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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Pétur Einarsson Nielsen,


  Physics, St Catharine's College

  PhD thesis: Emergent quantum phenomena in strongly correlated electron systems.

  Research interests:
  1. Emergent quantum phenomena.
  2. Topological magnetism.
                                3. Energy technologies.
                                4. Strongly correlated electron systems.

During my PhD I will investigate how quantum critical materials such as topological insulators and frustrated magnets behave under extreme external conditions such as ultra low temperatures, high magnetic field and high pressures. My day-to-day work will involve the growth and subsequent characterisation of crystalline materials using electrical, thermal, and spectroscopic measurements. Uncovering and understanding novel magnetic and conducting behaviour in quantum matter, beyond the standard models of solid state physics, will enable the development of next-generation functional materials and devices.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?
The study of quantum matter is of scientific and social significance. Developments in the field enable both further scientific discovery (e.g. with improved quantum sensors) and can also have a real, tangible impact on people. Past discoveries led to superconducting magnets in the use of MRI machines and future discoveries will lead to great efficiency improvements in electrical devices - addressing our growing energy demands.