Dietrich Belitz conducts theoretical research at the boundary between statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics. His principal interest has been focussed on quantum many-body problems, including superconductivity, magnetism, transport processes, and quantum phase transitions, in particular metal-insulator transitions and magnetic transitions.
Quantum phase transitions take place at zero temperature as some non-thermal control parameter is varied. Prominent examples are the ferromagnetic transition of itinerant electrons at low temperature as a function of pressure, or the metal-insulator transition in doped semiconductors as a function of the dopant concentration. While the concepts developed for thermal phase transitions, such as scaling and universality, and the general apparatus of the renormalization group, still apply, the detailed behavior in the vicinity of quantum phase transitions has proven to be rather complex and hard to understand. Two thrusts of Belitz's research have been work on the Anderson-Mott metal-insulator transition that occurs in disordered systems of interacting electrons, and an investigation of the quantum ferromagnetic transition. Belitz maintains a close collaboration with Ted Kirkpatrick at the University of Maryland's IPST .