Vidya Madhavan



Vidya Madhavan

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
1018 Superconductivity Center

For more information


Professor Madhavan received her bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering in 1991 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, and a master of technology degree in solid state materials in 1993 from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. She obtained her phD from Boston University in 2000. She held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, Berkeley from 1999 to 2002, before joining the physics faculty at Boston College in 2002. She joined the faculty at Illinois in 2014 as a full professor.

Research Interests

  • Unconventional superconductors, topological superconductors, correlated oxides, topological crystalline insulators, transition metal dichalcogenides Scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM), Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE)
  • MBE growth of WTe2, Bi2Se3, SnTe, NbSe2, TiSe2, VSe2, BiSb, etc

Research Statement

Professor Madhavan investigates fundamental problems in quantum materials where interactions between the spin, charge, and structural degrees of freedom lead to emergent phenomena. She uses the tools of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS), spin-polarized STM (SP-STM) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to unravel the mysteries of complex systems at the atomic scale. Her group carries out challenging, high-risk experiments, wherein the possibility of discovering new phenomena is high. Her team's recent work has focused on STM studies of complex oxides and monolayer films of topological materials and transition metal dichalcogenides.

Graduate Research Opportunities

We currently have openings in our group for motivated students. Please send me email if you are interested in learning more about our projects.


  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2015 (2015)
  • 2007 NSF CAREER Award, 2007 (2007)

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Spring 2020PHYS 496

Selected Articles in Journals

  • 1. Zhenyu Wang, Jorge Olivares Rodriguez, Lin Jiao, Sean Howard, Martin Graham, G. D. Gu, Taylor Hughes, Dirk K. Morr, V. Madhavan, Signature of Dispersing 1D Majorana Channels in an Iron-based Superconductor, Science 367, 104-108 (2020)
  • 2. Momentum-resolved superconducting energy gaps of Sr2RuO4 from quasiparticle interference imaging, Rahul Sharma, Stephen D. Edkins, Zhenyu Wang, Andrey Kostin, Chanchal Sow, Yoshiteru Maeno, Andrew P. Mackenzie, J. C. Seamus Davis, and Vidya Madhavan, PNAS (2020)
  • Zhenyu Wang, Daniel Walkup, Yulia Maximenko, Wenwen Zhou, Tom Hogan, Ziqiang Wang, Stephen D. Wilson and Vidya Madhavan , Doping induced Mott collapse and the density wave instability in (Sr1-xLax)3Ir2O7 , npj quantum materials 4, 1-7 (2019)
  • Zhenyu Wang, Yoshinori Okada, Jared O Neal, Wenwen Zhou, Daniel Walkup, Chetan Dhital, Tom Hogan, Patrick Clancy, Young-June Kim, Y. F. Hu, Luiz Santos, Stephen D. Wilson, Nandini Trivedi and Vidya Madhavan, Disorder induced power-law gaps in an Insulator-Metal Mott transition, PNAS 115, (44) 11198-11202 (2018)
  • D. Iaia, G. Chang, T. R. Chang, J. Hu, Z. Mao, H. Lin, S. Yan and V. Madhavan, Searching for topological Fermi arcs via quasiparticle interference on a type-II Weyl semimetal MoTe2, npj Quantum Materials 3, 38 (2018)
  • Interplay of orbital effects and nanoscale strain in topological crystalline insulators Daniel Walkup, Badih Assaf, Kane L Scipioni, R. Sankar, Fangcheng Chou, Guoqing Chang, Hsin Lin, Ilija Zeljkovic, Vidya Madhavan, Nature Communications 1550 (2018)
  • Quasiparticle Interference and Strong Electron-Mode Coupling in the Quasi-One-Dimensional Bands of Sr2RuO4 Zhenyu Wang, Daniel Walkup, Philip Derry, Thomas Scaffidi, Melinda Rak, Sean Vig, Anshul Kogar, Ilija Zeljkovic, Ali Husain, Luiz H. Santos, Yuxuan Wang, Andrea Damascelli, Yoshiteru Maeno, Peter Abbamonte, Eduardo Fradkin, Vidya Madhavan, Nature Physics 13, 799–805 (2017)
  • Influence of domain walls in the incommensurate charge density wave state of Cu intercalated 1T-TiSe2 Shichao Yan, Davide Iaia, Emilia Morosan, Eduardo Fradkin, Peter Abbamonte, Vidya Madhavan, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 106405 (2017)
  • Ilija Zeljkovic, Yoshinori Okada, Maksym Serbyn,R. Sankar, Daniel Walkup, Wenwen Zhou, Junwei Liu, G.Chang, Yung Jui Wang, M. Zahid Hasan, Fangcheng Chou, Hsin Lin, A. Bansil, Liang Fu and V. Madhavan, Dirac mass generation from crystal symmetry breaking on the surfaces of topological crystalline insulators, Nature Materials 14, 318–324 (2015)
  • Ilija Zeljkovic, Kane L Scipioni, Daniel Walkup, Yoshinori Okada, Wenwen Zhou, R. Sankar, Guoqing Chang, Yung Jui Wang, Hsin Lin, Arun Bansil, Fangcheng Chou, Ziqiang Wang and Vidya Madhavan, Nanoscale Determination of the Mass Enhancement Factor in the Lightly-Doped Bulk Insulator Lead Selenide, Nature Communications 6, 6559 (2015)
  • Ilija Zeljkovic, Daniel Walkup, Badih Assaf, Kane L Scipioni, R. Sankar, Fangcheng Chou, Vidya Madhavan, Strain engineering Dirac surface states in heteroepitaxial topological crystalline insulator thin films, Nature Nanotechnology 10, 849–853 (2015)
  • Ilija Zeljkovic, Yoshinori Okada,Cheng-Yi Huang, R. Sankar, Daniel Walkup, Wenwen Zhou, Maksym Serbyn, Fangcheng Chou, Wei-Feng Tsai, Hsin Lin, A. Bansil, Liang Fu, M. Zahid Hasan and V. Madhavan, Mapping the unconventional orbital texture in topological crystalline insulators, Nature Physics 10, 572–577 (2014)
  • Chetan Dhital, Tom Hogan, Wenwen Zhou, Xiang Chen, Zhensong Ren, Mani Pokharel, Yoshinori Okada,M. Heine, Wei Tian, Z. Yamani, C. Opeil,J. S. Helton, J. W. Lynn, Ziqiang Wang,V. Madhavan, and Stephen D. Wilson, Doping a spin-orbit driven Mott phase in “ Mott blocking, electronic inhomogeneity, localized and itinerant antiferromagnetism, Nature Communications 3377 (2014)
  • Yoshinori Okada, Maksym Serbyn, H. Lin, Daniel Walkup, W. Zhou, C. Dhital, Madhab Neupane, Suyang Xu, Yung Jui Wang, R. Sankar, F. Chou, Arun Bansil, M. Zahid Hasan, Stephen D. Wilson, Liang Fu and V. Madhavan, Observation of Dirac node formation and mass acquisition in a topological crystalline insulator, Science 341, 1496-1499 (2013)
  • Yoshinori Okada, Daniel Walkup, Hsin Lin, Chetan Dhital, Tay-Rong Chang, Sovit Khadka, Wenwen Zhou, Horng-Tay Jeng, Arun Bansil, Ziqiang Wang, Stephen Wilson, V. Madhavan, Imaging the evolution of metallic states in a spin-orbit interaction driven correlated iridate, Nature Materials12, 707-713 (2013)

Related news

  • Research Funding

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, through its Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Initiative (EPiQS), has awarded substantial research funding to two experimental condensed matter physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Physics Professors Peter Abbamonte and Vidya Madhavan will receive EPiQS Experimental Investigator awards of $1.6 million each over the next five years.

EPiQS prioritizes high-risk, high-reward fundamental research programs in quantum materials, to foster scientific breakthroughs. EPiQS experimental investigators have the freedom to pursue challenging and novel research directions of the scientists’ own choosing.

  • Research

Particle chasing—it’s a game that so many physicists play. Sometimes the hunt takes place inside large supercolliders, where spectacular collisions are necessary to find hidden particles and new physics. For physicists studying solids, the game occurs in a much different environment and the sought-after particles don’t come from furious collisions. Instead, particle-like entities, called quasiparticles, emerge from complicated electronic interactions that happen deep within a material. Sometimes the quasiparticles are easy to probe, but others are more difficult to spot, lurking just out of reach.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Illinois, led by physicist Vidya Madhavan, in collaboration with researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the University of Maryland, Boston College, and ETH Zurich, have used high-resolution microscopy tools to peer at the inner-workings of an unusual type of superconductor, uranium ditelluride (UTe2). Their measurements reveal strong evidence that this material may be a natural home to an exotic quasiparticle that’s been hiding from physicists for decades. The study is published in the March 26 issue of Nature.  

  • Research
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Since the discovery two decades ago of the unconventional topological superconductor Sr2RuO4, scientists have extensively investigated its properties at temperatures below its 1 K critical temperature (Tc), at which a phase transition from a metal to a superconducting state occurs. Now experiments done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Madhavan and Abbamonte laboratories, in collaboration with researchers at six institutions in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, and Japan, have shed new light on the electronic properties of this material at temperatures 4 K above Tc. The team’s findings may elucidate yet-unresolved questions about Sr2RuO4’s emergent properties in the superconducting state.