Skip to main
Gravitational wave

Mason scientist studying correlated and topological phases in graphene van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures


Fereshte Ghahari Kermani

Fereshte Ghahari Kermani, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy, received funding for the project: "Local Probe of Correlated and topological phases in graphene Van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures."  

These heterostructures are constructed by different two-dimensional (2D) monolayers vertically stacked and weakly coupled by van der Waals interactions. Such interactions take place when adjacent atoms come close enough that their outer electron clouds barely touch. This action induces charge fluctuations that result in nonspecific, nondirectional attraction. 

For this project, Ghahari will employ novel fabrication techniques to engineer high quality graphene-based vdW heterostructures compatible with local probe measurements. She will then employ scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS) measurements at ultra-low temperatures and high magnetic fields to locally investigate correlated phenomena such as superconductivity and Fractional quantum Hall (FQH) phases.  

This project aims to address some fundamental questions in the field. For example, what is the nature of superconductivity in twisted graphene multilayers? What is the underlying topological order of fractional quantum Hall (FQH) states in graphene? The outcomes of this project can have important implications on advancement of quantum technologies such as superconducting circuits and topological quantum computation.  

The scope of work and budget incorporated into this award cover the period from May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2026 for a total of $278,785 in Federal funds (distributed over award period). The federal funding available at this time is limited to $88,712 NIST estimates providing a total of $190,073 in future funding increments throughout the award period to support this project. Funding increments are typically made on an annual basis; however, the exact timing and amount will be dependent upon the remaining unobligated balance of the award, progress and performance on the award, and the availability of funding.