Research fields for the School of Physics & Astronomy.
Complex Quantum Systems
Remarkably simple quantum phases, such as superconductivity
and magnetic order, can emerge in complex systems of strongly interacting
in solids. We have a particular interest in ways of promoting further ‘emergence’ by
fine-tuning the properties of materials near quantum critical points.
Quantum Optics and Quantum Information
optics is the science of simple quantum systems, often comprising atoms and
photons, which exposes the fundamental properties and paradoxes of quantum
mechanics. We are engaged in exploring and exploiting connections between
quantum optics, quantum information, low-temperature condensed-matter physics
and astrophysics, both theoretically and experimentally.
A large research team is building upon two decades of pioneering
work at St. Andrews to purse the production of ultrashort optical pulses
Microphotonics and Photonic Crystals
Fabrication of semiconductor microstructures yields unprecedented control over the propagation and emission of light.
semiconductors combine the processing properties of plastics with the optoelectronic
properties of conventional crystalline semiconductors. Research in St Andrews
includes photophysical studies of new materials, and their application to
LEDs, solar cells, lasers and optical amplifiers
Laser-based techniques, including fast optical pulses and laser
tweezing, are used to investigate and manipulate biological systems and to
to modern medicine.
Terahertz and mm-wave physics
The School’s long-standing expertise in mm-wave techniques
has fuelled several major new initiatives including applications to pulsed
resonance, weather radar and the deformation of volcanoes on the approach
Laser Development and Nonlinear Optics
Microchip lasers are being developed for applications such as remote sensing. Optical parametric generation is used to produce widely-tunable sources from the visible to the terahertz region and on timescales down to femtosecond pulses. This is exploited in applications including spectroscopy, quantum optics, sensing and imaging, defence and security, and communications.
The Search for Extra Solar Planets
In the last decade over one hundred planets outside our solar
system have been detected and the push is well underway to detect habitable,
planets. At St. Andrews a number of observational techniques are used,
including the use of the new Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) camera.
Young Suns, Binary Stars, and Star Formation
formation and the early lives of young suns are studied at St Andrews from
both an observational and theoretical perspective. The diverse programme
includes simulations and radiative transfer models of star and planet formation,
magnetic-fieldmodelling, tomographic stellar surface imaging, and observations
of binary star systems and circumstellar dust disks.
Galaxy Dynamics and Active Galactic Nuclei
hidden treasures of galaxies and secrets of their formation are best revealed
by detailed modelling of data on the very inner regions around suspected
black holes and very outer regions populated by suspected dark elementary
particles. The techniques include echo-mapping, dynamical modelling, and