I've already searched the forum, and didn't really learn much. Just looking for others with similar experiences/thoughts that can advise on the matter.
My story: BS Physics (2006), Masters Biomedical Engineering (no thesis 2009). Didn't do a thesis in BME because I didn't feel too strongly about anything going on-- at a "very good school". I recently did contract work where I got back to my Physics roots and just loved it way way more than BME (or probably any other E)-- hence the decision to go back for a PhD.
What I want to know is: what are the good Condensed Matter programs at schools with industry "ties"...in the Southern half of the US? Meaning, a school with a lot of industry in the area e.g. semiconductor. Even more than Condensed Matter, I'd specifically like to do Surface Science.
For what it's worth, I'm not dead set on going into industry but I do want options since professorships are rare (and I'm kind of old relatively). I'm a pragmatist. If I don't get to work on spintronics or other fanciful awesome things, that's fine.
I've made a list which includes the obvious places like Colorado (NIST), etc. What I'd really like to know about are the not so obvious places. Thanks