Research Fellows Directory
Dr Michael Sutherland
University of Cambridge
Correlated electron physics involves the study of systems in which electron-electron interactions play a dominant role in determining the physical properties of a material. Researchers in the area seek to develop a new language for dealing with these strong interactions which supersedes the standard theory of ordinary metals. Along with arriving at a deeper understanding of the subtleties of quantum mechanics in real materials, the discipline offers the potential for developing new technologies based on unusual electronic properties. MRI scanners and fault current limiters that use superconducting materials are two examples where correlated electron effects have been harnessed to create multi-million pound industries. Several classes of correlated materials are already known – superconductors and quantum magnets are two examples, but the complexity of many body interactions suggests that many other novel states are possible.
My research program is focused on studying new materials with strong electron correlations at extremely low temperatures, only a few hundredths of a degree above absolute zero, and at extremely high magnetic fields, up to 500 000 times greater than the Earth's. I use several techniques in these challenging environments - the first is studying how well heat is conducted, and the second is to observe tiny oscillations in the magnetic and electrical properties in the presence of a changing magnetic field. The aim of these studies is to understand
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)