Physics PhD program offers world class research opportunities in high energy astrophysics, condensed matter physics and statistical physics.
The program is designed for students who wish to acquire an understanding of basic physics, either to support their major program, or to satisfy their interest and curiosity.The program offers a sufficient and consistent formation that will prepare interested students for graduate study in physics.
- Condensed Matter Physics
- High Energy Astrophysics
- Mathematical Physics
- Statistical physics
- Theoretical Molecular Biophysics
High Energy Astrophysics:
High Energy Astrophysics research at Sabanci University concentrates on the structure, dynamics, and evolution of neutron stars, black holes, white dwarfs, matter in their environments, as well as the radiation emitted by these compact objects. Instrumentation research with room temperature semiconductors is also pursued. This research particularly aims at understanding the structure of matter at the highest densities, up to and beyond 10^15 g/cm^3, under extreme magnetic fields of up to10^15 G and the most rapid possible rotation rates, with rotation periods as short as milliseconds. Theoretical research, as well as observations with international X-ray and gamma ray observatory satellites, in addition to optical observations at the TÜBİTAK National Observatory are pursued. The Sabancı University Astrophysics and Space Forum also hosts workshops and foster scientific collaboration with astrophysicists in Turkey and abroad.
Experimental Condensed Matter Physics:
The Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Group mainly focuses on the electronic and magnetic properties of nanostructures and low dimensional electronic systems under extreme physical conditions (temperatures near absolute zero and very high magnetic fields). Specimens are patterned by electron beam lithography and have features down to a few tens of nanometers. The behavior of charge carriers under these conditions represents transport regimes not only interesting for basic research but also adaptable for novel electronic device applications. Transport experiments are mostly done on graphene and GaAs based materials. Another field of study is nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). The research in this field is focused on development of ultrasensitive displacement sensors and their applications on the problem of detecting the mechanical quantum. These experiments involve nanofabrication and high frequency measurements at low temperatures and magnetic field. The experimental research groups also develop scientific instruments for their research. A scanning tunneling microscope (STM) that will operate at ultra high vacuum, cryogenic temperatures and magnetic field is now being built. STM is to be used as a surface science tool. It is also used to create structures with dimensions down to the atomic level and to probe their properties. A distance learning Atomic Force Microscope(nc-AFM) operating in Ultra High Vacuum(UHV) is developed to study lateral force interactions at atomic scale. This microscope is being used to study atomic scale friction and molecular scale manipulation on Si(111) surface. A general purpose Atomic Force Microscope is also used for characterization of nanostructures. Scanning Hall Probe Microscopes(SHPM) operating at low and room temperatures are developed and used to study magnetic properties of superconductors and magnetic nanostructures. The first graphene materials have successfully been produced in the group using mechanical exfoliation. Graphene Hall sensors are being developed for SHPM applications.
Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics:
The theoretical nanophysics group focuses on fundamental physics problems that arise in nanometer scale objects. Recent research interests of the group were on quantum transport in nanostructures, mesosopic physics, graphene physics, spintronics, spin Hall effect and topological insulators. The quantum information group is working on quantum entanglement and decoherence - not only fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics but also important challenges in the construction of quantum computers.
String theory is considered to be the best candidate for a quantum theory of gravity. In mathematics, bosonic string states and vertex operators offer the most direct representation of the Monster, the biggest simple finite group. The structure constants of the Fake Monster Lie algebra can be shown to be identical with 3-string amplitudes. Other sporadic finite groups and hyperbolic Lie algebras are also of interest due to the insights they may provide into string theory. Furthermore, string theory can still be useful in hadron phenomenology, where it originated. Although string theories require 10 or 11 or 26 dimensions, our perceived spacetime is four dimensional. This may be a consequence of some very special properties of 4-manifolds such as the existence of uncountably many distinct R4's. Four-manifolds are also unique in harboring selfdual gauge fields and Weyl spinors for Euclidean signature.
Major research topics in statistical physics at Sabancı University include phase transitions and critical phenomena, renormalization-group theory, high-temperature superconductivity, quantum particles and spins, scale-free and small-world networks, water in nanotubes and its viscosity, and order in the presence of frozen disorder and spin glasses.
Theoretical Molecular Biophysics:
Concepts from physics are applied to problems in molecular biology in two complementary ways. On the one hand, because the biological function of life's molecules is constrained by their physical and chemical properties, it is important to describe the functional transformations these molecules undergo using the language of chemical physics. On the other, the most successful experimental techniques for probing the structure and dynamics of biomolecules at atomic resolution exploit the fundamental physical properties of these molecules, like their interaction with mechanical and electromagnetic forces. Research in theoretical molecular biophysics at Sabancı University touches on both of these aspects.
Employing the toolboxes of equilibrium and nonequilibrium statistical mechanics we develop efficient computational approaches for identifying and characterizing large-scale conformational transitions of biomolecules using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. In addition, we develop a methodogy for utilizing the detailed dynamical information contained in the MD trajectories to simulate electron spin resonance (ESR) spectra of the studied biomolecules. The ESR spectra computed from first principles are directly compared with experimental data provided by our international collaborators.
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