MRS Medal Award Talk

Thursday, December 1
6:00 pm – 6:45 pm
Sheraton, 2nd Floor, Grand Ballroom

Robert CavaRobert J. Cava, Princeton University
A Materials Perspective on Topological Insulators and Related Electronic Materials

The MRS Medal, endowed by Toh-Ming Lu and Gwo-Ching Wang, is awarded for a specific outstanding recent discovery or advancement that has a major impact on the progress of a materials-related field.

Cava is being honored "for pioneering contributions in the discovery of new classes of 3D Topological Insulators."

Topological Insulators are a frontier research area in the physics of electronic materials, and since their introduction in about 2008 have been the subject of many theoretical and experimental research reports, and discussions on their potential electronic applications. At the basis of it all, in the opinion of the speaker, is the critical need for high quality materials in single crystal form on which experiments can be performed. These experiments inform theoretical ideas and developments, and often lead to unexpected observations. The speaker and his Princeton and Brookhaven Lab collaborators, especially N. Phuan Ong, Ali Yazdani, Satya Kushwaha, Andrei Bernevig, Tony Valla and Ivo Pletikosic, have been working in a theory-synthesis-crystal growth-materials characterization loop to discover and develop crystals of new materials to feed into this rapidly moving area. In this talk I will introduce Topological Insulators and related electronic materials and describe our materials synthesis, growth, and optimization work in this area.

Our work in this field is funded primarily through an ARO-sponsored MURI on topological insulators, and also through an NSF-sponsored MRSEC at Princeton University.

About Robert J. Cava

Robert J. Cava is the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, where he was Associate Director of the Materials Institute from 1999 to 2001 and Chair of the Chemistry Department from 2004 to 2010. His research includes the solid-state chemistry of electronic and magnetic materials, emphasizing their structure-chemistry-property relationships. Superconductors, magnetic materials, topological insulators, Dirac and Weyl semimetals, geometrically frustrated magnets, thermoelectrics and correlated electron systems are of particular current interest. He began at Princeton in 1997 after working at Bell Laboratories for 17 years, where he was a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff. He received his BS degree, MS degree in Materials Science and Engineering and PhD degree in Ceramics (1978) from MIT, after which he was a postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Cava has served on international award and evaluation committees, has been the recipient of teaching and mentoring awards at Princeton, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of The Royal Society (London).