Fahad Mahmood

Assistant Professor


Fahad Mahmood

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
106 Seitz Materials Research Lab

For more information


Professor Fahad Mahmood is an experimentalist in condensed matter physics. He started his research lab on the femtosecond manipulation of quantum materials at the University of Illinois in August 2019. He received his B.S. from Stanford University in 2010, majoring in Physics and Aero/Astro Engineering. He went on to receive his PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016, working in the group of Nuh Gedik. There, he developed ultrafast optical and photoemission techniques to study and control emergent phenomena in a variety of quantum materials. From 2016 to 2019, Professor Mahmood was a postdoctoral research fellow in the group of Peter Armitage at Johns Hopkins University. His research used THz range spectroscopies to probe complex interactions in high-temperature and unconventional superconductors, and frustrated quantum magnets at their natural energy scales.

Research Statement

Professor Fahad Mahmood's research lab at the University of Illinois will develop and apply non-linear optical and time-resolved photoemission spectroscopies to solve problems at the intersection of strongly correlated quantum materials and non-equilibrium phenomena. One of the principal goals is to use laser light to engineer electronic interactions in materials, probe their spatial and temporal correlations, and realize model Hamiltonians and novel phases of matter.

Typical experiments will use a laser pulse to perturb a particular material in different ways, e.g., by coupling to charge or spin degrees of freedom, exciting specific collective modes or modifying the local energy landscape over short (femtosecond) timescales. Custom-built spectroscopic tools such as time-resolved ARPES and time-domain THz spectroscopy will then be used to examine the resulting evolution of electronic states, measure changes in low-energy electrodynamics and disentangle coupled excitations. Projects and materials will be varied but will likely include unconventional superconductors, topological systems and frustrated magnets.

Selected Articles in Journals

Related news

  • Research
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Many properties of metals can remarkably be understood in terms of “free” electrons, even though electrons interact with each other through a Coulomb force, which can be both large and long ranged. It turns out that these interactions collectively result in the emergence of “quasiparticles” whose behavior is very similar to that of free, non-interacting electrons. This description forms the basis of the famous Landau Fermi liquid theory. In fact, the notion of finding new non-interacting quasiparticles to describe complicated interacting systems is a key paradigm in condensed matter physics. 

  • Faculty Highlights
  • Condensed Matter

Fahad Mahmood joins the condensed matter effort at Illinois. In his research on ultra-fast optical spectroscopies of quantum materials, he uses extremely short laser pulses to study problems at the intersection of strongly correlated quantum materials and non-equilibrium physics. He is best known for his work on THz collective modes and fluctuations in cuprate superconductors and on Floquet-Bloch states in topological insulators.