This award supports theoretical and computational research and education to advance understanding of anisotropic phases of strongly correlated electron systems in low dimensions and under extreme quantum conditions.

The PI aims to understand the origin of and the stabilization mechanism for anisotropic phases of correlated electronic systems that possess liquid crystalline order. Interacting quantum systems are often intractable either analytically or numerically without making uncontrolled approximations. The PI's focus will be on microscopic models of correlated electronic systems that originally manifest Fermi liquid or quantum Hall liquid behavior but may undergo phase transitions to inhomogeneous anisotropic phases. Analytical theoretical methods of quantum many-body physics will be used in combination with unbiased numerical simulations of microscopic models to provide a basis for a theoretical understanding of the nature of novel liquid crystalline or hybrid phases that arise in correlated electronic systems in low dimensions.

Key foci of the research include:

1) Determining the role of interaction potentials in the stabilization of anisotropic Fermi liquid phases,

2) Understanding the anisotropic piezoelectric interaction in gallium arsenide semiconductors,

3) Investigating the nature of anisotropic phases in high Landau levels in terms of novel liquid crystalline states with broken rotational symmetry,

4) Novel electronic quantum phases driven by strong interactions.

This award supports educational opportunities for undergraduate students. Undergraduate students will be able to participate in valuable research experiences. This award will help to develop research opportunities for undergraduate students and will enhance research and education infrastructure for underrepresented students at a minority HBCU institution. The outreach activities devised by the PI are aimed to develop interest in science related areas at the K-12 level in local communities and local high schools.

NONTECHNICAL SUMMARY

This award supports theoretical research and education aimed at understanding and exploring new states of matter that arise from electrons that interact strongly with each other in materials confined to two dimensions.

Quantum physics of many interacting particles forms the basis of our understanding of the properties of complex materials synthesized in laboratories all over the world. The ability to predict the properties of new materials and new materials-related phenomena can play a crucial role in the search for the building blocks of future technologies. The interaction between electrons leads to intriguing quantum mechanical states. Some of these states are believed to be quantum mechanical analogs of phases observed in systems of long molecules in which the orientation of the molecules become correlated with each other, as occurs in, for example, a liquid crystal display. The understanding of these liquid-crystal-like states of electrons and how they appear under specific circumstances is of great interest not only from the perspective of fundamental science, but also because they serve as potential building blocks of future technologies for electronic devices, sensors, computation, and more.

The ability to predict the properties of new materials and new materials-related phenomena can play a crucial role in the search for the building blocks of future technologies. Using theoretical methods for quantum many-body systems, the PI will address both the nature of the anisotropy that develops in a variety of electronic systems at temperatures close to the absolute zero of temperature. This project includes a focus on applying computational methods to enable computers to provide fundamental insight into quantum mechanical systems.

Undergraduate students will be able to participate in valuable research experiences and will be involved in important aspects of this research. Because the research requires exploring a variety of models and methods, there are many opportunities for undergraduate students to gain important research experience. This award will help to enhance research and education infrastructure for underrepresented minority students. Through an outreach activity, the PI aims to develop interest in science related areas at the K-12 level in local communities and high schools.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
Application #
1104795
Program Officer
Daryl W. Hess
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$144,000
Indirect Cost
Name
Prairie View a & M University
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Prairie View
State
TX
Country
United States
Zip Code
77446