June 4: PhD defence Van Delft on emergent phenomena in unusual metallic systems

Date of news: 28 May 2019

The next generation of electronic devices will depend largely on the discovery of new materials with useful electronic properties, like topological protection and superconductivity – both of which lead to the flow of current with little or no dissipation.

New materials and their properties

The essential first steps along that road are to find these new and exotic materials, to measure their physical properties and, as far as is possible, to understand them. Maarten van Delft dedicated his PhD to this stage of the innovation cycle. His work may lead to further investigation of the combination of topology and electron correlations.

He studied three different classes of materials with interesting properties. In order to prepare these materials for measurement, he first mastered a new technique to study extremely small single crystalline pieces (less than 100 micrometres) and tested their electronic properties under extreme conditions of ultra-low temperatures and intense magnetic fields. He found new, emergent phenomena that cannot be easily described simply from knowledge of how the material’s electron energy levels are arranged, but arise as a result of complex interactions between the electrons.

Delft, Maarten van

Discover new physics

Maarten: “In my second year, a colleague asked me to prepare a miniaturized sample of a single crystal he had acquired through a new collaboration and all of a sudden these new phenomena started to emerge. I really had a puzzle to work out what exactly happened and why. That’s when things became interesting. It laid the foundation for my subsequent projects. The fact that we discover new physics, map phenomena that haven’t been seen before, puzzle on what it might be, is for me the drive to do this work.”


Maarten van Delft defended his doctoral thesis on Tuesday June 4, 4.30 pm
Supervisor: prof. dr. N.E. Hussey
Co-supervisors: dr. A. McCollam and dr. S.R. Wiedmann