Event Details

The way modern physics has shaped experimental condensed matter physics and nanoscience

  • 2018-10-31
  • Prof. M.S. Ramachandra Rao, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

For experimental physicists, the beginning of the 20th century has dawned a new era of modern physics with the evolution of a plethora of experimental techniques that include understanding of optical and x-ray spectra, Rutherford scattering, Stern-Gerlach experiment that led to the discovery of electron spin, with simultaneous progress in the fields of superconductivity, magnetism, spintronics, crystallography and the physics of low dimensional systems that in other words termed as nanoscience. We know that matter is made up of atoms, atoms make up crystal lattices and electronic correlations play an important role in determining the physical properties of materials. I will explain the new terminology ‘quantum materials’ and how quantum effects are inherently built in certain material systems including nanostructures by highlighting the basics of nanoscience and the wonderful effects of doping in solids to realize interesting physical phenomena.

MSR Rao did his Masters (Physics) and Ph.D. (experimental solid state physics) from IIT Kharagpur, and after a short stint at IIT Madras, he went to work as a Research Scientist at CNRS, Bellevue, France to work on high-Tc cuprates. Later he worked for two years at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, where he developed epitaxial high-Tc thin films for microwave devices for space applications and also worked on understanding electrical transport and tunnel characteristics. He was an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Walther Meissner Institute (WMI), Munich where he developed the first non-STO type nano-scale tunnel barrier using manganite layers to study TMR effect. He published highly cited work related to electronic correlations in doped manganites and superconductors. During his stay in IITM since 1995, he has been instrumental in establishing state-of-the art facilities in MSRC and has been involved in establishing two new centres NFMTC (Nano Functional Materials Technology Centre) and recently ISEHC (Indian Solar Energy Harnessing Centre). His research work focuses on oxide-electronics, doping effects in solids, oxide heterostructures and nanostructures for light emission, spin injection in 2D layers and superconductivity in doped diamond. He has guided 24 Ph.D. students to graduation and published 205 research papers. He was a visiting faculty at UMCP, Maryland (2003-’04) and since 2007 he is a visiting Professor in the Erasmus Mundus European Masters program. He is serving on the editorial board of J.Phys.D. Appl. Phys (IOPP, UK) since 2005 and he is the section editor of INETRMAT section of JPhysD since 2015. His inventive work on the development of diamond coatings for mechanical and space applications has led to incubating a company in the IIT Madras Research park.