Research themes

Our research focuses on three key areas: Astronomy, Condensed Matter and Photonics, and Particle and Nuclear Physics.


The Astronomy research group covers a wide variety of topics including exoplanets, star formation, galaxies, dark matter and cosmology. It makes use of the resources of the STFC-funded UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh (ROE). The Wide Field Astronomy Unit (WFAU) provides data from ground and space-based surveys for a worldwide research community.

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Condensed Matter and Photonics

Condensed Matter and Photonics is organised along scientific lines into three research groups:

  • Hard Condensed Matter studies the physics of materials, including many electron systems, and the effects of extreme conditions.
  • Soft Matter, Statistical and Biophysics researches colloids and statistical mechanics. As part of SUPA-2 a new theme was established in Physics and the Life Sciences (PALS), in which experimental work in biophysics is combined with simulation and modelling related to soft matter and statistical physics.
  • Photonics studies photonic materials, lasers and their applications. Its work links to the PALS, photonics and energy themes in SUPA.

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Particle and Nuclear Physics

Particle and Nuclear Physics is organised along scientific lines into three research groups:

  • Nuclear Physics mainly focuses on nuclear reactions of astrophysical significance. There is also work on dark matter searches, laser-driven plasma accelerators (SCAPA), and photonuclear and hadronic physics.
  • Particle Physics Experiment is actively participating in data analysis with the ATLAS and LHCb experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, and in simulation, grid computing, and detector development for future upgrades.
  • Particle Physics Theory studies theories both within and beyond the Standard Model, and their phenomenological implications for LHC data. This includes perturbative QCD, lattice QCD, flavour physics, cosmology and field theory.

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Last updated: 11 Dec 2013 at 10:35