The Novel Materials and Ground States Group

Crystallized magnetic compoundWelcome to our web page, where you may learn about who we are and what we do as part of the Condensed Matter Physics Group of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University and of the Division of Material Science and Engineering at Ames Laboratory (a U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility). Our group of faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students is mostly dedicated to the design, discovery, growth and characterization of novel electronic and magnetic compounds - often in single crystal form - and the study of their interesting physical properties.

Our General Interest Articles:

Physics Today - October 1998

Physics Today - October 1998
"New Magnetic Superconductors: A Toy Box for Solid-State Physicists"

Nature Physics - 2008
"Fishing the Fermi Sea"

Reports on Progress in Physics - 2020
"New Materials Physics"

Physics World - January 2002Physics World - January 2002 Cover
"Magnesium Diboride: one year on"

Nature Physics - 2009
"A Cook's Tale "

Physics Today - March 2003 CoverPhysics Today - March 2003
"Magnesium Diboride: Better Late than Never"

APL Materials - 2015
"The Hash House Harriers and the Winding Path to Materials Discovery"

MgB2 Cover PhotoScientific American - April 2005
"Low Temperature Superconductivity Is Warming Up"
(German) (Chinese) (Spanish) (Japanese) (Italian) (Russian) (Korean) (Arabic)

Reports on Progress in Physics - 2016
"Preserved Entropy and Fragile Magnetism"

Recent research interests (in no particular order):

  1. Correlated Electron Systems: Compounds such as PrInAg2, Ce3Bi4Pt3, YbBiPt, YbNi2B2C, Yb14MnSb11, YbNi2Ge2, CeNi2Ge2, YbAgGe, YbPtIn, YbT2Zn20, CeT2Zn20 (T = transition metal) in which conduction band electrons interact strongly with each other and with local magnetic moments.
  2. Borocarbide Superconductors: Discovered in 1994, these compounds with general formula RNi2B2C, where R is a Rare Earth Element, display a rich variety of physical phenomena, including the coexistence of magnetic ordering and superconductivity. See the review article above.
  3. Magnesium Diboride: Discovered in January 2001, the superconductor MgB2 holds the record TC~40 K among all binary compounds, and has been subject of intense academic and applied research. Also see the review articles above.
  4. Quasicrystals: Certain compounds in the Al-Ga-Pd-Mn, Al-Ni-Co, R-Mg-Zn and RCd6 (R = Rare Earth element) systems can be grown in a well organized but non-periodic single grain structure, and consequently display unusual physical properties compared to true crystalline lattices.
  5. Metallic Spin-Glass Systems: Compounds such as (Gd1-xYbx)Ni2B2C, (Y1-xTbx)Ni2Ge2 and R3Mg51Zn46 (R = Rare Earth element) which are candidate model systems for testing spin-glass theories.
  6. Metamagnetic Systems: Compounds such as TbPtIn, TbNi2Ge2, DyAgSb2, HoNi2B2C, featuring rich magnetic phase diagrams with many possible arrangements of the antiferromagnetically ordered moments.
  7. Other Intermetallic Systems: Compounds such as RAgGe, RFe2Ge2RCo2Ge2RNi2Ge2RAgSb2RSb2RAgBi2RCo2RAl2RPtIn (R = Rare Earth element), and any other system with novel, interesting or unusual ground states, or whose physical properties have not yet been well established.
  8. Fe-As superconductors: Compounds such as RFeAs(O1-xFx), pure and doped AFe2As2 (R = Rare Earth element, A = Ca, Sr, Ba), featuring superconductivity at temperatures in excess of 50 K.


  1. PSQM-2025 International Workshop: Three days Workshop "Experimental Advances in the Use of Pressure and Strain to Probe and Control Quantum Matter" will be held in Ames, May 21-23 2025. Link
  2. PSQM-2022 International Workshop: Three days Workshop "Experimental Advances in the Use of Pressure and Strain to Probe and Control Quantum Matter" was held in Ames, May 11-13 2022. Link
  3. 25th Anniversary Workshop: Three days Workshop "Synthesis and Exotic Physics of Novel Quantum Materials" was held in Ames, August 1-3 2018. Workshop photo


  1. Gourmet Cooking: This a natural extension of the group's interest in synthesis and studies of complex materials. Click here to see some of our favorite recipes (pdf).
  2. Suggested Reading: Subjective, personal and constantly changing "must-read" list (pdf) compiled by the members of the group (limited to the English language publications).
  3. GoodiesFive Motivations (pdf) ; Periodic Table (pdf)"Rhinestone Cowboys" by Diana Lutz (pdf)
  4. Joe Thompson's FestPhotos
  5. CMP as seen by Prof. Paul C. Canfield. (So-Close Project) link
  6. CMP: So Close and Such a Stranger English Español
  7. Paul Canfield reads his limericks. link
  8. High Impact Factor Syndrome. link SF Declaration on Research Assessment. link
  9. Phys 590B Special Topics Condensed Matter Physics - Experimental Methods: Click here for syllabus and lecture presentations