Prof Nicol's general area of research is theoretical condensed matter physics and quantum materials. She is currently working in the two areas of superconductivity and graphene-based materials.
Her own work has centered around calculating various experimental properties in order to test theories for the various manifestations of superconductivity occurring in newer materials. One of their groups highlights was to propose a new experimental probe [angle-resolved specific heat (ARSH)] for determining the symmetry of the order parameter in exotic superconductors. This is done via measurements of the specific heat in rotated magnetic field. This proposal has been implemented by several groups in the U.S.A., the U.K. and Japan and has been shown to be successful in many materials. Identifying the symmetry of of the order parameter is felt to be key to identifying the mechanism of the superconductivity which in turn may lead to the discovery of new superconductors.
Additionally, her research has been on the topic of calculating the optical properties of monolayer and bilayer graphene which is important both for technological applications and also for understanding the unusual quantum physics seen in this material.