Skip to content Skip to navigation
Designing novel materials
Designing Novel Materials
Plasmonics, displays, superlenses, electromagnetic and acoustic cloaking, and superconductivity
Physics of life
Exploring the Physics of Life
From protein machines to bacterial division and propulsion
Physics faculty and students
Controlling Light and Matter
Advancing fundamental and applied quantum information and quantum computing, understanding gravity and developing ultra fast lasers
B1 phase
Soft Matter
Understanding the complex physics of fluids, polymers, liquid crystals, statistical and nonlinear systems
Professor Roland Winston and students
Harnessing the Sun
Fundamental research into next generation solar energy materials and technology

Centers and Institutes

CCBM: Center for Cellular and Biomolecular MachinesMACES: Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and SensingHSRI: Health Sciences Research InstituteUC Solar: UC Advanced Solar Technologies Institute


Research Highlights

Triangles of Quantum Dots Create Controllable Current Circulation
Chih-Chun Chien, Michael Scheibner, and collaborators have discovered a simple setup...

Even in classical diffusive motion, topologically protected edge modes can be found
Kinjal Dasbiswas and collaborators find some surprising connections with topological band theory...

Frustration and Compromise in Flocking Cells Produce New Migration Patterns
A novel finding about migrating cells detailed in a new paper by Ajay Gopinathan and his colleagues...

Study: Quantum Vibrations Could Help Detect Nuclear Threats
National security and a beautifully resonant violin have found a surprising link

News Highlights

A women in a blue lab coat wearing a blue latex glove holds a microscope slide up to the camera.
February 25, 2019
Physics graduate student Sheida Riahinasab and physics Professor Linda Hirst are patenting a simple method for producing hollow, nanoscale structures that may one day be used for sensing, energy and...
November 13, 2018

Imagine exploring the cores of stars to understand — and ultimately control — the type of fusion that’s taking place. High-energy density (HED) science is the study of properties and behavior of...

October 11, 2018

UC Merced is part of a concerted effort to dramatically increase diversity in physics and astronomy over the next five years. The campus is one of nine University of California campuses and 15...

Subscribe to Department of Physics RSS

Welcome to Physics at UC Merced

Access to World Class Resources
As the 10th campus of the University of California, UC Merced draws on the outstanding resources of the UC system, a world renowned center for research and education. The research groups in this graduate group have access to major facilities, such as state of the art laser systems, an electron microscopy facility, a nanofabrication facility and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy on campus. Other large facilities, such as synchrotron light sources, located at Stanford University and UC Berkeley labs, are within two hours of driving distances. Students also have access to the extensive library holdings and journal subscriptions of the UC system.

Celebrating diversity

The second-largest program within the School of Natural Sciences, our graduate group celebrates diversity. Five of the 17 faculty members are women and 43 percent of our students are either underrepresented minorities or women, which makes our group among the most diverse in the country.

Research-focused undergraduate education

Undergraduate students at UC Merced have a rare opportunity to take part in scientific research with world-renowned research groups in cutting-edge fields such as atomic, molecular & optical (AMO) physics, biological & soft matter physics, condensed matter & nanoscale physics, and solar & energy sciences. During the senior year all students work closely with a faculty advisor to design and carry out a research project, with many starting their research work in earlier years.


Our active, diverse group of faculty is enthusiastic, driven and invested in student success. Our team is large enough to offer rigorous and comprehensive training but small enough that students receive a lot of personal attention.

Interdisciplinary Research

UC Merced's academic structure and physical proximity make collaborative opportunities with other research groups the rule rather than the exception.

Read more

Apply Now

If you're ready for a physics program that combines exciting research topics with close faculty interaction, why wait? Apply today.