Andrew Potter, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, has received the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. The award will support theoretical research and education towards understanding and controlling the dynamics of complex quantum systems
The CAREER award is a prestigious grant given to promising junior faculty who do a masterful job of combining education and research. The award funds five years of innovative science.
Potter joined the UT Austin faculty in 2016. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and carried out postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley.
His research is focused on understanding the electronic, magnetic and optical properties of materials at a quantum level, and how to control and manipulate quantum systems. The peculiar properties of quantum mechanics might enable fundamentally new computing, cryptographic, and communication methods that far outpace their classical counterparts.
Potter was part of a team that successfully built the world's first "time crystal," an exotic phase of matter in which atoms move in a pattern that repeats in time rather than in space. The atoms in a time crystal never settle down into what's known as thermal equilibrium, a state in which they all have the same amount of heat. It's one of the first examples of a broad new class of matter, called nonequilibrium phases, that have been predicted but until now have remained out of reach. Potter hopes many more examples will follow. Some of these nonequilibrium phases may prove useful for storing or transferring information in quantum computers.