Theory of Quantum Matter Unit (Nic Shannon)

Theory of Quantum Matter

This is particularly true if you put a large number of quantum particles in the same place - for example Helium atoms condensed into a liquid, electrons deep inside metal oxides, or cold atoms in an optical trap.
In all of these cases, the assembled particles write their own, local, laws of physics, through the way in which they interact with one another.  The consequences are dramatic, and include the superfluidity of liquid Helium, the magnetism and superconductivity of electrons in oxides, and quantum coherent Bose condensates found in cold atoms.   
The Theory of Quantum Matter group uses a wide range of numerical and analytic techniques to explore these phenomena.  Our goal is to develop new theoretical approaches to quantum matter, and to guide the discovery of new quantum phases.  To this end, we work closely with experimental physicists, and chemists developing new quantum materials.
Much of our recent research has focused on frustrated magnets - systems torn between one choice and another.  The way in which these materials resolve their difficulties has proved a constant source of beautiful, and unexpected, new ideas.
Other interests represented in the group include the statistical mechanics of loops and membranes, spin-tronics, and systems where frustration and itinerant electrons combine.  
You can read more about this work in our Annual Reports, as well as in the papers listed on our Publications page.

Selected Recent Publications

"Competing spin liquids and hidden spin-nematic order in spin ice with frustrated transverse exchange"
Mathieu Taillefumier, Owen Benton, Han Yan, Ludovic Jaubert and Nic Shannon
Phys. Rev. X 7, 041057 (2017)

"Spin Ice Thin Film: Surface Ordering, Emergent Square Ice, and Strain Effects"
L.D.C. Jaubert , T. Lin, T.S. Opel, P.C.W. Holdsworth and M.J.P. Gingras
Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 207206 (2017)

"Theory of multiple-phase competition in pyrochlore magnets with anisotropic exchange, with application to Yb2Ti2O7, Er2Ti2O7 and Er2Sn2O7"
Han Yan, Owen Benton, L.D.C. Jaubert and Nic Shannon
Highly Cited Paper
Identified by Web of Science as being in the top 1% of Physics publications on the basis of citations in the field and publication year.
Phys. Rev. B 95, 094422 (2017)

"From pinch points to pinch lines: a new spin liquid on the pyrochlore lattice"
Owen Benton, L. D. C. Jaubert, Han Yan and Nic Shannon
Nature Communications 7, 11572 (2016)
Featured on the OIST website,, Nanowerk, Technobahn, Science Daily, Science Newsline, Alpha Galileo and EurekAlert! from the AAAS.

"Classical and quantum theories of proton disorder in hexagonal water ice" 
Owen Benton, Olga Sikora and Nic Shannon
Phys. Rev. B 93, 125143 (2016)
Featured on the OIST website, Asian Scientist, Technobahn, Science Daily, Science Newsline, Science Codex,, Space Daily, My Informs, R&D and EurekAlert! from the AAAS.

"Quantum solitons with emergent interactions in a model of cold atoms on the triangular lattice"
Hiroaki T. Ueda, Yutaka Akagi, and Nic Shannon
Phys. Rev. A. 93, 021606(R) (2016)
Selected for inclusion in Kaleidoscope.

"A Kagome Map of Spin Liquids from XXZ to Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya Ferromagnet"
Karim Essafi, Owen Benton and L.D.C. Jaubert
Nature Communications 7, 10297 (2016)
Featured on the OIST website, Asian Scientist, Nanowerk, Technobahn, Science Daily, Science Newsline, Alpha Galileo, Science Codex, and EurekAlert! from the AAAS.