Mukul S. Laad

RWTH Aachen University, Germany

I am a condensed matter physicist, and my specific area of research interest concerns study of the so-called "strongly correlated" electronic systems. Put briefly, this is an active research area: the main goal is to understand what precisely replaces the standard model of electrons in metals when the basic assumptions on which it is based begin to fray at the edges. More than twenty years of intensive research efforts have confronted us with surprises where they were not expected to lurk, and it is possible that we may yet be scratching the surface of what lies hidden with rich potentiality. My own research interests are centered around mechanisms, and more importantly, implications, of the Mott transition, which is a quantum phase transition between an insulator and a metal driven entirely by quantum fluctuation effects. Having been recognised as one of the classic unsolved problems in modern condensed matter, it has, like more famous examples before it, the potential to open up an entirely new world: it has spawned concepts which connect electrons in metals to those of "hidden" topological order, fractionalisation of the electron, and even to string theory. I have been involved in reasonably in-depth studies of realistic models to study Mott transitions and their consequences for the intricately coupled spin-charge-orbital-lattice degrees of freedom in d- and f-band compounds. These range from the classic Mott transition in Vanadium sesquioxide, through colossal magnetoresistance manganites, to manifestations of Mottness in the newly discovered ferro-pnictides. Quantum Lifshitz phases, quantum liquids and topological transitions related to Mottness also form an aspect of my current interest and work, as do studies of novel aspects of low-dimensional quantum magnetism of localised spins on geometrically frustrated lattices.

Biography Updated on 14 June 2011

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