Early in her career, Dr. Ayelet Julie Uzan moved from chemistry into physics, grasping it so quickly that her MSc advisor invited her to complete a PhD in the same lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
For her postdoc in the Department of Physics at Princeton, she is working on resolving the light interaction of quasiparticles, which are hidden in unique quantum materials. These materials were recently revealed as high temperature 2D topological insulators, but in addition to their topological electronic properties, which are common to all members in this family, they contain an extremely non-trivial type of particle: neutral fermions. These quasiparticles are charge-free quantum particles and their formation as well as their properties are far from certain. Intrigued by this extraordinary quantum system, Dr. Uzan is looking to study one of the most fundamental interactions in nature, its interaction with light. How do these quasiparticles interact with electromagnetic radiation? Can we use light to reveal their formation and the existence of new quantum phases dictated by these particles?
To study these questions, Dr. Uzan uses an advanced optical setup combined with sub-Kelvin conductance measurements of single monolayer fabricated devices. She hopes that by bringing together two well-established scientific fields, condensed matter physics and optical spectroscopy, a new and exciting field of research could open up with advanced experiments that could enable us to observe new physical quantum systems.