The Department of Physics - which is part of the Faculty of Science of the University of Antwerp - focuses on three main goals: Education, Research and Scientific Service to the community and to the industry. Several research groups spread over 2 locations (Campus Groenenborger and Campus Drie Eiken) are the sole base. The curriculum of the bachelor and master programmes in physics are closely related to the research interests of the individual groups. A good example is the new (since 2011-2012) English Master programme in Physics which highlights the exciting phenomena occurring at the nanometer scale level.
One of the nine focus points of the University of Antwerp for research funding (that can also act as a connector point for collaboration with industry) is summarized under the title 'Material Characterization'. The research carried out in this key research domain deals with material characterization (electron microscopy, X-ray spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy); theory, modeling and simulation (Monte Carlo, molecular dynamics, density functional theory, finite difference/element); image processing and analysis (corrosion analysis, crystal characterization). The following types of materials are studied: nanomaterials/nanoparticles, (meso)porous inorganic materials, inorganic thin films, alloys, semiconductors, superconductors, colloids and plasmas. Major highlight is the installation of the QU-Ant-EM : FEI Titan 50 – 80, the most powerful electron microscope in Europe, a unique instrument for atomic resolution measurements.
The Academic Government encourages different teams working on various research topics to bundle their strengths. This way research groups reach a minimal critical mass, knowledge is shared amongst scientist in different fields, the scientific outcome becomes more widely visible, grants are more accessible, both internal and external financing goes up, and at the end research excellence is reached. Two research groups of the department of physics - 'Condensed Matter Theory' and 'Electron Microscopy for Materials Science' - work together with the Plasma, Laser Ablation & Surface Modelling group of the department of Chemistry to form the Nano Centre Of Excellence.