Physicist Lu Li Awarded the 2013 Lee Osheroff Richardson North American Science Prize


Mar 18, 2013

Physics Professor Lu Li

Dr. Lu Li experimenting at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

University of Michigan physicist Dr. Lu Li will be awarded the 2013 Lee Osheroff Richardson North American Science Prize by Oxford Instruments at this month’s American Physical Society meeting. Dr. Li receives $8,000, a unique trophy and certificate with the opportunity to present his work at a conference. Nominations for this award are assessed by a committee of senior scientists from across North America.

Dr. Li is an outstanding young experimental condensed matter physicist who has made seminal contributions to quantum correlated physics in novel phases of materials. This work included studies of magnetically ordered and superconducting oxide interfaces, phase transitions between Dirac electron states in elemental Bismuth, and Nernst effect and high resolution magnetization studies of fluctuating vortex states in high temperature superconductors above their critical temperatures. Dr. Li developed innovative experimental tools, in particular new torque magnetometry techniques, with significant gains in sensitivity to explore crucial signatures of these novel phenomena in new materials at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields, which brought this science to fruition.

Dr. Li’s research lies in the bridge of two fruitful fields of interface engineering and quantum correlated materials. A well-known example of quantum-correlated materials is the high temperature superconductor, in which dominating strong interactions bring promise to the goal of electricity transfer without energy loss. Interface engineering is at the heart of current rapidly paced technology development, such as transistors in computer chips, solid-state lasers, and solar panels. Dr. Li’s major contribution is to develop and extend conventional magnetometry techniques to these unconventional materials. He made the technique working not only for single atomic layered interface, but in extreme conditions such as in temperatures colder than negative 459 Fahrenheit and in magnetic fields 1 million times more powerful than the Earth's magnetic field.

Dr. Li joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2011, following his graduate work with Professor Ong at Princeton University and his postdoctoral work as a Pappalardo Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Professor Ashoori.   

Professor Bruce Gaulin from McMaster University and Prize Committee Chairman commented, “Dr. Li’s breakthroughs in sensitivity of magnetometry using torque techniques allowed him and his collaborators access to a wealth of exciting new science emanating from exotic quantum states of matter. He is a most deserving recipient of the 2013 Lee Osheroff Richardson Prize.”

The Lee Osheroff Richardson North American Science Prize is endorsed by the British Embassy Washington D.C., and is named after David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff, and Robert C. Richardson who were joint winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1996 for their discovery of superfluidity in 3He.