Taylor L Hughes

Professor

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Taylor L Hughes

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
2115 Engineering Sciences Building
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Biography

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.

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.

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.

Graduate Research Opportunities

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

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunities

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

Honors

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

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

SemesterCourseOutstanding
Spring 2019PHYS 496
Fall 2017PHYS 460

Selected Articles in Journals

Related news

  • research

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger College of Engineering have experimentally demonstrated a new way to transport energy even through wave-guides that are defective and even if the disorder is a transient phenomenon in time. This work could lead to much more robust devices that continue to operate in spite of damage.

Gaurav Bahl, associate professor in mechanical science and engineering, and Taylor Hughes, physics professor, published their findings in Nature Communications. This important work was led by postdoctoral researcher Inbar Grinberg, also in mechanical science and engineering.

  • Research
  • Condensed Matter Physics

A Majorana particle is a fermion that is its own anti-particle. Majorana particles were postulated to exist by Ettore Majorana in a now famous paper written in 1937. However, such particles have not  been discovered in nature to date.  The possible realization of Majorana particles in condensed matter systems has generated much excitement and revived interest in observing these particles, especially because the condensed matter realization may be useful for topological quantum computation. A new paper by Illinois Physics Professor Vidya Madhavan and collaborators recently published in Science shows the first evidence for propagating 1D Majorana modes realized at 1D domain walls in a superconductor  FeSexTe1−x

  • Research

Institute for Condensed Matter Theory in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recently received a five-year grant of over $1 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The grant is part of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems (EPiQS) Initiative, which strives to catalyze major discoveries in the field of quantum materials—solids and engineered structures characterized by novel quantum phases of matter and exotic cooperative behaviors of electrons. This is the second 5-year EPiQS grant awarded to the ICMT by the Moore Foundation. The two awards establish an EPiQS Theory Center at the Institute for Condensed Matter Theory.

  • Research
  • Quantum Information Science
  • Condensed Matter Theory

Physics Professors Bryan Clark and Taylor Hughes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been awarded US Department of Energy (DOE) grants to develop new quantum computing capabilities. The awards are part of a $37-million DOE initiative supporting research that will lay the groundwork for the development of new quantum information systems and that will use current quantum information capabilities to advance research in material and chemical sciences.

Quantum information science (QIS) is an exciting and rapidly growing field promising a broad range of advances beyond today’s classical technologies. QIS exploits quantum mechanics—the theory that explains nature at all scales, from electrons, to atoms, to neutron stars—as a platform for information processing, data storage, and secure communications. Quantum computers will use qubits, non-binary bits capable of hosting near limitless quantum states to process and store data, while quantum communications will leverage quantum mechanical properties such as entanglement to generate unhackable encryption.