Prof. Seamus Davis (Cornell University)
"Visualizing Quantum Matter"
Everything around us, everything each of us has ever experienced, and virtually everything underpinning our technological society and economy is governed by quantum mechanics. Yet this most fundamental physical theory of nature often feels as if it is a set of somewhat eerie and counterintuitive ideas of no direct relevance to our lives. Why is this? One reason is that we cannot perceive the strangeness (and astonishing beauty) of the quantum mechanical phenomena all around us by using our own senses. But with the recent emergence of a Second Quantum Revolution, visualization of quantum matter is becoming ever more necessary for its science and technology to advance.
I will describe the recent development of techniques that allow us to image electronic quantum matter directly at the atomic scale. We will visually explore the previously unseen and very beautiful forms of quantum matter making up Composite Quantum Particles in heavy-fermion compounds, Electronic Liquid Crystals in correlated metals, topological surface states of the Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect, and macroscopic quantum state of a Cooper-Pair Condensate. I will discuss the implications of the capability to visualize quantum matter, for fundamental physics research and also for advanced materials and new technologies.