Xiaodong Xu Wins DOE Early Career Award

Xiaodong Xu, assistant professor in MSE and Physics, has won a 5-year, $750,000 DOE Early Career Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, to support his work in Photon-Electron Interactions in Dirac Quantum Materials. The funding opportunity for researchers in universities and DOE national laboratories, now in its third year, supports the development of individual research programs of outstanding scientists early in their careers and stimulates research careers in the disciplines supported by the DOE Office of Science.




Prof. Xu's award abstract:The objective of this research is to understand and control electron, photon, and phonon interactions in new classes of Dirac quantum materials such as graphene and topological insulators. These materials have unusual physical properties that hold promise for novel energy harvesting technologies. The proposed work will investigate the fundamental and technical aspects of these materials using the combination of ultrafast optical spectroscopy and electrical transport measurements. Spatially and temporally resolved photocurrent measurements will allow exploration of the novel electronic response of these materials to optical excitation. This includes energy transport by non‐equilibrium Dirac quasiparticles, carrier distribution and dynamics of topologically protected spins, and spin and valley Hall effects. The resulting fundamental understanding may lead to new energy efficient applications in high‐speed electronics, dissipation‐free spintronics, and photovoltaics.

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