Faculty in the Department of Physics are roughly grouped into five research areas:
- Atomic Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics and Biophysics
- Elementary Particle Physics
In addition to these areas, individual faculty members have interests in other areas of physics, e.g., Biocomplexity (Alber), Network Theory (Toroczkai), and Quantum Computing (LoSecco and Tanner). Many active collaborations exist between physicists in these and other areas. It is not uncommon to find astrophysicists working with high-energy physicists or physicists working with computer scientists or biochemists or mathematicians.
The Department of Physics is housed in Nieuwland Science Hall. A research library for physics and chemistry is also located in the building, providing rapid and convenient access to research publications. In addition, the Radiation Laboratory of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry maintains a smaller library and reading room, while excellent biology, and mathematics/computer sciences, and engineering libraries are located nearby on campus. The spacious 14-story Hesburgh Library provides comfortable and convenient study space for more than 2,500 students, and houses a periodicals reading room with a wide range of publications. Electronic access is also available for the vast majority of journals.
All experimental groups in physics have physics laboratories and specialized instrumentation located within Nieuwland Science Hall. Additionally, the majority of the experimental physicists also conduct experiments at national or international laboratories. Also available to all experimental groups is a well-equipped machine shop, which is maintained by the department and staffed by highly skilled instrument makers, and a glassblowing shop operated by the Radiation Laboratory. Other University resources include multiple electron microscopes, x-ray diffraction facilities, scanning-probe (AFM, STM, etc.) systems, semiconductor fabrication facilities, surface characterization equipment, magnetic resonance imaging, and other equipment and centers.
Computing facilities include university-operated computer clusters (Sun, SGI, PC and Macintosh), a university-run High-Performance Computing Center (HPCC), and a Beowulf cluster of over 100 dual-processor Dells operated by the College of Science. Within the HPCC, researchers have access to SGI Origin 2000 and 3000 supercomputers, as well as a Sun Enterprise 420R cluster and an IBM Beowulf cluster. High-speed Ethernet connections are available in all University offices, laboratories, and residences. NOMAD wireless computer access is available throughout most of Nieuwland Science Hall.