Theoretical physics of matter
Modern theoretical condensed matter physics aims at the understanding of the properties of matter and radiation under extreme conditions, from strong and ultrastrong interactions to confinement, ultralow temperature, and high pressure or strain. Impressing progress in the last few years has allowed to synthesize complex solidstate structures, such as quantum networks of artificial atoms and to discover new materials, like graphene or topological matter, whose physics is dominated by quantum coherence. Exploiting novel phenomena in such systems is expected to open new scenarios both for fundamental Physics, from highly unconventional behaviors, as for mesoscopic superconductors or quantum Hall liquids, to novel states of matter and quantum phase transitions, where sophisticated concepts from topology meet quantum mechanics. Interest in this Physics is strongly motivated by applications to quantum computation and other revolutionary quantum technologies, which are the goals of a new EU FETFlagship on 201828. Visionary perspectives range from quantum artificial intelligence to atomtronics and quantum gravity.
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News

Presentation of Curriculum in Condensed Matter Physics (Theory path)  LM Fisica 2019/20 @UniCT.

Slides of "Project “Linea di intervento 2” of Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia  Ettore Majorana, Università di Catania
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People

G. Falci (full professor)  Research: quantum technologies, open quantum systems and control, topology, geometric phases and quantum phase transitions  Teaching

G.G.N. Angilella (associate professor)  Research: graphene  Teaching

L. Amico (associate professor)  Research: atomtronics  Teaching

E. Paladino (associate professor)  Research: open quantum systems and control, quantum technologies, graphene  Teaching

A. Ridolfo (associate professor)

G. Piccitto (assistant professor) – Teaching

F.M.D. Pellegrino (researcher)  Research: graphene, topological states of matter, quantum technologies – Teaching

J. Rajendran (PhD student)  Research: quantum technologies

T. Fazio (PhD student)  Research: quantum technologies

R. Pucci (Emeritus professor)
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PhD and Postdoc

The PhD program in Physics hosts a Curriculum in Theoretical Physics of Fundamental Interaction and Quantum Technologies in consortium with Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica Nucleare. Students interested in theoretical basic science for Quantum Technologies are encouraged to contact us. For next year seven fellowships are expected, including one reserved for foreign students.
PhD Thesis (Curriculum in Theoretical Physics of Fundamental Interactions and Quantum Technologies)

Quantum control of ultrastrongly coupled superconducting architectures  Jishnu Rajendran

We look for PhD students in the following topics: Quantum sensing and measurement problem, Dynamics of driven open quantum systems, Quantum optics in solidstate nanostructures
PhD courses taught (Curriculum in Theoretical Physics of Fundamental Interactions and Quantum Technologies)
Researchers in Condensed Matter Physics and Quantum technologies teach several courses for the Laurea in Physics, for the Laurea Magistrale in Physics and in Electronic Engineering (see the section in Italian for teaching and thesis), and for the PhD Course in Physics at University of Catania.

Advanced concepts in Quantum Technologies (3 CFU) – G. Falci

Open Quantum Systems (3 CFU) –E. Paladino

Advanced numerical methods (2 CFU) – G. G. N. Angilella

Mathematica for Physicists: computational methods and tools (3 CFU) – A. Ridolfo
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Ongoing Research
Quantum technologies with architectures of artificial atoms
G. Falci, A. Ridolfo, E. Paladino, F. M. D. Pellegrino
Fascinating aspects of Nature that defy our intuition, such as quantum entanglement and quantum collapse, are at the basis of research conjugating fundamental physics with innovative technologies exploiting genuinely quantum behavior. Recent progress foresight that quantum technologies are now at hand, research being conspicuously funded by public institutions and industries worldwide, as the EU FETFlagship for the 201828 decade.
Nanofabricated solidstate devices provide one of the elective hardware for quantum technologies. In particular integrated superconducting quantum architectures of artificial atoms are at the forefront in the race for “quantum supremacy”. Our research is focused on distributed architectures, mainly made of superconducting devices or more in general hybridized with photons and atomiclike centers in solids, and on the implementation and control of entanglement in the ultrastrongly coupled matter and radiation.
Further reading

Here, there and everywhere [The Economist: Technology Quarterly]

The physics of quantum computation [G. Falci and E. Paladino, Int. Jour. of Quantum Information, 12, 1430003 (2014)]

Superconducting Circuits for Quantum Information [M.H Devoret Schoelkopf, Science 339, 11691174 (2013)]

The dialogue between quantum light and matter [E. Solano, Physics 4, 68 (2011)  Viewpoint]
Open quantum systems, quantum control and sensing
E. Paladino, A.Ridolfo, G. Falci
Text.
Further reading

Decoherence and the transition from quantum to classical [W. Zureck, Physics Today 44, 3644 (1991))

1/f noise: Implications for solidstate quantum information [E. Paladino, Y. M. Galperin, G. Falci, and B. L. Altshuler, Rev. Mod. Phys. 86, 361 (2014)]
Graphene
F. M. D. Pellegrino, G. G. N. Angilella, E. Paladino, R. Pucci
Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Despite its simplicity and although sporadic attempts to study graphene can be traced back to 1859, there has been an explosion in research on this material only since 2004, when A. Geim and K. Novoselov (University of Manchester, UK) discovered and isolated a single atomic layer of carbon for the first time. The thinness of this material allows it to be extremely flexible and to conduct heat and electricity fantastically well. Furthermore, graphene has remarkable flexibility that could be used in emerging technologies such as rollerball computers, heatsensitive clothing, and flexible phones. In the meanwhile, it is one of the strongest material known, it is over 200 times stronger than steel. Together with its mechanical properties, the electronic properties of graphene are outstanding. These allow to realize highmobility devices and to clearly identify the occurrence of hydrodynamic transport features.
Further reading

Electrons flowing like liquid in graphene start a new wave of physics

The electronic properties of graphene [A. H. Castro Neto et al., Rev. Mod. Phys. 81, 109 (2009)]

Hydrodynamics of electrons in graphene [A. Lucas and Kin Chung Fong, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 30 053001 (2018)]
Atomtronics
Text.
Further reading

paper 1

link 2
Topological states of matter, geometric phases, and quantum phase transitions
Topological materials are novel quantum materials characterized by key properties that are invariant under topological transformations. In particular, topological insulators (TI) are insulating in the bulk and conducting at the surface. In another class of topological materials, the bulk of the material is semimetal and their valence and conduction bands touch at or near the Fermi level. Depending on whether the bands are nondegenerate or doubly degenerate, a topological material is called a topological Weyl semimetal or a topological Dirac semimetal.
Further reading

The Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016 goes to D. J. Thouless, F. D. M. Haldane, J. M. Kosterlitz for their theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter

Colloquium: Topological insulators [M. Z. Hasan and C. L. Kane, Rev. Mod. Phys. 82, 3045 (2010)]

Weyl and Dirac semimetals in threedimensional solids [N. P. Armitage, E. J. Mele, and A. Wishwanath, Rev. Mod. Phys. 90, 015001 (2018)]
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Other research lines
In the past years, Researchers in Condensed matter and Quantum Technologies have been working on several topics. A number of them are listed below and are described in the personal pages of the researchers. We offer our competence and skills on these topics, to support/complement other research groups in joint research initiatives and grant applications, for training courses and for student's research projects.

Superconductivity under Pressure (G.G.N. Angilella)

Mesoscopic Superconductivity (G. Falci)

Charging effects and Coulomb Blockade Physics (G. Falci)

Dissipative Quantum Mechanics (G. Falci)
Associated research institutions
CNR UoS Catania (former Matis); CNRIMM; CNISM, UdR Catania; INFN, Sez. Catania; Centro Siciliano di Fisica Nucleare e Struttura della Materia, CIMAT
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