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Andrew Green

Dr Andrew Green

Dr Andrew Green

Research Fellow

Grants awarded

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Organisation: University of St Andrews

Dates: Oct 2001-Sep 2009

Value: £344,971.77

Summary: Condensed matter physics is an area of both techno- logical and fundamental scienti c importance. Modern technology is increasingly dependent upon the quantum behaviour of matter on the smallest scale. The race to make a quantum computer seeks to use this behaviour very directly, but quantum mechanics is important in more familiar technology: transistors, superconductors and the read heads in hard drives all depend crucially upon the quantum mechanics of electrons. Understanding the collective quantum behaviour of electrons in solids is not only an important driver of technology, but it also raises fundamental issues with impact in other areas of science. To take a topical ex- ample, the explanation of why superconductors hover in magnetic elds (the Meissner e ect) was provided by the Anderson-Higgs mechanism | the very same mechanism that is now thought to provide the origin of mass itself and which is currently being investigated at FERMILAB the LHC in CERN. There is a tremendous symbiosis between theory and experiment in condensed matter physics. New theoretical ideas are crucial in guiding experiment in fruitful direc- tions and puzzling results from experiment are essential in aiding the development of theory | unraveling these puzzles can lead to fundamental principles that have an impact much further a eld. I study the theory of the collective quantum behaviour of electrons. I develop mathematical theories predicting new e ects not yet seen in experiment and work with experimentalists to understand how these new e ects can be observed. Together, we determine which experimental anomalies might be understood within current theories. Those that cannot provide important guidance and new directions for theoretical investigation. Much of my time is spent studying quantum critical systems. These systems are balanced between the quan- tum and classical worlds | they obey rules that are partly like the classical rules of everyday experience and partly the strange quantum rules of the very smallest scale. A large variety of materials have electronic be- haviour that is quantum critical. They have a property that physicists call universality: their behaviour at low energy and long distances is largely independent of the high energy and short distance behaviour. Because of this, they provide a forum in which we can understand general features of how classical world emerges from the quantum behaviour on the microscopic scale without be- ing distracted by details such as di erences between ma- terials.

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