UCI Assistant Professor Javier Sanchez-Yamagishi has been selected to receive an NSF Early Career Award to support his project, "CAREER: Manipulating Topology and Correlations in 2D Heterostructures by Dynamic Structural Control".
Dr. Sanchez-Yamagishi joined the UC Irvine Department of Physics & Astronomy in 2018, where he has a established a research group studying quantum electronic phenomena in 2-dimensional materials. Before coming to UCI, he completed his Ph.D. at MIT and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Quantum Optics Center. In 2019, he was selected as a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers Fellow.
The way electricity flows in a material depends on how its atoms are arranged. Normally, the arrangement of atoms is frozen in a crystal pattern that cannot be easily changed. This project studies how to dynamically change the crystal pattern in a material, with the goals of controlling the flow of electricity and understanding its quantum properties. The specific materials studied are only a few atoms thick, so-called two-dimensional or 2D materials. 2D materials can be stacked like sheets of paper and the individual sheets can easily slide and rotate, which changes the internal crystal pattern. The research team is developing techniques to rapidly modify the crystal pattern in a 2D material stack so that the effects on electricity flow can be studied. These studies will be performed in a cryogenic refrigerator at temperatures near absolute zero where the quantum behavior of the electrons carrying the electricity is more apparent. The success of this project will advance knowledge of quantum electrical properties which is key to developing new electronic technologies for computers and wireless communication. This research project will go hand-in-hand with an educational mission focused on mentoring students, increasing participation of students from underrepresented minorities, and public outreach by science demos and physics-based video games.