CM Seminar - Fractal Views on Quantum Materials

18 Feb2021

Speaker: Erica Carlson, Purdue University

Time: Feb 18, 2021 :: 10:00AM - 11:00AM


Meeting ID: 641 8301 1430
Passcode: 113399

Abstract: Inside conventional materials like metals and semiconductors, electrons are evenly distributed — like liquid filling a container. But electrons inside many quantum materials act more like an exotic gumbo: nanoscale images show that the electrons form complex shapes with interesting textures on multiple length scales. I will discuss how understanding the formation of these patterns is vital to our understanding of electronic properties and to our eventual technological control of quantum matter. We have defined new paradigms for interpreting and understanding nanoscale electronic textures observed at the surface of these materials by employing theoretical tools from fractal mathematics and disordered statistical mechanics. This allows us to use the rich spatial information available from scanning probes in order to diagnose criticality from the spatial structure alone, without the need of a sweep of temperature or external field. This new conceptual framework has enabled the discovery of universal, fractal electronic textures across a variety of quantum materials. [Nat. Commun. 10, 4568 (2019); Nat. Phys. 14, 1056 (2018); PRL 116, 036401 (2016); Nat. 529, 329 (2015); Nat. Commun. 3, 915 (2012)]

Bio: Erica W. Carlson, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Purdue University. Prof. Carlson holds a BS in Physics from the California Institute of Technology (1994), as well as a Ph.D. in Physics from UCLA (2000). A theoretical physicist, Prof. Carlson researches electronic phase transitions in quantum materials. In 2015, she was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society "for theoretical insights into the critical role of electron nematicity, disorder, and noise in novel phases of strongly correlated electron systems and predicting unique characteristics." Prof. Carlson has been on the faculty at Purdue University since 2003, where she was recently named a "150th Anniversary Professor" in recognition of teaching excellence. Her latest work popularizing science can be found at and

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