Dr. Xie is a condensed matter experimentalist. His work seeks to discover, characterize, and manipulate new emergent phenomena in quantum materials resulting from the interplay between topology and electronic correlations. To achieve these goals, Dr. Xie utilizes a variety of tools ranging from quantum transport measurements to a class of techniques called scanning probe microscopy, which uses a physical probe to scan over the sample of interest. The ability to image various properties of the sample enables one to visualize exotic quantum states and obtain local information that is not available using global measurement techniques. At Rice, we will set up a scanning single-electron-transistor (a very sensitive electric field sensor) microscope and use it to probe different classes of quantum materials. Dr. Xie is also interested in extending the existing capabilities of scanning probe microscopy and developing new microscopy tools to obtain information that was previously not possible.
Another important component of Dr. Xie’s research program is on quantum devices based on two-dimensional (2D) materials that are only a few-atom thick. These 2D materials can be assembled layer by layer (analogous to decks of cards) and thus offer unlimited possibilities for creating novel heterostructures that support magnetism, topological order, unconventional superconductivity, and more. We are particularly interested in heterostructures in which a lattice mismatch or a twist angle between layers plays an important role, and will probe them using both quantum transport measurements and scanning probe microscopy. Finally, the exploration of 2D material heterostructures may provide new ideas for applications in future quantum technology such as quantum sensing and quantum simulation.