About Me

I am a PCCM postdoc fellow at Princeton University. I graduated from Peking University in 2012 and obtained my Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in March 2019. I work in the field of experimental condensed matter physics. In particular, I am interested in probing emergent quantum phenomena in two-dimensional materials using transport and scanning probe techniques. Check out my research below and find my most recent publications on google scholar.

Besides physics, I am interested in photograhpy, drawing, making, travelling, skiing, stargazing and piano. Some of my favorite pictures are displayed in Gallery. I am also showing some of my cool creations during How to Make (Almost) Anything below.

Correlated electron states in graphene double-layer heterostructures

In 2D systems under strong magnetic fields, cyclotron motion of electrons create highly degenerate Landau levels. In these flat Landau levels, the effect of Coulomb interaction is greatly enhanced, which can lead to exotic quantum phenomena such as the famous fractional quantum Hall effect.

More intriguing effects can be realized by placing two 2D layers closeby (2-4nm) so they can interact through Coulomb interaction while direct tunneling is prohibited. In my PhD thesis, I pioneered many discoveries in the graphene double-layer system, which will be introduced below.

Exciton condensation

An exciton is a pair of an electron and a hole bound by the Coulomb interaction. Because they are bosons, many excitons can reside on the same quantum state to form a macroscopic quantum object. This so called exciton condensate state has many exotic properties such as superfluidity.

In this work, we establish exciton condensation in graphene double-layers by creating pairing between electrons in one layer and holes in a closeby layer. When the condensation happens, interlayer coherence is detected by a large quantized Coulomb drag signal.

Nature Physics 13, 746–750 (2017)

BEC-BCS crossover of exciton superfluid

Superfluidity and superconductivity are among the most facinating phenomena, where fluid can flow without resistance. Superfluidity in Helium is caused by the Bose Einstein condensation (BEC) of He4 atoms, while conventional superconductors are described by the BCS theory, where weak attractions between electrons enable them to form loose pairs, and avoid impurities through a harmonic waltz.

In this work, we continued our investigation into exciton condensate. By tuning the attraction between electrons and holes, we could access both the BEC and BCS regime. When the attraction is strong, electrons and holes form tightly bound molecules resembling He4 atoms. When the attraction is weak, loose pairing occurs on the Fermi surfaces of the two Fermi liquids, similar to a BCS superconductor. Superfluid states are identified in both regimes and the highest transition temperature is found in the crossover region. This work paved ways to further understand exotic fermion condensate in a unified framework.

arXiv: 2012.05916 (2020)

Interlayer fractional quantum Hall effect

In a partially filled Landau level, electrons arrange in intricate ways to reduce the Coulomb energy, resulting in the Nobel prize winning fractional quantum Hall effect (FQHE). More intriguingly, it hosts a new type of quasiparticles -- anyons, unique to two-dimensions.

Here, we discovered two component FQHE in graphene double-layer, conspired by intra-layer and inter-layer Coulomb interactions. These interactions can be neutralized by the formation of composite fermions, where an electron bind with two intralayer flux and one interlayer flux. We also discovered a semi-quantized state unique to the two component system, explained by anyon pairing between the two layers.

Nature Physics 15, 893–897 (2019)

Correlated electron states in twisted double bilayer graphene

When two 2D materials are directly stacked onto each other, interlayer tunneling significantly modifies the bandstructure through the formation of moire superlattices. Applying moire band engineering, people have created flat bands and discovered many exotic new phases by twisting two monolayer graphene at the magic angle.

Here, we twist and stack two Bernal bilayer graphene. Thanks to the tunable bandstructure of bilayer graphene with electric field, we could continuously change the bandstructure across the flat band condition in a single device, which allows us to closely inspect how correlated electrons states emerges from the flatband.

Nature 583, 221–225 (2020)

Scanning tunneling spectroscopy of TDBG

In this following study of twisted double bilayer graphene (TDBG), scanning tunneling microscope is used to visualize the moire superlattice structure of TDBG. Through scanning tunneling spectroscopy, we directly demonstrate the tunability of the band structure of TDBG with an electric field. We also show spectroscopic signatures of electronic correlations and topology for its flat band.

Nature Communications 12, 2732 (2021)

Spectroscopic study of graphene quantum Hall

When 2D electrons are subjected to strong magnetic fields, enhanced Coulomb interactions not only cause fractional quantum Hall effect, but can also induce quantum Hall ferromagnetism, where degeneracy over internal degrees of freedom such as spin is lifted by exchange interactions.

In our most recent work, we inspect an ultra-clean graphene device under a strong magnetic field. Our spectroscopy measurement and spectroscopic imaging reveal the nature of spin-valley SU(4) quantum Hall ferromagnetism in graphene.

Making

I enjoyed the course of realizing a vision for a functional machine through designing, building and testing. I had an opportunity to do this during the Harvard machine shop training and the famous MIT course: How to Make (Almost) Anything.

Press and fit car made from cardboard.

I modeled it in Fusion360 and laser-cut the cardboard pieces. The wheels of the car are capable of free rotation.

Casted metal (Bithmuth-Tin alloy) stamp

The process involves pouring melten metal into a custom made mold. The side of the stamp is in the shape of my Chinese zodiac. A seal made from this stamp is showing on the footnote of this page.

iPhone camera stablizer

For a long time, I have been intrigued by camera stablizers (before they became affordable). They in general work by compensating the motion of the handle with counter-movements from three motors (like a chicken head).

In this build done in 2017, I used a three axis gyroscope/ accelerometer fixed onto the iPhone holder to detect the motion of camera (iPhone). The signal is then processed by a ATmega328 microcontrollers, which directs three brushless motors to compensate for the roll/tilt/yaw of the camera. From bottom up, I designed and fabricated the structures as well as the circuit board and control algorithm. A demo can be seen here and the detailed design and making process can be found here.

Steam engine

Engines are some of the most fascinating machines to me. This model steam engine runs on compressed air. When compressed air feed into the inlet, it pushes a piston to drive the aluminum fly wheel. The body and piston are machined from plexiglass so the machanism is visible.

Here is a video of it in live action.

A custom build computer.

Computer build these days are pretty much like legos. Still, research is needed to pick the right parts and piece them together correctly. I also installed MacOS on it which took some extra effort, but the cost is a fraction of a Mac with similar specs. It was a fun learning experience and the machine still works to this day.