A Microscope for Quantum Phenomena Never Seen Before
Researchers can now synthesize quantum materials with thicknesses as small as a single monolayer of atoms. In terms of electronic conductivity and magnetism, these two-dimensional materials exhibit unique, unexpected properties as a result of quantum phenomena that have yet to be harnessed and explained.
Kin Fai Mak, Physics, is investigating two important quantum phenomena—magnetic quantum phase transitions and critical spin dynamics—using a magneto-optical microscope developed by his lab. The microscope can directly image classical critical spin dynamics. This project extends the Mak group’s technique to low temperatures in order to study quantum critical points and exotic magnetic ground states. The microscope, with a high spatial resolution and fast acquisition rate, will allow the production of high-resolution magnetic videos at the quantum critical regime.
This project will focus specifically on magnetic quantum phase transitions and exotic magnetic ground states induced by electrostatic doping and strain in two quantum systems: 1) two-dimensional transition metal trihalides and 2) moiré superlattices based on transition metal dichalcogenides. By exploring outstanding problems in magnetism and strong correlation physics that could not be accessed in the past, this research will provide new insights into crucial temporal and spatial correlations among electronic spins. The findings could be transformative in a wide range of domains, including computer science, communications, and complex energy systems.