Physics & Astronomy
|Department of Physics & Astronomy
1600 West Bank Dr.
Phone (705) 748-1011 x7716
Fax: (705) 748-1652
My research area is theoretical condensed matter physics. Students in my research group do a lot of computational modeling of the electronic properties of materials.
Modern technology---computers, cell phones, medical equipment---relies on ever smaller and faster electronic devices. In the past decade, interest has moved towards making devices that are not simply faster, but that include enhanced functionality: namely, they can do things that current nanodevices (e.g. transistors) cannot. Transition metal oxides are promising because they have properties---superconductivity, magnetism, ferroelectricity, and others---that are not found in conventional semiconductors, and which are often are entangled with one another. Because of this entanglement, it may be possible to use one property to control another: for example, what if we could turn magnetism on and off by applying a voltage?
At present, the questions that need to be answered are very basic: can we understand, in terms of the fundamental laws of nature, how these materials behave? It turns out that many transition metal oxides have different physical properties in confined geometries (for example, nanodevices) than they do in large samples. Can we understand why? In my research, I construct computer models, based on fundamental laws of physics, to simulate the electronic properties of various transition metal oxides. With these models, I hope to explain the physical properties of simple oxide structures (interfaces and heterostructures), and to understand the subtle role played by impurities and defects.