Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

2019-20 Handbook for Physics and Astronomy Graduate Students

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Research Programs

Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics

The Rutgers faculty in condensed matter theory have interests spanning many areas including: new phases of quantum matter, highly-correlated electron phenomena, such as high-temperature superconductivity, magnetism, quantum phase transitions, oxide and heavy-fermion physics; physics at surfaces, including dynamic phenomena and electronic and geometrical structure; quantum liquids including superfluids and Bose Einstein condensates; equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics including the physics of glasses and quantum dots; quantum computation, first principles calculations of electronic and structural properties, including the applications of dynamical mean field theory; quantum phase transitions and critical phenomena; semiconductor physics; quantum statistical mechanics and field theory; thermodynamics, transport and localization in disordered systems. At Rutgers, there is also a strong mathematical physics effort centered primarily on rigorous results in statistical mechanics and quantum field theory.

Professor Natan Andrei

I am interested in strongly correlated electron systems, particularly low dimensions where quantum fluctuations are enhanced and lead to new and often unexpected phenomena. Also, low dimensional many-body systems can be studied by powerful mathematical tools that yield non-perturbative results such as conformal field theory, bosonization and the Bethe-Ansatz. Most recently I have studied transport properties of quantum dots in and out of equilibrium, thermal conductivity in spin chains and ladders and the exact solutions of a variety of quantum impurity models.

Professor Premala Chandra

I am interested in a wide variety of subjects in condensed matter physics. One area of my work concerns new forms of quantum equilibrium order - anything from frustrated quantum spin systems to novel forms of quantum order in strongly correlated electron systems. In my group we are trying to understand the emergence of new types of behavior in non-equilibrium matter. One topic of particular interest is glasses - where matter undergoes a transition to a state which moves infinitely slowly, and which remembers its past. Together with Lev Ioffe and Michael Gershenson, we are trying to design and fabricate a new class of quantum qubit as the elementary element of tomorrows "quantum computers". This requires a fine balance of good theory and contact with real-world experiment. Another area of my work is in magneto-electrics, where my group is working in collaboration with Experimentalist Sang Cheong and collaborator Karin Rabe, to understand and develop new classes of hybrid magneto-electric materials. I have recently moved to Rutgers from industry and I am actively seeking new students to join me in this research.

Professor Piers Coleman

It is a very exciting time for condensed matter physics. This decade may well be like the late 1960s, a time when a convergence of particle physics and condensed matter physics led to the great revolution of understanding in classical criticality. Today, the same sort of sea-changes in our understanding of quantum matter are taking place, with the discovery of "quantum criticality" and quantum phase transitions. My research is concerned with the fundamentally new classes of collective condensed matter behavior that emerge in complex materials. Recently, I have been particularly interested in quantum phase transitions - which give rise to the formation of new classes of strange metals and nucleate new forms of quantum order, such as high temperature superconductors. I have active research activities in the subject of heavy fermion physics and also on strongly correlated mesoscopic systems such as quantum dots. I try to maintain a research portfolio that balances phenomenology and close contact with experiment, with the development of state-of-the-art mathematical tools for many body systems (such as the Slave boson). I'm constantly on the look out for talented young people who'd like to collaborate with this research.

Professor Kristjan Haule

We want to gain theoretical understanding of the behavior of real materials which fall under the rubric of strongly correlated electron systems. These are complex materials, with electrons occupying active 3d-, 4f- or 5f-orbitals. Recent advance in combining the well established electronic structure methods with the modern many body tools, such as Dynamical Mean Field theory and its cluster extensions, allows us for the first time, to carry out the first principle calculations for some complex correlated materials, such as the heavy fermions, doped Mott insulators, fullerens and many others. Together with the group of Gabriel Kotliar, we are trying to develop advanced methods and techniques that would allow us to explain and ultimately predict the properties of any correlated solid with a click of a mouse. The computer aided material design is now a promising research direction and the ability to predict physical properties of strongly correlated materials with many unusual properties makes the prospects for applications particularly exciting.

Professor Gabriel Kotliar

We apply methods of quantum statistical mechanics quantum field theory and computational physics to treat fundamental problems in material science and condensed matter physics. My main interest in the area of disordered and strongly interacting electronic systems. Problems of current interest include the metal-insulator transition in doped semiconductors, the physical properties of transition metal oxides and the phenomena of high temperature superconductivity, the non linear optical properties of artificially fabricated semiconductor systems and the anomalous non equilibrium phenomena in glasses.

Professor Jedediah Pixley

I am interested in a broad class of quantum many body systems with a focus on novel phases and quantum phase transitions. My research focuses on strongly correlated electronic systems, quantum magnetism, effects of disorder and quasiperiodicity, non-equilibrium quantum dynamics, and ultra cold atomic gases. We use a combination of sophisticated numerical techniques and analytic methods to compute universal properties of model Hamiltonians.

Professor Karin M. Rabe

The research in my group currently centers on the theoretical investigation of complex oxides. Chemical and structural complexity has proved to be an critical factor in producing a variety of fascinating properties of solids, including ferroelectricity, large piezoelectric and dielectric responses, and multiferroicity in metals and insulators, as well as quasicrystallinity and high-temperature superconductivity. Current research projects in my group include work on ferroelectric epitaxial thin films and superlattices and other artificially structured oxide materials, novel mechanisms for ferroelectricity in magnetic oxides, and development of multiscale methods for studying complex-oxide structural phase transitions at nonzero temperature. First-principles density-functional methods are used both directly and in the construction of first-principles effective Hamiltonians for theoretical prediction and analysis of properties of materials, both real and as-yet hypothetical, in bulk and thin film forms.

Professor David Vanderbilt

In recent decades, first-principles methods of computational electronic-structure theory have provided extremely powerful tools for predicting the electronic and structural properties of materials, using only the atomic numbers of the atoms and some initial guesses at their coordinates as input. My principal interests are in applying such methods to study the dielectric, ferroelectric, piezoelectric, and magnetoelectric properties of oxides. These may be simple bulk materials, or they may be superlattices or other nanostructured composites in which surface and interface effects are important. I also have an abiding interest in the development of new theoretical approaches and computational algorithms that can extend the reach and power of these first-principles methods. In particular, our group has made contributions to pseudopotential theory, the theory of electric polarization, the study of insulators in finite electric fields, the theory of Wannier functions and their applications, and the role of Berry phases and Berry curvatures in dielectric and magnetoelectric phenomena.

Professor Emil Yuzbashyan

My research focuses on the theory of strongly interacting and disordered systems. I am interested in new types of correlated states that arise in ultra-cold atomic gases, disordered superconductors, nanometer scale superconductors, semiconductor quantum dots, quantum wires, etc. Interplay between interactions, disorder, and small size in these systems presents a significant challenge and often renders conventional approaches inadequate. I am also interested in the theory of superfluidity and superconductivity in new regimes, unconventional superconductivity, far from equilibrium many-body systems, interacting spin systems, physical properties of integrable or nearly integrable systems, and dephasing and dechoherence in quantum devices due to their coupling to the environment.

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Revised September, 2019