The search for new materials with interesting physical properties is a wide-open and exciting domain of condensed matter physics.
Nature has found innumerable ways to arrange atoms and molecules into structures that have fascinating emergent properties. An example is multi-ferroic materials that have simultaneous ferroelectric and ferromagnetic ordering. Such materials have magnetization that can be controlled by electric fields, and dielectric properties that can be influenced by magnetic fields.
The discovery and development of advanced materials like this is one of the chief objectives of CNAM. Many CNAM scientists are involved in a very active NSF-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) here at the University of Maryland. This Center explores the basic physics, materials physics, and applications of novel materials, including properties of materials at the nano-scale.