The major fields covered in the Engineering Physics programme at IITB are as follows:
High Energy Physics
High Energy Physics (HEP) is the study of some of the most basic questions about the existence of our universe: the nature of the elementary constituents of matter and energy, and the interactions between them. We have courses related to both theoretical and experimental aspects of HEP. Theory in HEP involves concepts in nuclear and particle physics with applications of Quantum Mechanics. The experimental part of HEP involves designing and building experiments to detect and identify particles through particle detectors and accelerators. Analysis of data from particle physics experiments also forms a large part of Experimental HEP. The discovery of the Higgs Boson by the LHC at CERN is a perfect example of a combination of theory and experiment in HEP. Many of the professors at IIT-B are collaborators at places like CERN and Fermilab and are involved in some of the world’s largest and most famous experiments.
Condensed Matter Physics
Matter exists in many fascinating forms. Metals, insulators, semiconductors, ferromagnets to name a few common ones and superconductors, topological insulators to name a few exotic ones. Condensed matter physics (CMP) is the study of various such forms of matter. The department runs various courses on introductory condensed matter physics, statistical physics and quantum mechanics to introduce students to the field. Experimental condensed matter physics deals with experiments on matter to look for new behaviour and then to explain it. Condensed matter physics is also used extensively in the electronic device industry.
At IIT-B, we have strong ongoing research in both theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics. Our department has several well equipped labs for experimental CMP. For those interested in the physics aspect of the semiconductor and electronic industry, we work on electron transport in novel materials (Graphene, thin films), from quantum dots, wires and wells to electron spin dynamics in solid state systems like defects in diamond and Silicon. We have the Center for Excellence in Nanoelectronics (CEN) as a central facility at IIT-B, which is one of the best nanofabrication facilities in India.
Biophysics and Non Linear Dynamics
Soft condensed matter physics has a large overlap with the exciting new field of biophysics, with the goal being to understand universal behaviour shared by all similar systems, using techniques drawn from the physical disciplines of statistical and continuum mechanics. This includes the study of membranes, polymers and various other complex biological systems. Some professors also work collaboratively with the Biosciences and Bioengineering department of the institute.
Non-linear dynamics studies the time evolution of more complex systems where we go beyond the basic first order term. It is used to model non linear dependencies, and these can give surprisingly chaotic or counterintuitive results. It has applications not just in biological physics but also in research areas as diverse as turbulence, population dynamics and finance.
Optics and Photonics
Optics, as the name suggests, deals with study of light. It answers the questions about nature and behaviour of light in various environments and mediums. Photonics is a relatively recent branch of optics which came into being after Laser was invented. In photonics we deal with optical phenomena occurring due to interaction of light with various forms of matter. This leads to many interesting and beautiful phenomena and a great range of applications like fiber-optics, optoelectronics, optical switching etc. It also deals with metamaterials which can lead to revolutionary applications like an invisibility cloak!
At IIT-B we have dedicated labs with advanced lasers for experiments in photonics, with intense research being done in theoretical and experimental aspects of both optics and photonics.
Quantum Information and Computing
The field of quantum information and computing is all about leveraging the quantum nature of the world for efficient computation. Moving away from classical Boolean logic which runs the computing industry today, quantum computing introduces quantum analogs, qubit and quantum gates in its essence. Theoretical proposals for quantum algorithms which can be exponentially faster that their classical counterparts for certain problems such as integer factorization have brought this field to prominence in the last 30 years.
At IIT-B, theoretical research is directed towards quantum thermodynamics and understanding the interplay between entanglement and heat of nanoscale devices such as qubits. On the experimental side, research is on building qubits in semiconductor quantum dots and nanowires.
Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravity
Astrophysics in itself is a vast field, dealing with the physics and evolution of extraterrestrial objects, ranging from planets and asteroids in our solar system to stars and planetary systems in galaxies light years away. Data from various ground and space based telescopes enables us to make surprisingly accurate predictions about these objects. Cosmology is a field combining the mystery of astrophysics and the rigour of mathematics to investigate the evolution of the universe to its current state, comprising of visible matter, light, dark matter and dark energy. Gravitational waves is a new and extremely useful probe into unveiling the mysteries of our universe.
At IIT-B, research in astrophysics is focussed on time domain astronomy : identifying and understanding astronomical objects that brighten up for a short time, such as supernovae and gamma ray bursts. Cosmology research deals with the distribution and interactions of dark matter in the universe. Gravitational waves are also studied at IIT-B, which is home to a LIGO scientist.
Visit here for more extensive descriptions : http://www.phy.iitb.ac.in/en/research