UCI Assistant Professor Jing Xia received a NSF early CAREER award of $577,541 over five years to support his project, “CAREER: Correlated States in the Surface of KondoInsulators,” which was selected by the NSF’s Condensed Matter Physics program.
The award will enable him to investigate competing quantum orders and emerging phases in a newly discovered phase of matter called “topological Kondo insulators”. In this highly exotic insulator, electrons interact strongly with each other and form a highly conductive surface state that is protected by time-reversal-symmetry against unavoidable disorders and impurities. This highly sought-after “robust” surface may be useful for efficient electronic and topologically protected quantum computers.
Teamed up with UCI Distinguished Professor Zach Fisk, they were the first to experimentally discover in 2012 the first topological Kondo insulator SmB6, which was features in a news article “Hopes surface for exotic insulator” in Nature magazine:
Since then they have published several articles in journals such as Nature Materials and Nature Scientific Reports on this subject. This CAREER award will enable Jing and the team to explore other possible candidates of topological Kondo insulators, and to develop several unique optical and thermodynamic probes to unveil the energetics and dynamics of this emerging exciting material.
Jing joined UC Irvine in 2011, after a PhD degree from Stanford univeristy (2003-2008) and a Richard Chase Tolman postdoctoral fellowship at California Institute of Technology (2008-2011). Jing was a recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowship in 2013 and the awardee of the Lee-Osheroff-Richardson North American Science Prize for low temperature physics in 2011. Jing’s research at UC Irvine focuses on discovering and understanding novel phases of quantum matter that often emerge at low temperatures, using unique optical and electronics probes developed in his lab.