• Research
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Condensed Matter Theory

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted the fingerprint of an elusive particle: The axion—first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics. Based on predictions from Illinois Physics Professor Barry Bradlyn and Princeton Physics Professor Andrei Bernevig's group, the group of Chemical Physics Professor Claudia Felser at Max Planck in Dresden produced the charge density wave Weyl metalloid (TaSe4)2I and investigated the electrical conduction in this material under the influence of electric and magnetic fields. It was found that the electric current in this material below -11 °C is actually carried by axion particles.

  • Alumni News

Illinois Physics alumna Melisa Napoles chose her physics education to stand out from her peers. And then she designed her own track within her undergraduate program, building it on the experiences she most enjoyed along the way. Now she loves her job in the tech industry.

  • Research
  • Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
  • Quantum Information Science

A key resource to advance research in quantum information science would be a source that could efficiently and reliably produce single photons. However, because quantum processes are inherently random, creating a photon source that produces single photons on demand presents a challenge at every step.

Now University of Illinois Physics Professor Paul Kwiat and his former postdoctoral researcher Fumihiro Kaneda (now an assistant professor at Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences at Tohoku University) have built what Kwiat believes is “the world’s most efficient single-photon source.” And they are still improving it. With planned upgrades, the apparatus could generate upwards of 30 photons at unprecedented efficiencies. Sources of that caliber are precisely what’s needed for optical quantum information applications.

  • Accolades

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Assistant Professors Julia "Jessie" Shelton and Peter Adshead have been named W. Dale and Jeanne C. Compton Fellows in Physics. This faculty appointment supports outstanding research and high scholarly productivity of early-career physicists at Illinois Physics. 

Shelton and Adshead are the department’s inaugural class of Compton Fellows. The faculty will retain the title designation for as long as they hold faculty appointments at Illinois Physics. This named appointment comes with a one-time spending allowance to support ongoing research.

  • Outreach
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Student Groups
  • Student News

Advocating for diversity and equity in STEM, supporting student voice and ownership, fostering supportive learning communities, promoting authentic science practices, and encouraging professional development all fall under the Access Network’s mission. This summer from June 7 to June 9, 2019, members of Illinois Guidance for Physics Students (Illinois GPS) hosted eight other student-formed university-based organizations, which together make up the Access Network—a coalition of student-centered and student-initiated groups that work on broad inclusivity initiatives while supporting local goals.

donor stories

Alumnus gift continues legacy of excellence at Illinois Physics

“We deeply appreciate Gary Kelly’s generosity and his investment in our department’s core missions of research, teaching, and outreach,” comments Head of Department and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp. “Unrestricted funds such as these are applied where they will make the greatest impact. Through his generosity, Gary Kelly’s legacy at Illinois will include his support of important new opportunities directly in line with our core missions. A large portion of Gary’s gift will support the research of exceptional women faculty early in their careers, enabling Illinois Physics to attract and retain promising women physicists.”

Engineering Visionary Scholarships

$25 Million

Now through the end of 2019, The Grainger Foundation will match all donations made to the College's Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative.

Learn more

Watch the Center for the Physics of Living Cells video

Watch the Center for the Physics of Living Cells video

The Center for the Physics of Living Cells is an NSF Physics Frontiers Center. In true "Urbana style," theoretical and experimental scientists collaborating at the CPLC are elucidating the fundamental processes at the core of life in quantitative physical detail.  The CPLC Summer School is world renowned for its training of young scientists in leading-edge research methods, advancing this interdisciplinary physics frontier.

Why choose Illinois Physics? Here's a video!

Why choose Illinois Physics? Here's a video!

Are you ready to study the glow of black holes? Or how superconductors can carry electricity without resistance? Physics opens the secrets of the universe. Illinois has a long tradition of excellence in physics, and we continue to advance the frontiers of science every day. Watch the video!


Why do water molecules need an impurity to form crystals (or freeze) ? I get that it does need an impurity to start the process of forming the first crystal and that all the other crystals follow to form afterwards, but why is this impurity needed? I mean what does it do to the molecules of water? And can water molecules form without this impurity?