Research areas in physics

Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics

The AMO group consists of six faculty members, four in experiment and two in theory, and several research associates and graduate students. The research projects include nonlinear optics, studies of macromolecules, photon correlation spectroscopy, spectroscopy of molecular ions, studies of laser-produced low energy plasmas and trapped ions, atomic and molecular collisions, and modeling of molecular clouds in the instellar medium. All four research laboratories are equipped with the state-of-the-art laser, ultrahigh vacuum, and spectroscopy facilities.

Condensed Matter Physics

The theoretical condensed matter physics group works primarily on the modeling and simulation of new and novel materials systems. Our researchers use state-of-the-art computational and many-body techniques, including exact diagonalization and quantum Monte Carlo simulation, to study the electron correlation effects in new materials systems. Current projects include calculation of the spectroscopy of highly correlated electronic systems, including clusters and thin films, electronic structure modeling of quantum wells, quantum dots, and new semiconductor compounds, and renormalization group studies of lower-dimensional systems.

High Pressure Physics

HiPSEC is the High Pressure Science and Engineering Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

We are a multidisciplinary group who collaborates to consider fundamental experimental, computational, and engineering problems of materials under high pressure. A central focus is properties of materials relevant to the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Stockpile Stewardship Program. We give high priority to measuring static and dynamic high-pressure studies for validating and improving computational models over a largely unexplored range of very high pressures and temperatures.


HiPSEC staff measure equilibrium thermochemical properties, mechanical properties, reaction kinetics, and reaction products at static pressures using in situ x-ray diffraction; absorption, emission, light-scattering spectroscopy from infrared to x-ray velengths, and other chemical and physical methods.

Our mission also encompasses shock experiments at NNSA's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory Albuquerque and recovering samples from these experiments for chemical, physical, and mechanical analysis.


Theoretical and computational studies focus on material properties under extreme conditions such as high pressure, high stress and/or high temperature. Staff in the theory group develop and implement a wide range of first-principles and many-body modeling and simulation approaches in theoretical exploration and also work closely with experimental groups.