Research Interests

The Zhang Research Group addresses fundamental condensed matter physics through first-principles calculations, simulations, modeling, and machine learning. Our research covers structural and electronic properties of a wide range of materials ranging from crystalline and amorphous semiconductors, metals, surfaces, interfaces, nanostructures, to defects in semiconductors. Recent examples include (i) prediction and realization of emerging unconventional bulk semiconductors such as ABX3 chalcogenides; (ii) prediction of topological physics beyond the spin-orbit coupling in carbon frameworks; (iii) real-time carrier dynamics in ultrafast phase change memory materials, in two-dimensional (2D) heterostructures, and in photcatalysis; (iv) theories of charged defects in 2D semiconductors and the formation of defects under non-equilibrium growth conditions; (v) prediction of novel 2D layered structures of ordinary semiconductors; (vi) dark excitons in 2D materials and the prediction of spontaneous formation of excitonic insulators, and (vii) the fundamental electrostatic theory of infinitely-large periodic solids, which lays a corner stone for interfacial sciences. The group is led by Shengbai Zhang, Professor in Physics and Senior Chair of the Kodosky Constellation in Physics, Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.