Charles A. Reynolds Distinguished Lecture Series
Locally Crystalline Electron Liquids
Department of Physics and Astronomy
In a simple metal, the electrons form a Fermi gas in which the effective interactions are weak. When the interactions between electrons are sufficiently strong, they form an insulating electron crystal (or "Wigner crystal"). In a highly correlated electron liquid, the interactions are strong compared to the characteristic scale of kinetic energy (the Fermi energy), and yet the system is still fluid. Such systems have been found to exhibit a large variety of quantum behaviors that cannot be understood in the context of the conventional theories of electrons in solids, based as they are on a non-interacting reference state. Examples of this are the bewildering variety of "new states of matter" that have been discovered in quantum Hall devices, the high temperature superconductors, and a host of other systems. By treating such systems as quantum melted crystals, rather than as strongly interacting gasses, some significant progress has been made in understanding them, and there are hints that even more understanding may be just around the corner.
Tuesday, May 6, 2003
(Refreshments will be served immediately following the colloquium in the lobby outside the lecture hall)