Research in the department is focused on quantum-mechanical calculations of properties of metals, semiconductors, and materials with strong electron correlations. We investigate the properties in equilibrium as well as in strong electromagnetic fields. The goal is to guide functionalization of new materials for applications in spintronics, in information storage, as strong magnets, or as energy materials.
To optimize a material for a particular application, it is first necessary to understand all relevant properties of the material. We investigate microscopic origin of properties of condensed matter and we study processes occurring in condensed matter, both near the thermal equilibrium and far from it. Most of the topics investigated in the department revolve around the electronic structure of crystalline solids or are related to quantum liquids (such as the electron liquid in metals), with emphasis on magnetism and transport properties.
The research is carried out using advanced theoretical methods. Primarily, they are quantum-mechanical (ab initio) calculations of the electronic structure of real compounds, complemented with detailed analysis of simplified models constructed to explain selected properties of these compounds or elucidate processes taking place in them. In today’s technological applications, the materials are often subject to so strong fields or are operated so far from equilibrium that their description requires entirely new analytical and numerical methods. We devote a great effort to the development of such methods.
Our research is frequently done in collaboration with experimenters or is motivated by experimental findings. We work together with experimental groups from other departments within the Institute as well as with researchers from other institutions in the Czech Republic and abroad. Members of the department also participate in teaching at the Charles University and supervise doctoral students.