Electrons in a crystal can self-organize in many ways, leading to a range of different macroscopic properties like metallicity and magnetism. By tuning the chemical composition of a crystal, subjecting it to static electric and magnetic fields, or by mechanically deforming its structure, it is possible to induce a transformation from one type of organization to another.
David Hsieh’s research will test the theoretical prediction that fundamentally new types of organization can emerge when a crystal is perturbed in a dynamic rather than static manner, potentially realizing unprecedented electrical and magnetic properties. Dr. Hsieh’s research team is developing new experimental methods to generate fast time-varying electric field profiles and to probe how they transiently affect electrons in crystals on sub-nanosecond timescales. Particular attention will be paid to the case where a periodically oscillating electric field rapidly switches on or off, which is an intensively studied theoretical model.
Dr. Hsieh’s research will advance our fundamental understanding of how systems of many electrons evolve in both space and time under the laws of quantum mechanics. A new class of “dynamically driven” materials, exhibiting previously unattainable electrical and magnetic properties that are controlled on-demand with light, will potentially be discovered. Possible applications range from low-power electronics to high-speed optical and quantum computing.
Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative
California Institute of Technology, Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy