Applied physics

From ArticleWorld

Applied physics refers to that branch of physics that is meant for use in technology-driven areas. This is in contrast with pure physics, which focuses on fundamental research. Applied physics is based on the fundamentals that are established by the deep study of physics, and concentrates on solving the problems faced by technologists and how to effectively use these fundamentals in practical systems.

Applied physics typically involves activities in areas of physics which include the following upcoming areas:

  1. Study of condensed-matter
  2. Laser and quantum electronics
  3. Fiber optics
  4. Free electron physics
  5. Semiconductor physics
  6. Astrophysics
  7. Vacuum tunneling
  8. Nondestructive testing
  9. Acoustics

It often becomes necessary to integrate the study of applied physics with other allied disciplines such as electrical engineering, engineering material science, inorganic and organic chemistry and biology.

Condensed-matter physics − Forerunner to major research breakthroughs

Condensed-matter physics, one of the important fields of applied physics, is the study of crystalline solids, liquids, supercooled liquids like glass, amorphous materials like ceramics and polymer compounds. The study of such materials has made possible revolutionary breakthroughs in a number of engineering fields. Research in this exciting field began in the 20th century and has seen the discovery of various phenomena such as X-ray diffraction in crystals, the discovery of superconductivity and the development of semiconductor physics.

Transistors, semiconductor-based lasers and fiber-optic communication devices are among the various products that have appeared on the engineering scene as a result of research in condensed-matter physics.

Applied physics in the 21st century

Rapid research is being carried out in upcoming areas of applied physics like fiber optic communication technology, semiconductors, superconductivity and acoustic science.

For instance, this should ensure that levitating trains and superfast computer processors soon become a reality. The study of nondestructive testing of engineering materials has made it possible for engineers to test heavy engineering structures without having to cause any damage or loss. Polymer technology has made possible ultra-light, bullet-proof uniforms for soldiers in action, as also lightweight aircraft parts.