Semimetals lie between metals and non-metals in phrases of their bodily properties ¬- similar to their shine and skill to conduct warmth and electrical energy – and have lengthy been studied by scientists. Recently, a brand new household of semimetals, dubbed topological semimetals, has sparked curiosity due to their potential to revolutionize know-how.
“Before any material makes its way into an application, the dynamics of its electrons needs to be understood very clearly,” mentioned Pavan Hosur, assistant professor of physics on the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “Due to their unique make-up, current techniques used to study electrons in topological semimetals have been challenging.”
Hosur, whose analysis focuses on theoretical condensed matter physics and quantum statistical mechanics, obtained a $575,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation to plan modern strategies for understanding how electrons “dance,” or arrange themselves in two-and three-dimensional topological semimetals.
Traditional semimetals will be transformed into both metals or insulators with relative ease, for instance, by reducing their temperature or tweaking their chemical composition. In distinction, topological semimetals stubbornly retain their semi-metallic nature below such manipulations.
“What makes topological semimetals even more fascinating is they enable access to the physics of fundamental particles that make up matter through table-top experiments, and they also tend to have conduction properties which make them attractive platforms for novel, low-cost electronic devices,” Hosur defined.
Over the subsequent 5 years, Hosur and his staff will examine numerous basic elements of topological semimetals together with:
- The particular person and collective behaviors of floor electrons in 3D topological semimetals; The staff will develop an method that may seize the ill-defined dimensionality of floor electrons.
- Electron transport in 2D topological semimetals in unresolved circumstances; The researchers will devise an algorithm for learning physics in these circumstances, however which will also be used extra broadly past topological semimetals.
For the outreach part of his CAREER Award, Hosur will design cellular video games to assist undergraduate physics college students study the sphere of condensed matter principle and can create instructing methods appropriate for on-line and social distancing-compliant school rooms.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reinvent our systems of education and outreach over the past year,” Hosur mentioned. “I hope these efforts to harness technology will help to overcome the surmounting hurdles to teaching in the post-COVID era.”
NSF CAREER awards are granted to extremely promising junior school members who exemplify the position of teacher-scholars via “outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.”
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