Last updated: January 22, 2008 @ 01:04PM


Master of Science in Physics

Fields of Specialization
Experimental Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science
Theoretical Physics

Ian D. Brindle
Faculty of Mathematics & Science

Associate Dean
Greg Finn
Faculty of Mathematics & Science

Graduate Faculty

Professor Emeritus
Ramesh C. Shukla (Physics)

Shyamal K. Bose, Chair (Physics), Douglas H. Bruce (Biological Sciences), Bozidar Mitrovic (Physics), Fereidoon S. Razavi (Physics), Maureen Reedyk (Physics), Stuart M. Rothstein (Chemistry), Art van der Est (Chemistry), Jan Vrbik (Mathematics)

Associate Professors
David A. Crandles (Physics), Henryk Fuk (Mathematics), Kirill Samokhin (Physics), Edward Sternin (Physics)

Assistant Professor
Thad A. Harroun (Physics)

Adjunct Professors
James A. Blackburn (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Serge Grabtchak (Niagara College)
John Katsaris (NRC, Chalk River)

Senior Laboratory Instructor
Frank A. Benko

Laboratory Demonstrator
Fulvio (Phil) Boseglav

Graduate Program Director
Maureen Reedyk

Administrative Assistant
Elizabeth Horvath
905-688-5550, extension 3412
Mackenzie Chown B210

Program Description
The department of physics offers a thesis-based M.Sc. program which currently focuses on condensed matter physics, materials science and biophysics. The M.Sc. thesis can involve a theoretical or experimental project. Potential fields of research which may be pursued are described below.

Admission Requirements
Successful completion of an Honours Bachelor's degree, or equivalent, in Physics with a minimum B overall average. Applicants holding a degree without sufficient concentration in the area of the intended Master's degree, may be required to complete additional courses beyond those outlined as required for degree completion. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is recommended for international students but not required. Agreement from a faculty advisor to supervise the student is also required for admission to the program.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of suitable candidates.

Part-time candidates may be considered.

Degree Requirements
The program must include PHYS 5F90 and two credits, of which at least one and one-half credits must be graduate courses. Further credits may be required where a candidate is deficient in a particular area of study.
For full-time students, the program is a six term or two year program.

Fields of Specialization
The department's main research emphasis is on condensed matter physics. The following research fields are currently being pursued:

Theoretical physics
Lattice dynamics: lattice vibrations in simple metals, thermodynamics of anharmonic crystals, formalism of interacting many-body systems, Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations.Superconductivity: unconventional pairing, novel materials (high-Tc, magnetic, etc.), localization and superconductivity, superconducting glassy state.Transport in metals: transport properties of heavy fermion systems.Non-crystalline materials: calculation of electronic structure and transport properties of amorphous and liquid metals, quasicrystals, alloys and semiconductors, vibrational and magnetic properties of amorphous solids. Linear response calculations of electron-phonon interaction and superconductivity in solids.Unconventional superconductivity: magnetic superconductors, high temperature superconductors, strongly correlated electron systems in one and two dimensions. Mesoscopic physics. Quantum Monte Carlo studies of physical properties of isolated atoms and molecules. Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics studies of biological molecules.

Experimental Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science
Investigation of the optical properties of materials with phase transitions (e.g., ferromagnets, superconductors, heavy fermion, spin- and charge-density wave compounds) via optical spectroscopy from mm wave to uv.Preparation and characterization of ceramic, single crystal and thin film (using pulsed-laser deposition) high Tc superconductors, CMR materials (manganites) and amorphous alloys. Magnetic and transport properties at ambient and high pressure utilizing measurement techniques such as SQUID magnetometry, specific heat and dc-resistivity.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and relaxation measurements in soft condensed matter systems. Study of collective motions in model membranes, phase transitions in liquid crystals.

Exploration of various morphologies and phase behavior of lipid/water systems using scattering techniques (e.g. Neutrons, x-ray and light). Study of the protein/membrane interactions; structural characteristics of membrane active peptides.

Biophysics of photosynthetic energy conversion using a combination of specialized optical spectroscopic techniques and theoretical models for excitation energy transfer and electron transport. Time resolved Electron Spin Resonance spectroscopy and light-induced spin polarization in photosynthetic membrane proteins and donor acceptor molecular complexes. Investigation of energy and electron transfer and spin dynamics in these systems. Experimental research facilities are supported by electronics, glassblowing and machine shop services. The University provides extensive computing facilities using Silicon Graphics UNIX servers and high performance Beowulf clusters.

Undergraduate Courses
A number of fourth-year courses carrying graduate credit are offered by the department and can be selected with the permission of the Supervisor and the Graduate Program Director.

Course Descriptions
Note: Not all courses are offered in every session. Students must consult with the Graduate Program Director regarding course offerings and course selection and must have their course selections approved by the Graduate Program Director each term. Refer to the Timetable for scheduling information:
MSc Thesis
A research project involving the preparation and defence of a thesis which will demonstrate a capacity for independent work. The research shall be carried out under the supervision of a faculty member and the thesis defended at an oral examination.

Quantum Chemistry: Theory
(also offered as CHEM 5P00)
Self-consistent-field (SCF) method: configuration interaction; basis functions; electron correlation; physical properties of atoms, diatomic and polyatomic molecules.

Advanced Electromagnetism
Electromagnetic wave propagation in vacuum, dielectrics, conductors and ionized gases; wave guide and transmission line propagation; dipole and quadrupole radiation fields; relativistic transformation of the electromagnetic fields; radiation by moving charges.

Advanced Statistical Physics
Statistical ensembles, mean field and Landau theory, critical phenomena and the renormalization group; quantum fluids; superfluidity; linear response theory; selected topics on disordered systems.

Advanced Quantum Mechanics I
Green's functions in quantum mechanics and angular momenta, relativistic Schrodinger equation, Dirac equation, positron theory and many electron problems.

Advanced Quantum Mechanics II
Symmetry, collision theory, Green's function, S-matrix, field quantization.

Biophysical Techniques
(also offered as BTEC 5P67, CHEM 5P67, BIOL 5P67)
An advanced seminar/lecture course on experimental techniques in biophysics. The focus is on understanding the theory, applications and limitations of a variety of techniques students will encounter during their graduate studies. Techniques will range from advanced spectroscopy (absorption, fluorescence, NMR, X-ray diffraction) to molecular biochemistry spectroscopy.

Advanced Condensed Matter Physics
Energy bands, semiconductors, Fermi surfaces and metals, optical properties, magnetism and/or other topics to be selected.

Many Body Theory
Green's functions at zero and finite temperature; perturbation theory and Feynman diagrams; linear response theory; electron- electron interaction; electron-phonon interaction; electrons in disordered systems; Fermi liquid theory; BCS theory of superconductivity.
Note: a strong background in quantum mechanics will be expected.

Overview of basic experimental facts. Introduction to the BCS theory, effects of disorder, symmetry of the order parameter and the Ginzburg-Landau theory, magnetic properties of superconductors, macroscopic phase coherence phenomena, quasiparticle excitations in superconductors: thermal and optical properties; unconventional superconducting materials: HTSC, heavy fermions, organic superconductors.

Optical Properties of Solids
Measurement techniques; reflectivity, the dielectric function and the optical conductivity; Lorentz-Drude oscillator model; Kramers-Kronig transformations and sum rules; properties of metals, insulators and superconductors.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
Density matrix formulation of NMR theory; spectroscopy of simple spin systems and spin-dependent interactions, relaxation theory; spin temperature; dipolar broadening in solids; NMR of soft condensed matter systems; practical aspects of high-fidelity solid-state NMR; NMR spectrometer design; NMR imaging and microscopy.
Prerequisite: PHYS 5P50
Note: a strong background in quantum mechanics will be expected.

Graduate Seminar
Independent study and presentation of major research papers in the area of specialization. A list of up to five papers is assigned by the supervisory committee and the student presentations are both in written and seminar form. Each student is required to attend and participate in all seminars given by students registered in the course. Students selecting this course must complete it in the first or second semester of graduate program.