Department of Physics


Discover more about the leading research that we undertake in the Department of Physics, including details about our research centres.

Research in the department of physics

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) confirms the high-quality research being produced by the Department of Physics, with 84 per cent of our research output rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Research centres

Our research is conducted in four centres:


Research in the astrophysics centre includes work on star clusters, galaxies, supermassive black holes, and the hunt for dark matter.

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Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Physics 

CNRP research ranges from pure nuclear physics to research that is more applied in nature, for example techniques for medical imaging. It includes experimental and theoretical nuclear physics groupsradiation detectorsmedical physics and the environmental radioactivity group.

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Photonics and Quantum Sciences

The University's Advanced Technology Institute conducts research into a variety of functional materials and devices.

The physicists in this interdisciplinary institute are all members of the Photonics and Quantum Sciences group, interested in making new kinds of lasers and waveguides, and using electromagnetic waves for studying phenomena like spintronics and quantum information.

Research balances theory and experiment, and its boundaries are fluid with electronic engineers contributing to the group and physicists contributing to other ATI research groups.

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Soft Matter

Soft matter is typically intermediate between highly ordered crystals and disordered liquids, and has structure on the nanoscale. The group studies genuinely soft materials such as drying paints and crystallising proteins, as well as tougher stuff, such as cement. Many systems with structure on the nanoscale are soft, and so the group also studies a number of nanotechnologies. Much of the work is aimed at improving our fundamental understanding of these complex and fascinating systems, but we also work wiith companies to apply this understanding.

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