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Applied Physics

Program Research Areas


Condensed Matter & Materials Physics

Interface science by its very nature brings together a diverse community with interests in device physics, catalysis, biomembranes, zoxide film growth, semiconductors, geochemistry, surface physics, corrosion, nanoscience, energy storage, and electrochemistry.

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Engineered Quantum Systems

The fields of applied quantum physics and engineered quantum systems inspires scientists in physics and electrical engineering worldwide. At Northwestern, it unites the interests of both experimental and theoretical research groups actively investigating applications of quantum physics for a broad array of tasks.

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Photonics & Optical Properties of Matter

Current research at Northwestern focuses on exploration of the optical properties of materials, imaging methods, dynamical studies of charge and chemistry, hybrid light-matter systems, nano-scale photonics, and functional quantum optical and opto-electronic devices.

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Soft-Matter & Biophysics

Soft condensed matter physics focuses on the study of both static and dynamic properties of matter and materials at energy scales where thermal fluctuation dominates. Systems of interest include liquids, colloids, polymers, foams, gels, granular materials, and glasses, as well as a variety of biological and complex materials.

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Program Highlights

Summer 2019 to June 2020 program graduates

About the Program

The Applied Physics Graduate Program is a hub for collaboration between 6 different departments. The program is designed to prepare graduates for professional careers in science and technology, either in academics or in industry and allow students to complete their PhD studies in five years.

For a quick overview, check out our slide presentation.

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The Applied Physics program would be nothing without our incredible students, alumni, faculty and staff. Get to know some of these talented individuals below and hear about their experience with the Applied Physics program.

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seven Applied Physics students standing on the Lakefill

How to Apply

The Program seeks students who are passionate about pursuing graduate level research in Applied Physics with a strong undergraduate background in Physics. Students typically begin research in latter part of the first year.  The deadline to apply is December 31, 2020 but applications submitted  by Dec. 15, 2020 will receive priority review.

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Affiliated Labs

Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Credit Jacopo Werther/Wikipedia)
Los Alamos National Laboratory aerial shot
Los Alamos National Laboratory
National High Field Magnet Laboratory interior shot
National High Field Magnet Laboratory

Top Research Facilities

Many of the research programs in Applied Physics take advantage of opportunities for research at national facilities, particularly Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the National High Field Magnet Laboratory.

News and Events


Events Overview

The Applied Physics Program has bi-monthly lunch seminars, as well as participates in the following Seminars.

Next Applied Physics Lunch Seminar: Tue. April 6, noon to 1pm

  • Yi Wang, PhD Candidate
  • Damon L. Williams, Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, Graduate School Administration

All Applied Physics Events

News and Announcements

Understanding Complex Magnetic Spin Textures with Simulation-Assisted Lorentz Transmission Electron Microscopy
Prof. Kumar was on the organizing committee for the National Academies Workshop.

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