Research in the area of condensed-matter physics has a long tradition at ETH Zurich.
Outstanding examples of early research on condensed-matter systems include the experimental research on the specific heat of solids by Heinrich Friedrich Weber (1875-1912), on ferromagnetism by Pierre Weiss (1902-1919), on dielectrics by Peter Debye (1920-1927), and on ferroelectricity by Paul Scherrer (1920-1960), all carried out at the former Institute of Physics of the ETH (Eidgenössisches Polytechnikum Zürich at that time).
The Laboratory for Solid State Physics was founded in 1956 as an independent institute. Over many years the LFKP hosted five chairs, all engaged in experimental research.
Within the past decade, the Laboratory has seen a considerable growth by attracting six new colleagues at the full-professor level (Gabriel Aeppli, Joel Mesot, Andreas Vaterlaus, Andreas Wallraff, Werner Wegscheider, Andrey Zheludev) and one assistant professor (Christian Degen). Presently two titular professors (Leonardo Degiorgi, Thomas Ihn) complement the institute faculty. The Institute head and his or her deputy are elected for two years by the Institute Council consisting of the professors and representatives of the students, postdocs, and technical personnel. An Institute Secretary is responsible for the administrative duties concerning the entire Institute.