Research

Although the topic of this blog will meander from time to time, I’m mostly a quantum condensed matter theorist at the Institut de Physique Théorique, CEA Saclay and my main area of expertise is, you guessed it, quantum condensed matter theory.

Theoretical physics involves the mathematical study of physical systems in order to understand, predict and ultimately improve their properties. Condensed matter physics is a specific subject area, defined by Wikipedia as “a branch of physics that deals with the physical properties of condensed phases of matter” which is just maddeningly unhelpful.

In slightly less vague terms, my research is largely concerned with trying to understand the quantum mechanical properties of materials all around us, with the aim of harnessing those properties and designing the materials of the future. (Hey, I did say only ‘slightly’ less vague…)

My main research interest is the effect of disorder and randomness on the quantum mechanical properties of materials. Counter-intuitive though it may seem, disorder can lead to some potentially extremely useful effects…if we can understand them and learn how to use them.

If you’d like more details, you can check out my research work:

  • Time Evolution of Many-Body Localized Systems with the Flow Equation Approach, S. J. Thomson & M. Schiró, arXiv pre-print (2017) – arXiv:1707.06981
  • Measuring the Edwards-Anderson order parameter of the Bose glass: A quantum gas microscope approach, S. J. Thomson, L. S. Walker, T. L. Harte & G. D. Bruce, Physical Review A: Rapid Communication 94, 051601(R) (2016) – arXiv:1607.05254
  • The Effects of Disorder in Strongly Interacting Quantum Systems, University of St Andrews PhD Thesis (2016)
  • Bose and Mott glass phases in dimerized quantum antiferromagnets, S. J. Thomson & F. Krüger, Physical Review B: Rapid Communication 92, 180201(R) (2015) – arXiv:1506.08029
  • Replica symmetry breaking in the Bose glass, S. J. Thomson & F. Krüger, EPL (Europhysics Letters) 108, 30002 (2014) – arXiv:1312.0515
  • Helical glasses near ferromagnetic quantum criticality, S. J. Thomson, F. Krüger & A. G. Green, Physical Review B 87, 224203 (2013) –arXiv:1303.4300

You can also find out more about my research on my website, www.steventhomson.co.uk.

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