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Condensed Matter Seminar

Our condensed matter seminars are held on Tuesdays at 3:30pm in Chemistry-Physics Building, Room 179, unless otherwise noted below. A number of the department colloquium may also be of interest.

Magnetic properties of orbital Chern insulators

Chern insulator ferromagnets are a fascinating area of research in condensed matter physics. These materials exhibit a quantized anomalous Hall effect, which has been observed experimentally in various systems including magnetically-doped topological insulator (MTI) thin films and bilayer graphene moiré superlattices. Chern insulator ferromagnets are classified into two categories, spin or orbital, based on the origin of their orbital magnetization. In the case of spin Chern insulator (e.g. MTIs), the orbital magnetization arises from spontaneous spin-polarization combined with spin-orbit interactions. In contrast, orbital Chern insulators (e.g. graphene-based moiré superlattices) exhibit spontaneous orbital currents that give rise to the orbital magnetization. Understanding the differences between these two types of Chern insulators is crucial for developing new materials with interesting properties. In this talk, I will emphasise the curious magnetic properties of orbital Chern insulator using magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene as an example.


Correlated phases of the two-dimensional electron gas in TMD systems

The two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) is one of the simplest models in condensed matter physics to write down, yet has a rich phase diagram that exhibits a variety of interesting correlated phenomena. At weak coupling the system behaves essentially as a gas, while at strong coupling the system solidifies into the Wigner crystal state. However, there is a broad range of intermediate coupling where the system behaves as a strongly correlated quantum liquid, and in this regime the behavior is still not fully understood. I will discuss how 2D transitional-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) systems promise to be a fruitful platform for interrogating the behavior of the 2DEG at intermediate coupling and will describe experiments demonstrating the existence of Wigner crystal states in these systems, as well as unexpected intermediate phases between the liquid and solid. I will also present new theoretical results that suggest, in contrast to previous reports, the Wigner crystal phase over a broad range of density is likely to be a metallic charge-density wave state, better understood as a "quantum crystal” with a finite concentration of itinerant ground-state defects. 

Chemistry-Physics Bldg. Room 303

Active Learning of Atomistic Surrogate Models for Rare Events

Multiscale modeling methods are typically envisioned as precise and predictive
simulation tools to solve complex science and engineering problems. However, even
conventional atomistic models are often insufficient in terms of computational efficiency
and accuracy to provide reliable information for the large-scale continuum models. In this
seminar, I will focus on method developments aimed at overcoming these critical
At the beginning of the talk, I will introduce how atomic models can help us understand
the experimental observation of crystal growth in 2D materials using empirical reactive
forcefield (FF). Although atomistic models can provide useful insight at the atomic scale,
developing reliable FFs is extremely limited due to the fixed potential expressions.
Recently, neural network (NN) potentials (or surrogate models) have emerged as a way to
overcome the long-standing limitations of empirical potentials.
I will present recent developments that integrate ab-initio level calculation (DFT and
DFTB) and a PyTorch implementation of NN potentials (TorchANI) into the LAMMPS
molecular dynamics software. I will discuss the pros and cons of NN potentials illustrated
by a simple carbon system, graphene. While NN potentials can provide higher accuracy
than other FFs, e.g., ReaxFF and AIREBO, and lower computational cost than quantum
calculations, efficient sampling or data generation arises as a critical issue.
In the end, I will present the ongoing development of active learning capabilities through
LAMMPS and NNPs as an efficient sampling method for rare events. The developed
capabilities will provide useful tools for fundamental understanding of the chemical
process and mechanistic insights into the predictive design and interpretive simulation
of materials properties and processes.

GS Jung is a Research Staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His research interests are
on the multiscale modeling of materials to understand their fundamental properties from
synthesis and growth to performance and failures. Before joining ORNL, he earned his
Ph.D. in multiscale modeling for 2D materials from the Massachusetts Institute of

Chemistry-Physics Bldg. Room 303

Fundamentals of Entangled Probes for Entangled Matter

Advancing the frontiers of science often requires the creation of new probes to uncover the
underlying microscopic mechanisms giving rise to exotic macroscopic phenomena, such as high-
temperature superconductivity. Can quantum entangled probes uncover the inherent
entanglement of the target matter? We have recently [1-3] developed an entangled neutron
beam where individual neutrons can be entangled in spin, trajectory, and energy. To
demonstrate entanglement in these beams we crafted neutron interferometric measurements
of contextuality inequalities whose violation provided an indication of the breakdown of
Einstein's local realism. In turn, the tunable entanglement (spin-echo) length of the neutron
beam from nanometers to microns and energy differences from peV to neV opens a pathway to
a future era of entangled neutron scattering in matter. What kind of information can be
extracted with this novel entangled probe? A recent general quantum many-body entangled-
probe scattering theory [4] provides a framework to respond to this question. Interestingly, by
carefully tuning the probe's entanglement and inherent coherence properties, one can directly
access the intrinsic entanglement of the target material. This theoretical framework supports
the view that our entangled beam can be used as a multipurpose scientific tool. We are
currently [5] pursuing several ideas and developing new spin-textured entangled beams with
OAM for future experiments in candidate quantum spin liquids, unconventional
superconductors, and chiral quantum materials.

[1] J. Shen et. al., Nature Commun. 11, 930 (2020).
[2] S. Lu et. al., Phys. Rev. A 101, 042318 (2020).
[3] S. J. Kuhn et. al., Phys. Rev. Research 3, 023227 (2021).
[4] A. A. Md. Irfan, P. Blackstone, R. Pynn, and G. Ortiz, New J. Phys. 23, 083022 (2021).
[5] Q. Le Thien, S. McKay, R. Pynn, and G. Ortiz, arXiv:2207.12419.

Chemistry-Physics Bldg. Room 179

Topological Gravitational Response: Novel physics, principles and predictions

What physics does one hope to learn by looking closely at exotic quantum states of matter, esoteric to begin with, but even more so on curved surfaces?! In this talk first I will remind the audience why quantum hall states serve as paradigmatic topological quantum states of matter, highlighting their signature property: the quantization of Hall conductance, which is independent of sample-specific details to the extent that it is used for precise measurements of fundamental constants. Tracing the topological origin of this remarkable property, I will motivate by analogy the interplay between the geometry of these states and their response to “gravitational” perturbations, i.e., deformations to the real space manifold they are embedded in — on a cone, for example! This then naturally leads to a discussion of what, if any, universal signatures characterize this response. Finally, some reflections on the broader implications of these excursions, and connections to other branches of physics, including classical soft matter systems.

Short bio:
Dr. Biswas received his PhD from Harvard University, working with Prof. Subir Sachdev on experimentally relevant exotic quantum states of matter.  Prof. Bert Halperin served as mentor. While at Harvard Rudro held several fellowships including the James Mills Pierce Fellowship Award, the Purcell Fellowship and the Harvard Center for Energy and Environment Fellowship. Following postdoctoral research as an Institute of Condensed Matter Theory Fellow at UIUC, Rudro became an Assistant Professor of Physics at Purdue University, where he is currently.


Chemistry-Physics Bldg. Room 179

Transport Studies of Magnetic-Field-Tuned Phase Transitions in Bi-2201

Cuprate high-temperature superconductors feature rich phase diagrams due to the presence of various competing degrees of freedom, inevitable disorder and high anisotropy. In cuprates, the value of the upper critical magnetic field (Hc2) and the role of charge and spin orders have long been under debate. In order to reveal the nature of the quantum phases (T -> 0) and transitions between them, in a varied magnetic field, as well as to investigate the precise interplay of charge order, disorder, and high temperature superconductivity, we perform transport measurements on (1) underdoped Bi2Sr0.16La0.84CuO6+δ, which exhibits short-range charge order, (2) overdoped Bi2.1Sr1.9CuO6+δ and (3) highly overdoped Bi2Sr2O6+δ, where charge order has not been observed yet. Measurements of linear transport, non-linear transport and Hall effect were performed in magnetic fields (H) up to 45 T and temperatures (T) down to 17 mK.

Chemistry-Physics bldg. Room 177

Plastic transistors: Simple solutions to their complex problems

Plastic semiconductors incorporated into transistors have shown enormous potential for low-cost, flexible, printable electronics and bioelectronics. In my talk, I will discuss their history, operating mechanisms, and potential applications. I will highlight key challenges to these applications, and discuss some of the approaches I've taken to overcome them. I will show how these simple solutions can work towards the broad realization of organic transistors.

Chemistry-Physics Bldg. Room 303

Carbon Based Nano Electromechanics: Physics and Applications

Carbon Based Nano Electromechanics: Physics and Applications
Sang Wook Lee
Department of Physics, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, 03760, Korea
In this presentation, physical properties and possible applications of carbon based nano electro-mechanical devices
(NEMS) will be introduced. Our research started from carbon nanotube based nano electro-mechanical relay
structure and expanded to graphene-based xylophone and drum like devices. Micro contact transfer method is
applied to realize the suspended nano structures with various electrodes under the nano materials. Recently
developed pick-up and transfer technique made us possible to fabricate various stacking and suspended nano
structures. After introducing some interesting physical properties, such as basic mechanical switching and
resonance behaviour and light emission of suspended graphene structures, possible application of carbon based
nano electro-mechanical devices will be suggested. Graphene based ultra-sensitive mass detector will be suggested
for one of the promising applications of our devices and our recent research project on single protein sequencing
using graphene-based mass detector will be introduced at the end of presentation.
Chemistry-Physics Bldg. Room 179

Synthesis and characterization of tungsten oxide nanostructures for photocatalytic applications

Although in recent years researchers have committed significant efforts investigating properties and potential functionalities of metal oxides, commercially available oxide-based devices still
remain quite limited. Reasons for this include high material costs, sophisticated/non-scalable growth techniques, and insufficient enhancements over current industry standards. Our aim is
to narrow the divide that separates fundamental research and functional applications by developing efficient synthesis methods for strategic materials that will be highly impactful on
society. In particular we have identified tungsten oxide owing to its large abundance, optical bandgap, and versatile physical properties as an ideal candidate for photocatalytic hydrogen
production which has potential to provide a positive paradigm shift in society’s demand for fossil fuel generated energy, especially in developing portions of the world. Here I will discuss two
parallel approaches towards synthesizing tungsten oxide nanostructures that are cost effective, time efficient, and scalable along with their morphology, crystallinity, electronic properties, and
potential for utilization in functional devices.

Type of Event (for grouping events):

Detection of 5/2 phases

Dr. Ankur Das

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Weizmann Institute of Science

Rehovot, Israel


Title: Detection of 5/2 phases

Abstract: The phases of the \nu=5/2 state have been shown to be very elusive but one of the most interesting ones as it is proposed to contain Majorana modes with non-abelian statistics. There is more than one candidate for the non-abelian state and among that three are the most promising ones namely pfaffian, anti-pfaffian, and particle-hole symmetric pfaffian. Quite a few experiments later the issue has not been settled. Previous efforts proposed methods to distinguish the candidates including the proposals where the order can be determined by measuring both thermal conductances and shot noise on the same device [Park et al. PRL 125, 157702 (2020)] or by only measuring the unequilibrated electrical conductance [Yutushui et al. PRL 128, 016401 (2022)]. To avoid some of the experimental challenges and limitations of the proposals including the above-mentioned ones we propose a new device made out of interfaces of the \nu=5/2 state and Abelian states. We propose to measure electrical shot noise to resolve among these states.

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