HMC Expert: Nicholas P. Breznay

Condensed Matter Physics, Physics, Quantum Materials, Superconductors

Nicholas P. Breznay, PhD, is an experimental condensed matter physicist who studies emergent phenomena in quantum materials.

In crystalline and amorphous solids, electrons sometimes decide to spontaneously organize, condense, and rearrange themselves—collectively assembling into patterns and phases that we never would have predicted from a reductionist point of view. These electronic states of matter can be understood with familiar physical pictures, such as a “gas” of free electrons, a strongly interacting “Fermi liquid,”or a crystalline solid. But they can also be fundamentally quantum-mechanical states that have no classical analog.

Breznay’s lab investigates these exotic states of matter—superconductors, spin-liquid magnets, charge-ordered oxides and amorphous Anderson insulators—using hands-on experiments. His group studies complex materials, measuring and modeling their electrical properties in extreme conditions of low temperatures, intense magnetic fields, and high pressures.

Breznay completed an M.S. and PhD in applied physics at Stanford University. Prior to joining Harvey Mudd, he held postdoctoral fellowships at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley. He previously worked for a high-tech startup developing infrared semiconductor lasers.

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