Research areas

Our current research areas are:

Hadrons and Fundamental Interactions

The group of hadrons and fundamental interactions has two main areas of research: the physics of compact stars and hadron phenomenology. These two areas of research are strongly interrelated, as the microscopic understanding of the dense star composition and dynamics relies on a thorough hadron phenomenology, whereas the extreme conditions in compact stars allow a glimpse into the QCD phase diagram in a region not yet accessible in the laboratory on Earth.

Condensed Matter Physics

  • Electronic and Magnetic Structure of Molecules, Clusters, Surfaces and Solids

    This group gathers researchers working on topics of hard condensed matter physics dealing with electrical, optical and magnetic properties of matter in several forms, from atomic clusters and isolated molecules to crystalline solids. It combines a good balance between theory, computational and experimental skills, potentiating synergies between such approaches to tackle a number of problems of current interest in condensed matter physics. A number of experimental techniques are available in-house for sample preparation and characterization (XRD, PAC, Mossbauer spectroscopy, positron annihilation, SEM, transport properties, specific heat, magnetometry, etc.).
 This group is a frequent user of large-scale facilities (ILL, ISIS, ESRF, PSI, TRIUMF) for neutron-scattering, synchrotron radiation and muSR work. Topics currently being investigated include: multiferroic compounds, topological insulators, novel superconduting materials, exotic 4f and 5f compounds (heavy-fermion, multi-k), low-dimensional molecular magnets, high-k oxides and semiconductors, new efficient materials for non-linear optics, and explaining the mechanisms of colour emission in chromophore molecules of biological systems from TDDFT ab-initio calculations.

  • Crystal Engineering and Applied Condensed Matter Physics

    The group gathers researchers with a common interest in the use of diffraction and other techniques such as neutron and Raman scattering, muSR and Mossbauer spectroscopies to investigate a wide range of materials, such as semiconductors, OLEDs and engineered materials. X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a key technique for a significant part of the research developed in the group; being widely used across a number of disciplines, it promotes a variety of interdisciplinary collaborations on a regular basis with experimental and theoretical research groups. Long standing collaborations are established with computational physics groups of the Physics Department, as well as with several chemistry and pharmacy groups of the UC. Partnerships with industry are active, namely with pharmaceutical and electromechanical companies. Multidisciplinary research, in close connection with teams from the Arts Faculty and other Institutions like national museums and other universities (Universidade da Beira Interior and University of Florence, Italy).

  • Soft and Biological Matter

    The SBM group develops research in physics with a direct application to biological systems, with the aim of having far-reaching impact in science and society. It brings together the know-how of researchers with proven expertise in theoretical, computational and experimental tasks.

Teaching and History of Sciences

The GTHS is characterized by its interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary dimension, intending to promote the cooperation of researchers from various faculties of UC and other universities, allowing the development of scientific studies on rich primary fonts of the History of Science in Portugal. The Group also focuses its work on Teaching and Teachers Education, emphasizing didactic and technological aspects. A critical point of the current Portuguese education system is the lack of adequate scientific and pedagogical preparation of many already in-service teachers. In this area the GTHS will continue to develop studies that promote the quality of science teaching, aiming also at an intervention in science communication in all kinds of environments, starting with basic and secondary school but going on to society at large