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Condensed Matter Physics Essay

562 words - 3 pages

Condensed Matter Physics, in its early conception, was not known by its more modern terminology but emanated from Solid State Physics. Comparable to Astronomy, Solid State Physics is the oldest subcategory of what we now refer to as Physics. Condensed-matter physics is broader and applies to concepts that work in solids, but could equally be applied to liquids: superconductivity vs. superfluidity, and soft-condensed matter. Condensed Matter Physics has contributed properties of materials including electronic, magnetic, dynamical, mechanical, and thermo-dynamical properties of nanoscale systems and materials such as but not limited to: Metals and alloys, semiconductors, superconductors, polymers, ceramics, crystal, amorphous and cluster-like states. Condensed Matter Physics is interdisciplinary and intertwined with inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, quantum chemistry, electrical and mechanical. It ...view middle of the document...

Democritus’ idea that an atom existed was proposed. Aristotle mistakenly believed all metals were a mixture of sulfur and mercury. After many centuries, there was resurgence in the idea of an atom by Isaac Newton and his contemporaries but was overshadowed throughout the late 18th and most of 19th century by the massive achievements of continuum theories in Mechanics, non-statistical Thermodynamics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Optics. One of the pioneers in condensed states of matter, and a proponent of the modern atomistic theory during the early 1800s was English Chemist, Humphrey Davy. In the meantime, during 1823, Michael Faraday, then an assistant in Davy's lab, successfully liquefied almost all known gaseous elements. Atomistic physics was backed up by chemistry and J. J. Thompson’s discovery of the electron in 1897. Shortly after helium and hydrogen were liquefied in 1908, Paul Drude suggested classical electron gas in metals coinciding with Wiedemann-Franz Law but lacking the explanation of specific heat of metals and low temperature resistivity.
Just when Physics was thought to be entirely “solved” by Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, and Thermodynamics, a revolution in the early 20th century emerged. Onnes received the 1913 Nobel Prize for discovering superconductivity in mercury. Before the advent of Quantum Mechanics, Solid State Physics reached its turning point after Van Laue discovered diffraction of X-rays by crystals and W.H. & W.L. Bragg used X-rays to analyze crystals, receiving the 1914 and 1915 Nobel Prizes, respectively. After Quantum Mechanics, one the utmost technological breakthroughs in condensed matter physics occurred in 1948, the transistor by Shockley, Bardeen, and Brattain. Thereafter in 1957, the Theory of Superconductivity was produced by Bardeen, Cooper, and Schriefer. A few decades later, the discovery of High temperature superconductivity was inevitable in 86’, carbon nanotubes were produced by Iijima in 91’, experimental Bose-Einstein condensation by Ketterle, Cornell, and Wieman and up until recently, single Graphene sheets were discovered and awarded Geim and Novoselov the 2010 Nobel Prize.

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