Research Areas

The Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore promotes excellence in a range of research areas, including condensed matter physics, surface physics, materials science, high energy physics, atomic physics, superconductors, solid-state ionics, astrophysics, infrared spectroscopy, laser optics, X-ray fluorescence, ion beam physics, optics, acoustics and computer simulations.

Our aim in research development is to both acquire new knowledge in fundamental areas and to tackle problems of relevance to Singapore's industry. The Physics Department sees a major role for itself in the national effort to advance Singapore into a high-tech era. To this end, many staff conduct collaborative, multi-disciplinary research work with industry, overseas universities and government ministries.

The Physics Department has many laboratories which are equipped with excellent research facilities, such as the Surface Science Laboratory, Centre for Ion Beam Applications (CIBA), Centre for Superconducting Magnetic Materials (CSMM) and Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory. In addition, the Department has a well-equipped workshop to support the research activities and three Computer and Applications Laboratories with 200 high-power workstations and PCs, and scientific and advanced visualization software.

There are about fifty staff members who are actively involved in research work besides their primary teaching duties. The number of postgraduate students is about 120. Annual funding from the university, industry and government agencies, for new and ongoing research projects exceeds 2.5 million dollars. The Department's excellence in research has been demonstrated by plenary and invited talks by its staff in international conferences and by their service as referees for international journals.

The main areas of research in the department are:

  1. Physics of Nanoscience
    Low dimensional nanostructures exhibit fascinating properties with many potential applications in nanoelectronics, information storage, bio/chemical sensors and organic/molecular electronics. We are engaged in the synthesis of a wide variety of nanostructures and nanostructured materials using a variety of techniques for patterning and growth using lithography and self-assembly and researching their magnetic, electronic, optical, mechanical and chemical properties.

  2. Condensed Matter and Advanced Materials
    We are developing new materials in areas such as fuel cells, hydrogen storage, oxide electronics, spintronics, multiferroics, multi-functional hybrid thin films, low dimensional hybrid structures, nonlinear terahertz spectroscopy, nonlinear materials and portable energy sources. A range of characterization techniques are used for structural, optical, electrochemical, magnetic and electrical transport measurements at low temperature and high magnetic fields of thin films and bulk materials.

  3. Biological Physics
    The biophysics groups apply principles of physics, chemistry and also mathematical and computer modelling to understand the structure, dynamics, and functional mechanisms of biological systems. Areas include single molecule manipulation, force and fluorescence, complex fluids and biological micro/nanostructures.

  4. Physics of Nonlinear and Complex Systems
    A range of computational methods/techniques are used to investigate fundamental properties of condensed matter, to design new materials, and to simulate physical processes related to materials, nonlinear and complex systems. Areas include thermal transport in nanostructures, Monte Carlo simulation methods in statistical mechanics.

  5. Atomic, Molecular Physics (including Nonlinear Optics)

  6. Computational and Theoretical Physics (including String Theory, Cosmology, Particle Physics, etc)

  7. Quantum Information
    The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) conducts interdisciplinary theoretical and experimental research into information processing. The focus of CQT is on the development of technologies such as ion traps and quantum optics for coherent control of individual photons and atoms, and to explore the construction of quantum mechanical devices for the purpose of cryptography and computation.

  8. Graphene and 2D Materials