Solid state research is a combination of chemistry, physics, crystallography and engineering that aims at synthesis, design and evolution of solid functional materials with extended structures and interesting chemical or physical properties. As systems, this includes ceramics, heterogeneous catalysts, electrode and battery materials, semi- and superconductors, photocatalysts, sensors, pigments, luminescent substances and much more. Recently, especially materials for better energy efficiency are amongst the most investigated systems. Also, the question of resources and renewables has become prominent for materials research.
Solid materials are often inorganic chemicals (like oxides, silicates, halides, borides, intermetallics), but the methods and models that are used for characterization, analysis and description of the substances come from physical chemistry, physics or crystallography. Synthetic methods include molecular and ceramic routes. An increasing role must be attributed to theory both for prediction and understanding as well as for modelling and tuning of materials