The electron's charge, energy, momentum, and spin determine how we use and exploit it in device technology. Recently, the discovery of a brand new class of two dimensional materials (including atomic layer dichalcogenides, topological insulators, and graphene) has birthed qualitatively new electronic behavior only found in these solid-state systems --- an as-yet uncharted frontierland to find new device concepts and functionalities.
I will illustrate some of the special characteristics of flatland electrons using graphene as a material example. In particular, I will describe i) the unusual way in which energy is distributed in graphene, and ii) how electrons can acquire a 'topological' character in graphene heterostructures. I will show how the former qualitatively impacts graphene's response to light, and also gives rise to a unique wavelike transport of heat at high speeds. In (ii), I will explain how the 'topological' character of an electron's wavefunction radically affect its dynamics, giving rise to non-dissipative transverse currents in graphene. Importantly, this grants control over a new quantum degree of freedom, the valley index, opening the way for new approaches to encode information.
Justin Song is a graduate researcher in the NSF Center for Integrated Quantum Materials jointly at Harvard and MIT. He received a BSc in Physics and ARCS from Imperial College London in 2007, an AM in Physics from Harvard University in 2011, and this summer will finish a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Justin's research interests lie at the interface between condensed matter physics and engineering, and include novel charge/energy transport, opto-electronics, topological materials, and 2D layered heterostructures. He is the recipient of the Caltech Prize Fellowship in Physics, the APS Ovshinsky Award, and a National Science Scholarship.