Ali Yazdani

Princeton University, EPiQS Experimental Investigator


Developing and applying atomic scale microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to directly visualize electronic wavefunctions in topological and correlated quantum materials.

Ali Yazdani

Research Description

My research seeks to understand how new quantum phenomena can emerge from the topology of electronic wavefunctions or correlations arising from electron-electron interactions. My group specializes in the development and application of atomic-scale microscopy and spectroscopy to visualize and characterize the nature of such correlated and topological quantum states with high spatial and energy resolution. Our studies have provided unique atomic-resolution data that has enabled validation or constraint of theoretical models for a variety of topological and correlated phenomena in materials.

For instance, in the study of topological phases, emergent Majorana fermions – particles proposed by Ettore Majorana in 1937, that have the unusual property of being its own antiparticle – are predicted to localize at the edge of a topological superconductor, a state of matter that can form when a ferromagnetic system is placed in proximity to a conventional superconductor with strong spin-orbit interaction. In 2014, my group demonstrated how topological superconductivity and Majorana zero modes (MZMs) emerge in chains of ferromagnetic iron atoms on the surface of a superconducting lead. Our group and collaborators developed specialized instrumentation to enable the application of high-resolution spectroscopic mapping with the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to directly visualize MZMs as the edge-mode excitation of a one-dimensional topological superconductor. Furthermore, we were able to exploit novel spectroscopic techniques with superconducting and spin-polarized STM tips to unequivocally distinguish MZMs from trivial low-energy excitations that may occur in superconductors. Most recently, my group has been working on developing novel atomic-scale imaging instrumentation to explore correlated, superconducting and topological insulating phases in two-dimensional van der Waals materials.


related links

Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Back


B.A., in Physics, University of California, Berkeley

M.S, in Applied Physics, Stanford University

Ph.D., in Physics, Stanford University

Affiliated Investigators