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New Particles in Old Materials - Hunting Majorana Fermions in Quantum Spin Liquids

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Spin liquids are collective phases of quantum matter which have eluded discovery in correlated magnetic materials for over half a century. These sought after phases display topological order and host exotic excitations like Majorana fermions normally discussed in high energy physics. I will discuss how these quasiparticles, which are their own antiparticle, can emerge in quantum materials and how to detect them in experiments.

About the Speaker: Dr Knolles joined Imperial as a Lecturer in 2017 after a postdoctoral position as a Marie Curie fellow at the University of Cambridge. His research has been centred around one of the great topics of modern physics — the search for unconventional quantum phases in correlated materials. This search does not only lead to a deeper understanding of the fundamental principles driving these phases but has also practical relevance for future quantum technology. The underlying theme of his work is to bridge the gap between novel theories and actual experiments. Advances in the theory of topological phases of matter happen in parallel to developments in materials science. His work combines both lines of research which is crucial for new discoveries. It is his characteristic approach to transfers abstract mathematics to experimentally relevant situations.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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