Zettl group

Zettl group

Research Area: Condensed Matter Physics And Materials Science

Group Description

The Zettl research group conducts experiments in solid state physics in the Birge-LeConte complex on the campus of UC Berkeley and at the adjacent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In general we are interested in the electronic, magnetic, and structural properties of novel materials.

In the recent past we have investigated transport in low-dimensional systems such as charge density wave and spin density wave conductors (both organic and inorganic), intercalation and isotope effects in layered oxide superconductors, chaotic response of nonlinear systems, and scanning tunneling microscopy of modulated electronic density of state domain structures. Our present research interest concerns materials with unusual electronic and magnetic ground states, such as superconducting doped fullerenes and polymerized fullerenes, giant magnetoresistance oxides, high temperature superconductors, and carbon and non-carbon nanotubes. We also have constructed a cryogenic UHV high magnetic field atomic-manipulation scanning tunneling microscope for the investigation of novel nanostructures.

Most of the materials we explore are produced in-house in our own materials synthesis laboratories. We make use of both conventional and unique synthesis techniques, including vapor transport, thin film sputtering, laser ablation, electrochemical growth, non-equilibrium hot plasma growth, intercalation, organic chemistry, and isotope substitution.

We use a variety of experimental techniques to characterize these materials. The primary goal is to explore and understand the rich underlying physics. Our characterization methods include both well-established methods such as x-ray diffraction, TEM/SEM, tunneling spectroscopy, general transport (Hall effect, electrical and thermal conductivity, thermopower, magnetotransport), magnetization, and ac conductivity, and novel or tailored methods developed in our laboratory including low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy, velocity of sound, isotope effects, superlattices transport, high pressure transport (to 1Mbar), and pulsed transient response. For recent publications, see the Zettl group publication list.

Typical graduate student research projects may be independent efforts or involve collaborations between various students in the group or with other research groups at Berkeley or elsewhere. On average, about one or two new graduate students and one postdoctoral researcher join the group each year. The laboratory is always open to visiting faculty, undergraduate/graduate students, and postdoctorals. Interested parties should contact Alex Zettl.

Faculty Members


  • Gabriel Dunn
  • Onur Ergen
  • S. Matthew Gilbert
  • Seita Onishi