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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  David O'Shea


  Physics, Darwin College

  PhD thesis: TBC



Research interests:

  1. Many body quantum mechanics
  2. Symmetry breaking
  3. Spin dynamics
  4. Non-equilibrium statistical physics

During my PhD I will be using Hamiltonian engineering and quantum simulation techniques to investigate many-body phenomena in dipolar systems, in particular Many-Body-Localisation (MBL) in spin ensembles. MBL is a fascinating effect the occurs in many-body quantum systems, in which the system fails to reach a form of thermal equilibrium, and instead retains memory of it’s starting conditions. So far this phenomena has been readily observed in quantum gases, but not yet in solid state physics. Dipolar systems are a promising platform for observation of MBL in solid state, due to their long coherence times and strong interactions.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

I have long been interested in statistical physics and the exotic array of phenomena that occur when large numbers of particles interact, in and out of equilibrium. Upon learning about the concept of symmetry breaking during my masters, alongside my lab experiences with quantum computing and developing means of controlling particles, be it classical or quantum, my interest in quantum simulation and its use in observation of theoretical phenomena was sparked. This project is a way of bringing my interests in symmetry breaking and statistical physics together with my interest in experimental implementations of physical principles.