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Spectroscopic signatures of topological quantum matter

Department of Physics

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Dr I Rousochatzakis No more applications being accepted Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The idea that strongly interacting spins in a solid can evade ordering down to zero temperature by forming a quantum spin liquid (QSL) has a long history [1]. QSLs exhibit topological order and a plethora of remarkable quantum phenomena, including long-range entanglement, topological degeneracy, emergent Majorana fermions and gauge fields [2,3]. The control and manipulation of such properties in condensed matter systems hold promise for future quantum technologies and computing applications [4].

The goal of the project is to address the central challenge currently in the field: How one can diagnose emergent Majorana fermions and gauge fields in real materials? The student will combine large-scale exact diagonalization algorithms and modern statistical sampling methods (based on typicality and thermalisation ideas) with the end goal to extract dynamical response functions that are measured directly in spectroscopic experiments, such as inelastic neutron scattering, Raman scattering and electron spin resonance [5]. The ensuing predictions will be compared to ongoing experiments on available candidate materials (such as a-Li2irO3, NaLi2O3 and a-RuCl3), and will lay the ground for quantitative diagnostics and the broader phenomenology of QSLs.

The PhD student will endeavour into one of the most vibrant fields of condensed matter, acquire expertise in numerical and analytical methods, and work on experimentally driven problems. The project is ideal for students with a strong interest in topological phases of matter and numerical algorithms. A background in condensed matter physics is desirable. The project will be mainly numerical, although analytical skills will also be useful.

Entry requirements
Students should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics or a related subject.

How to apply
All applications should be made online:

Under school/department name, select 'Physics'. Please quote reference PH/IR-Un1/2020.

The deadline for applications is 30 September 2020.

Start date: October 2020

Full-time/part-time availability: Full-time (3 years), Part-time (6 years)

Fee band: Band RA (UK/EU: TBC; international: £22,350)


[1] P. W. Anderson, Mat. Res. Bull. 8, 153-160 (1973).
[2] X. G. Wen, Quantum Field Theory of Many-Body Systems. Oxford Univeristy Press (2010).
[3] I. Rousochatzakis, Y. Sizyuk and N. B. Perkins, Nat. Commun. 9, 1575 (2018).
[4] C. Nayak, et al., Rev. Mod. Phys. 80, 1083 (2008).
[5] I. Rousochatzakis, S. Kourtis, J. Knolle, R. Moessner, N. B. Perkins, Phys. Rev. B 100, 045117 (2019).
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