TCM
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Attila Szabó

 Attila Szabó

Attila Szabó

Member of Trinity College
PhD student in Dr Castelnovo's group

Office: 545 Mott Bld
Phone: +44(0)1223 3 37275
Email: as2372 @ cam.ac.uk

TCM Group, Cavendish Laboratory
19 JJ Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge, CB3 0HE UK.

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Research

My current research concerns the dynamics of condensed matter systems subjected to unusual kinds of disorder. I am working on two substantially different systems:

I am generally interested in emergent phenomena in strongly interacting many-body systems, both in a classical and quantum setting.

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In Plain English

My research interest lies in strongly correlated many body systems, that is, large collections of simple “particles” interacting with one another. These interactions are responsible for the behaviour of matter as we know it: a single atom is neither solid nor liquid, none the less, such large-scale physics must arise from atomic properties. The general notion of the whole being more than the sum of its parts is called emergence. Other examples include magnetism, superconductivity and superfluidity.

Often, emergent behaviour can be explained in terms of weakly interacting excitations in the system. These excitations are dubbed quasiparticles because they can be thought of as well-defined, more or less free particles of the strongly interacting system. The nature of quasiparticles is hard to predict: some are quite plain (for example, the quasiparticles describing the interacting electrons in a metal still behave like electrons but with a different mass), some are rather exotic (for example, they can be fractional with, say, 1/3 of an electron's charge).

The systems I focus on are dubbed spin ices: they are collections of atomic spins with a complex pattern of interactions. The quasiparticles of spin ice are magnetic monopoles which are in a sense half a spin: in spin ice, we can cut a magnet bar in half! Further tweaks allow these magnetic monopoles interact with each other in a way resembling normal electromagnetism: electromagnetic radiation, that is, light, is also coming from quasiparticles. My research is about understanding these various quasiparticles and devising experiments which can measure them.