Taylor L Hughes

Taylor L Hughes
Taylor L Hughes

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
(217) 333-1195
2115 Engineering Sciences Building

For More Information


Professor Taylor Hughes received his bachelor's degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Florida in 2003, graduating summa cum laude. He subsequently worked as a software engineer for a year as a department of defense contractor. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2009, working in the condensed matter theory group of Professor Shou-Cheng Zhang. His research covered a broad range of subjects from spintronics, to graphene/graphite, to topological insulators. His two primary research contributions as a graduate student are the collaborations which predicted of the existence of a quantum spin Hall state in HgTe/CdTe quantum wells, and secondly constructed the topological response theory of 3D time-reversal invariant topological insulators.

Professor Hughes then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a postdoc under Professor Eduardo Fradkin. During these two years he began developing methods to characterize states of matter using quantum entanglement, most notably, disordered fermionic systems and topological insulator/ordered systems. Additionally he began working on the theory of the topological visco-elastic response in topological insulators.

Professor Hughes joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in the Fall of 2011.

Research Statement

My research interests are focused in three main areas:

1. Topological insulators/Superconductors

2. Using quantum information/entanglement techniques to characterize quantum condensed matter systems.

3. Mesoscopic transport in low-dimensional materials or heterostructures

Other interests include topological order, quantum Hall effect, spin-orbit coupled electronic systems, connections between high-energy physics, gravity, and condensed matter.

Some of my recent work has been on connections between torsion, gravity, and viscosity in topological insulators, characterizing disordered topological insulators using the entanglement spectrum, and transport calculations in graphene/superconductor junctions.

Interested students should contact me via email and be willing to work on a broad range of topics. Before contacting me please look at some of my selected publications below, or on the arxiv to get an idea of which subjects are of the most interest to you.

I have several opportunities for research projects/reading courses for undergraduates who are highly-motivated and can program or proficiently use either Matlab, Mathematica, or C/C++/FORTRAN.

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunities

I do not have any (funded) post-doctoral research opportunities at this time.

Graduate Research Opportunities

I have graduate student positions open for one, or possibly two students.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Professor Hughes has several opportunities for research projects/reading courses for undergraduates who are highly-motivated and can program or proficiently use either Matlab, Mathematica, or C/C++. Students must have had at least PHY485 or PHY 486.

Selected Articles in Journals

Teaching Honors

  • Donald Biggar Willett Faculty Scholar (April 2020, May 2022)

Research Honors

  • ONR Young Investigator Award (May 2015)
  • University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study Fellowship (November 2014)
  • NSF CAREER Award (February 2014)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research for an Assistant Professor (February 2014)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow (April 2013)

Recent Courses Taught

  • PHYS 460 - Condensed Matter Physics
  • PHYS 496 - Communicating in Physics
  • PHYS 496 - Intro to Physics Research
  • PHYS 560 - Condensed Matter Physics I
  • PHYS 598 CMX - Special Topics in Physics

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Fall 2021PHYS 496
Fall 2020PHYS 598
Spring 2020PHYS 496
Spring 2019PHYS 496
Fall 2017PHYS 460