Work led by a University of Alabama physics professor will help grasp behavior of emerging materials while unstable that could lead to more efficient and controllable uses for energy and information processing applications.
Dr. Wang-Kong Tse, UA assistant professor of physics, was recently awarded a grant from the 2018 Early Career Research Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, one of 84 scientists from across the nation to receive funding.
Tse will lead theoretical work in examining van der Waals materials, stacked, two-dimensional materials, when placed in what is called a non-equilibrium state, a condition where the material’s resting state is being perturbed by an external field.
“Because van der Waals materials are quite well understood in equilibrium, my job as a scientist is to push the limit of our understanding further to explore the non-equilibrium behavior of these materials,” Tse said.
Particularly, the project will examine the materials when driven to strong non-equilibrium conditions by an intense laser, looking at the magnetic, interaction and electric transport properties, he said.
“There are still a lot of unknowns in this nascent field, and, therefore, we can make meaningful contributions to these important questions,” Tse said. “The questions posed are interesting and challenging, and if we can answer those questions successfully, the scientific payoffs can be enormous in the longer term.”