Aharon Kapitulnik

Stanford University


Primary Section: 13, Physics
Secondary Section: 33, Applied Physical Sciences
Membership Type: Member (elected 2015)

Biosketch

Aharon Kapitulnik is the Theodore and Sydney Rosenberg Professor in Applied Physics at the Departments of Applied Physics and Physics at Stanford University. His research focuses on experimental condensed matter physics, while opportunistically, also apply his methods to tabletop experimental studies of fundamental phenomena in physics. His recent studies cover a broad spectrum of phenomena associated with the behavior of correlated and disordered electron systems, particularly in reduced dimensions, and the development of effective instrumentation to detect subtle signatures of physical phenomena. Among other recognitions, his activities earned him the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1986-90), a Presidential Young Investigator Award (1987-92), a Sackler Scholar at Tel-Aviv University (2006), the Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Prize for Superconductivity Experiment (2009), a RTRA (Le Triangle de la Physique) Senior Chair (2010), and the Oliver Buckley Condensed Matter Prize of the American Physical Society (2015). Aharon Kapitulnik is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Kapitulnik holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University (1983).

Research Interests

Kapitulnik’s research activities focus on studies of quantum-mechanical dominated properties of materials, which exhibit unexpected 'emergent' phenomena because of their unique electronic structure that is dominated by strong correlations and topology. Of particular interest to his group are phenomena related to the occurrence of novel forms of superconductivity and magnetism, and the interplay between them resulting in quantum critical phenomena. For example, the study of the paradigmatic quantum phase transition between a two-dimensional superconductor and insulator, with possible intervening unconventional metallic states. Following the discovery of high-Tc superconductivity in the cuprates, Kapitulnik’s group engaged in a number of key experiments to better understand the nature of the electronic properties of these materials, with key contributions to the understanding of their vortex state and the nature of the electronic state just above where superconductivity sets in.

Kapitulnik’s group also specializes in the development of precision detection instrumentation. In particular they developed the Sagnac Interferometer for ultra-sensitive measurements of time-reversal symmetry breaking effects in solids, particularly unconventional superconductors. Using their technical expertise, they also developed novel, cantilever-based, instrumentation for testing the inverse-square-law of gravity at sub-mm distances.

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