This research area supports theoretical condensed matter physics emphasizing theory, modeling, and simulation of electronic correlations and the functional properties of complex materials. The focus is on basic research at the atomic, nano- and meso- scale, to advance our understanding of the relationship between the electronic, vibrational, optical, mechanical, and magnetic properties of materials and their size, shape, topology, and composition. Core research areas include quantum materials, materials discovery, out-of-equilibrium and ultrafast response, and materials relevant to efficient energy conversion, and distribution. These topics include strongly correlated electron systems, quantum transport of charge, spin and heat, superconductivity, magnetism, and optics. The goal is to develop predictive theories and new theoretical methods for the investigation of novel phenomena or materials with superior functional properties. Also supported is the development of theory targeted at aiding experimental techniques and interpretation of results. Large-scale computational materials science is supported including projects with joint funding from the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research. Soft matter, biophysics, and glassy systems are not supported.
Improving the understanding of the electronic behavior of materials on the atomistic scale supports the DOE mission, as these materials offer enhanced properties which could lead to dramatic improvements in energy technologies. Examples include research efforts to understand the fundamental mechanisms of superconductivity, the elementary energy conversion steps in photovoltaic or thermoelectric materials and electron transport in nanoscale assemblies. This research area also supports basic research in semiconductor and spin-based electronics of interest for next generation information technology.
To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart and budget request.