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 solid-state 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 FET-Flagship on 2018-28. Visionary perspectives range from quantum artificial intelligence to atomtronics and quantum gravity.

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  • 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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PhD and Post-doc

  • 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 solid-state 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 FET-Flagship for the 2018-28 decade.
Nanofabricated solid-state 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 atomic-like centers in solids, and on the implementation and control of entanglement in the ultrastrongly coupled matter and radiation.

Further reading


Open quantum systems, quantum control and sensing

E. Paladino, A.Ridolfo, G. Falci


Further reading



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, heat-sensitive 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 high-mobility devices and to clearly identify the occurrence of hydrodynamic transport features.

Further reading



L. Amico


Further reading

  • paper 1

  • link 2


Topological states of matter, geometric phases, and quantum phase transitions

F. M. D. Pellegrino, G. Falci

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


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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); CNR-IMM; CNISM, UdR Catania; INFN, Sez. Catania; Centro Siciliano di Fisica Nucleare e Struttura della Materia, CIMAT


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