Professor Birgeneau’s research is primarily concerned with the phases and phase transition behavior of novel states of matter. These include one and two dimensional quantum magnets, liquid crystals, physisorbed and chemisorbed surface monolayers, graphite intercalates, highly disordered magnets and lamellar CuO2 superconductors. He uses primarily neutron and x-ray scattering techniques to probe these systems.
Research follows two general themes. In the first, we are studying the properties of conductors and superconductors which are highly disordered and have reduced dimensionality. We deposit ultra thin films (as thin as one atomic layer) on cold substrates and study their conduction properties. Depending on various properties (thickness, temperature, material) these films can be metallic, insulating or superconducting. Furthermore, using electron beam lithography techniques developed in our laboratory, we can make these films as narrow as ‰ 100Å (only 30 atoms across). This allows studies in both 2 dimensions and one dimension and puts us, at low temperatures, into the quantum mechanical regime. We are extending our work to include ferromagnetic materials.
The second area of study is on high Tc superconductors. Transport, Hall effect and electron tunneling measurements are employed to shed light on the mechanism responsible for superconductivity in these materials. In addition, we are investigating various device ideas employing these novel materials and the physics knowledge we obtain.
These studies incorporate graduate students in physics and materials science as well as undergraduates.
In the News
For his final back-to-school briefing before he leaves office, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau highlighted the University's successes, including a "boom" in research funding, innovation, and collaboration.
UC Berkeley today has joined edX, a not-for-profit online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and MIT and launched last May. The campus will collaborate with edX to expand the number of universities that offer their courses on the edX platform. In a press release issued by edX, Chancellor Birgeneau said the campus is “committed to excellence in online education and the dual goals of distributing higher education more broadly and enriching the quality of campus-based education.”
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has released a new report that provides a roadmap for revitalizing the U.S. manufacturing industry, and thereby spur the creation of much-needed jobs. The PCAST report is a product of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee, whose membership includes leading manufacturing experts from industry and six universities, including UC Berkeley.
At the campus's 9th Sustainability Summit, progress in "greening" the Berkeley campus was everywhere evident — from the sheer number of student projects in the works to the metric tons of greenhouse gases not being emitted thanks to new institution-wide programs.
With the support of the gift from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, the College of Chemistry will rebuild its undergraduate teaching labs and design a new curriculum.
Throughout his tenure as UC Berkeley chancellor, Robert Birgeneau has sustained a research interest in new materials, maintaining labs both on campus and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
UC Berkeley hosted a two-day event, the 2012 California Diversity and Leadership Conference, in a push for multicultural equity and inclusion.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joined UC and Lawrence Berkeley Lab leaders to break ground on the lab’s new Computational Research and Theory facility.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, bursting at the seams of its home next door to UC Berkeley, announced Monday that it has picked the University of California’s bayside Richmond Field Station as the site of its second campus.
Leaders from academia, government and industry gathered at UC Berkeley Monday to discuss partnership strategies to re-establish the United States as a global leader in advanced manufacturing.
The deep cultural ties that bind UC Berkeley and Norway inspired a call-to-action for greater collaboration on global energy challenges at the launch of Transatlantic Science Week 2011.
Agilent Technologies Inc. has signed up to support the newly launched Synthetic Biology Institute (SBI), which will help advance efforts to engineer cells and biological systems in ways that could transform health and medicine, energy, the environment and new materials.
Berkeley stakes science claim at Homestake gold mine UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab plan to turn South Dakota's Homestake gold mine into a world-class science complex, with underground experiments in astrophysics, physics, biology and earth science. South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, a big supporter of the effort, visited the campus and lab June 12 to cement the relationship and see what a large research complex looks like.