Overview of Our Research
Our group’s research in experimental condensed matter physics focuses on understanding the relationship between superconductivity and magnetism, two types of order that can result when electrons are strongly interacting. It was originally thought that superconductivity and magnetism were mutually exclusive, but evidence from different classes of materials now suggest that this relationship is more nuanced. Unconventional superconductivity often occurs in systems where magnetic or other types of order occur at or very near zero temperature, the quantum critical point. Here, normal metallic behavior breaks down as the electrons themselves transition from being spatially confined to being completely mobile, and indeed the usual theories of metals also fail when this occurs. Our research seeks to discover new types of materials where quantum criticality is important, and to investigate the properties of these compounds as they are tuned through the quantum critical point itself. We use a variety of experimental tools in our research, including magnetic, thermal, and electrical transport that take place in our lab, as well as neutron scattering measurements that require large user facilities, such as the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Lab, and the NIST Center for Neutron Research at the National Institute for Standards and Technology. Realistic electronic structure calculations are used to assist our searches for new materials, carried out in collaboration with our theoretical colleagues.