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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory


Suchitra Sebastian is Professor in Physics and EPSRC Advanced Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Her research seeks to discover exotic quantum phases of matter in complex materials. To this end, her group’s experiments involve tuning the co-operative behaviour of electrons within these materials by subjecting them to extreme conditions including low temperature, high applied pressure, and intense magnetic field. Under these conditions, interactions between a trillion trillion electrons, as many as the stars in the observable universe, create surprising and unpredictable collective quantum phases akin to new materials ‘universes’. Emergent quantum phenomena studied by Suchitra’s research group include high-temperature superconductivity and a new unconventional insulating state of matter they recently discovered. Most recent awards Suchitra has received include the New Horizons in Physics Prize (2022) awarded by the Breakthrough Foundation and the Schmidt Science Polymath award (2022). Suchitra is founder director of the Cavendish Arts Science programme, and co-founder of Bread Theatre and Film Company. She participates in scientific research for non-imperialistic, non-militaristic purposes.


Suchitra creates and studies interesting quantum materials - often under extreme conditions such as very high magnetic fields, enormous pressures, and very low temperatures - with a view to discovering unusual phases of matter. Materials families she studies include novel magnets and unconventional temperature superconductors - which have the exciting property of transporting electricity with no energy loss. Read more about Suchitra’s research here:


Key publications: 

M. Hartstein, W. H. Toews, Y.-T. Hsu, B. Zeng, X. Chen, M. Ciomaga Hatnean, Q. R. Zhang, S. Nakamura, A. S. Padgett, G. Rodway-Gant, J. Berk, M. K. Kingston, G. H. Zhang, M. K. Chan, S. Yamashita, T. Sakakibara, Y. Takano, J.-H. Park, L. Balicas, N. Harrison, N. Shitsevalova, G. Balakrishnan, G. G. Lonzarich, R. W. Hill, M. Sutherland & Suchitra E. Sebastian, "Fermi surface in the absence of a Fermi liquid in the Kondo insulator SmB6". Nature Physics 14, 166–172 (2018).

B. S. Tan, N. Harrison, Z. Zhu, F. F. Balakirev, B. J. Ramshaw, A. Srivastava, S. A. Sabok, B. Dabrowski, G. G. Lonzarich, and Suchitra E. Sebastian, "Fragile charge order in the non-superconducting ground state of the underdoped high temperature superconductors". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, 31 (2015).

B. S. Tan, Y. -T. Hsu, B. Zeng, M. Ciomaga Hatnean, N. Harrison, Z. Zhu, M. Hartstein, M. Kiourlappou, A. Srivastava, M. D. Johannes, T. P. Murphy, J. -H. Park, L. Balicas, G. G. Lonzarich, G. Balakrishnan, Suchitra E. Sebastian, “Unconventional Fermi surface in an insulator”. Science 349, 287 (2015).

B. J. Ramshaw, S. E. Sebastian, R. D. McDonald, James Day, B. S. Tan, Z. Zhu, J. B. Betts, Ruixing Liang, D. A. Bonn, W. N. Hardy, and N. Harrison, “Quasiparticle mass enhancement approaching optimal doping in a high-Tc superconductor”. Science 348, 317 (2015).

Suchitra E. Sebastian, N. Harrison, F. F. Balakirev, M. M. Altarawneh, P. A. Goddard, Ruixing Liang, D. A. Bonn, W. N. Hardy & G. G. Lonzarich, “Normal-state nodal electronic structure in underdoped high-Tc copper oxides”. Nature 511, 61 (2014).

Suchitra E. Sebastian, Neil Harrison and Gilbert G. Lonzarich, "Towards resolution of the Fermi surface in underdoped high-Tc superconductors". Reports on Progress in Physics 75, 102501 (2012).

P. L. Alireza, Y. T. C. Ko, J. Gillett, C. M. Petrone, J. M. Cole, G. G. Lonzarich, and S. E. Sebastian, "Superconductivity up to 29 K in SrFe2As2 and BaFe2As2 at high pressures". Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 21(1) 012208 (2009).

S. E. Sebastian, N. Harrison, E. Palm, T. P. Murphy, C. H. Mielke, R. Liang, D. A. Bonn, W. N. Hardy, and G. G. Lonzarich, "A multi-component Fermi surface in the vortex state of an underdoped high-Tc superconductor". Nature 454(7201) 200-203 (2008).

S. E. Sebastian, N. Harrison, P. Sengupta, C. D. Batista, S. Francoual, E. Palm, T. Murphy, N. Marcano, H. A. Dabkowska, and B. D. Gaulin, "Fractalization drives crystalline states in a frustrated spin system". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(51) 20157-20160 (2008).

S. E. Sebastian, N. Harrison, C. D. Batista, L. Balicas, M. Jaime, P. A Sharma, N. Kawashima, and I. R. Fisher, "Dimensional reduction at a quantum critical point". Nature 441(7093) 617-620 (2006).