Oxford Instruments announces Dr Mohammad Hamidian of Harvard University, as winner of the 2016 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize
10 February 2016

Oxford Instruments is delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize as Dr Mohammad Hamidian, Research Associate in the Department of Physics at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. The Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize promotes and recognises the novel work of young scientists working in the fields of low temperatures and/or high magnetic fields in the Americas.

Dr Mohammad Hamidian’s contributions to condensed matter physics have focused on strongly correlated electronic materials and atomic-scale visualization methods of electronic structure using scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). He has pioneered the use of milliKelvin spectroscopic imaging STM technology and, from heavy fermions to cuprate high temperature superconductors, has used it to identify new states of electronic matter, and to expose mechanisms of phase competition, broken symmetries, and topological transitions. His culminating accomplishment was the discovery of a spatially modulated electronic superfluid in the cuprates, and in fact in any condensed matter system.

"I am truly honoured and delighted to have been awarded this prize. Science, and in particular experimental science, is never done in isolation which is why I must wholeheartedly thank my mentors and colleagues whose contributions and insights over the years have immeasurably influenced my work", commented Dr Hamidian.

Early in his PhD at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY, USA), Dr Hamidian took on the challenge of developing an ultra-low vibration milliKelvin stage based upon an Oxford Instruments custom-designed version of the Kelvinox®400 dilution refrigerator. He designed and constructed a novel STM scanning head for that environment, devised a complete change of protocol for STM control and operation at milliKelvin temperatures, and enhanced the control of the dilution refrigerator itself to suppress vibration to many orders of magnitude below a commercially achievable scale. This system was the first successful milliKelvin spectroscopic imaging STM in the world and remains among only a handful in existence. In this formative work, Dr Hamidian executed a sequence of inventive technical advances to achieve almost three orders of magnitude improvement in energy resolution and stability. 

Dr Hamidian will be presented with the trophy and $8000 prize amount at Oxford Instruments’ “Socialize with Science” event on March 15th, 2016 during the 2016 APS March Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA.

The Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize selection committee was very pleased to recognize the outstanding scientific skills in experimental physics and comprehensive nature of the studies led by Dr Hamidian. The committee consists of leading American physicists and is chaired by Professor Bruce Gaulin of McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Oxford Instruments is aware that there is a critical and often difficult stage for many between completing a PhD and gaining a permanent research position. The company has therefore been helping individuals who are producing innovative work by offering assistance both financially and through promotion of their research work, through sponsoring the Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize for research in physical science. The Prize is named in honour of Professors David M. Lee, Douglas D. Osheroff and the late Robert C. Richardson, joint recipients of The Nobel Prize in Physics 1996 "for their discovery of superfluidity in helium-3".

The previous winners of the Lee Osheroff Richardson Science Prize, which celebrated its 10th year in 2015, are Dr Christian Lupien, Dr Jason Petta, Dr Suchitra Sebastian, Dr Eunseong Kim, Dr Vivien Zapf, Dr Jing Xia, Dr Kenneth Burch, Dr Lu Li, Dr Chiara Tarantini and Dr Cory Dean.