin Mitchell

Soft Matter

Soft condensed matter is the study of materials that are neither crystalline solids, nor simple liquids — they are somewhere in between. Everyday examples of soft matter include soaps, paints, gels, plastics, liquid crystals and most of your own body and the food you eat. Research areas include liquid crystals, active matter, and polymer physics and elasticity.
Daniel Beller, Kinjal Dasbiswas, Ajay Gopinathan

EXPERIMENTAL

Affiliated faculty in other departments

The physics group also includes affiliate faculty from other UC Merced graduate groups. Physics students may also carry out their physics graduate research with these groups. Venkattraman Ayyaswamy: plasma physics (mechanical engineering); Mehmet Z. Baykara: tribology and surface science (mechanical engineering); Mike Colvin: biomolecular simulation (chemistry and chemical biology); Arvind Gopinath: soft matter and biophysics (bioengineering and small-scale technologies); Sarah Kurtz: solar energy (bioengineering and small-scale technologies); Jennifer Lu: functional material synthesis (bioengineering and small-scale technologies); Victor Muñoz: biophysics of proteins (bioengineering and small-scale technologies); Alex Noy: biomaterials (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory); Anand Subramaniam: biomaterials (bioengineering and small-scale technologies); Tao Ye: bio/nano interfaces (chemistry and chemical biology)

Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics

The ability to manipulate matter at the atomic scale and its interactions with light have led to transformative advances in atomic, molecular and optical physics (AMO). Research areas include photonic and electronic coupling for applications in quantum information, non-imaging optics, laboratory research at the boundary between relativity and quantum mechanics, ultrafast laser systems and their applications, and use of optical traps to manipulate nature's nano-machines: molecular motors.
Sayantani Ghosh, Michael Scheibner, Jay Sharping, Roland Winston, Jing Xu

Biophysics

Biophysics is by definition an interdisciplinary science where ideas and techniques from physics (including soft condensed matter physics) are utilized to understand biological systems and phenomena. The biophysics group at UC Merced collaborates extensively between theory and experiment, and with chemistry, biology, applied math, and bioengineering groups. Research areas include structure and function of cell membranes, biopolymers (structure, dynamics and function), biophotonics, bacterial physics (growth, division, motility), and molecular motors and intracellular transport.
Linda Hirst, Bin Liu, Jay Sharping, Jing Xu

Condensed Matter Physics

Condensed matter physics investigates the physical, electronic and magnetic properties of the various forms of solid and liquid matter, ranging from naturally occurring crystals to engineered micro- and nanostructures as well as more exotic condensed phases and phenomena such as superconductivity and the quantum Hall effect. Research areas include nanoscience, strongly correlated systems, quantum information processing and magneto-optical phenomena, optical properties of nanostructures, and emergence of complex phenomena when transitioning from single molecule to small ensemble studies.
Raymond Chiao, Sayantani Ghosh, Michael Scheibner, Jing Xu

Nano Science and Technology

The ability to fabricate, control, and study matter on the nanometer scale has opened up new possibilities in science and technology. Research areas include directed assembly of nanostructures for information and energy transfer, optical properties of nanostructures, and combination of physics and biochemistry methodologies to tune the nano-machinery of molecular motors.
Sayantani Ghosh, Linda Hirst, Michael Scheibner, Jing Xu

Soft Matter

Soft condensed matter is the study of materials that are neither crystalline solids, nor simple liquids — they are somewhere in between. Everyday examples of soft matter include soaps, paints, gels, plastics, liquid crystals and most of your own body and the food you eat. Research areas include liquid crystals, active matter, polymer physics and elasticity, fluid dynamics and granular systems, membranes, and experiments on geometry and topology in soft matter and fluids.
Linda Hirst, Dustin Kleckner, Bin Liu

Solar and Energy Sciences

As the first new research university in the 21st century, UC Merced was established with the mission to address new challenges facing humanity, including development of inexpensive renewable energy. Research areas include design of novel optics for light energy collection and development of novel materials for energy conversion. The University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar) is a multi-campus research institute across the UC system. Headquartered at UC Merced, UC Solar conducts cross-disciplinary research that leads to new and improved solar energy generation technologies and educates the energy industry and the next generation of energy scholars.
Sayantani Ghosh, Linda Hirst, David Strubbe, Roland Winston

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