My research interests include exploring emergent topological phenomena in correlated electron systems, and the development of locally resolved probes of electronic structure and electron dynamics. My group has made pioneering contributions in the field of two-dimensional layered materials, called van der Waals heterostructures, including the invention of fabrication techniques for producing heterostructures of exceptionally high quality. These have allowed rapid discovery of subtle electronic phases usually obscured by sample disorder and led to the burgeoning of the field. Van der Waals heterostructures provide a unique platform to realize new electronic structures and my group uses them to realize, probe, and functionalize new phases of quantum matter. Currently, we are interested in the interplay between symmetry, topology, and correlations in these materials, both in equilibrium ground states and with strong electromagnetic drive.
Among our targets are using van der Waals heterostructures to engineer topologically ordered states of matter, in which interparticle interactions lead to the emergence of collective excitations endowed with unconventional quantum statistics. We hope to leverage sensitive instrumentation with exquisite thermal and magnetic sensitivity, implemented in new regimes of temperature and magnetic fields, to probe the most basic properties of these states down to the single-particle level. These plans extend to the time-resolved regime, where a major challenge is the difficulty of applying terahertz spectroscopy, which has the necessary energy resolution, to van der Waals heterostructures, which are far below the diffraction limit at these wavelengths. To this end, we are developing a scanning THz time-domain spectrometer capable of detecting dynamical conductivity in van der Waals heterostructures. Projected applications include direct measurements of the superconducting gap in two-dimensional superconductors where Meissner effects are not detectable.
Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems
University of California, Santa Barbara Department of Physics