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Undergraduate and Graduate Studies
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 ultrafast 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

to support the Department of Physics
with a donation to UC Merced

Conference for Undergrad Women in Physics
@ UC Merced (Jan 21-23, 2022)
Click for info ☞



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

Microfabricating active flows

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, graduate student Dmitrius Khaladj and professor Linda Hirst and collaborators, show that active fluids can be controlled with microfabrication...

Using entropy to cross barriers

Writing in Nature MicrobiologyProf. Ajay Gopinathan and collaborators show that entropic forces alone can transport proteins to the outer surface of bacteria.....

Quantum simulators gain high fidelity
Writing in the NPJ Quantum Information (a journal of  the Nature publishing group), Prof. Lin Tian, graduate student Prabin Parajuli and collaborators developed... 

Increasing the effectiveness of active learning using deliberate practice
Writing in the Physical Review Physics Education Research,  Kristina Callaghan and colleagues show how active learning can be enhanced through homework...

Spontaneous twisted double helices in liquid crystals
Writing in Soft Matter, Daniel Beller and collaborators show that twisted double-helix configurations can arise spontaneously...

Bacteria can propel themselves while stuck together
Writing in Communications Biology (Nature Publishing Group),  Yu Zheng and Bin Liu show that aggregating bacteria can use their flagella to propel and roll themseleves...

News Highlights

August 3, 2021

With her students spread to the four winds by COVID-19, a UC Merced professor discovered she could build engagement in a virtual classroom with cardboard, painter’s tape and a child’s toy. For the...

June 17, 2021

When physics graduate student William Delmas made samples of solar energy harvesting perovskite films two years ago, he had no idea that this summer, he’d be analyzing those same samples after they...

May 11, 2021

The graduating class of Physics seniors this year have won several accolades and scaled some new heights. Please join us, the faculty, staff and students of the Physics department at UC Merced, in...

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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.

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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.

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Apply Now

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

Celebrating diversity

The second-largest program within the School of Natural Sciences, our graduate group celebrates diversity. Seven of the 20 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.