Ehsan Khatami Awarded RUI Grant

Ehsan Khatami 

Ehsan Khatami has been awarded $171,000 to explore theoretical research in the physics of disorder and its effect on how electrons organize in real materials. Investigations of fundamental properties of solids that exhibit unexpected and often technologically useful properties at low temperatures commonly rely on the assumption that atoms form perfectly periodic lattices. However, disorder, which appears in form of crystal defects or impurities in real materials, cannot always be ignored when studying electronic properties. Their presence can drive the system as a whole to phases that do not appear if one considers interactions between electrons alone.

The grant includes support for two undergraduate students and one graduate student to participate in Dr. Khatami’s research. The students will be developing massively parallel codes implementing a novel idea for efficiently taking random disorder into account in state-of-the-art simulations of quantum many-particle systems, and will be running their programs on the High-Performance Computer (HPC) recently acquired through a NSF MRI grant of $900K, on which Dr. Khatami was a Co-PI. Students will analyze results, contribute to writing papers, and travel to conferences to participate in disseminating results.

Those results will help interpret experimental observations, and will ultimately help us understand the mechanism behind some exotic behavior of solids, such as insulating and superconducting, with potential applications in the technology and energy sectors.

MIT Ehsan Khatami

Illustration: Sampson Wilcox, MTI News, September 15, 2016