Congratulations to Professor Miguel Cazalilla on being elected Fellow of American Physical Society

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Congratulation to Prof. Cazalilla on being elected Fellow of American Physical Society

        Miguel Cazalilla is a Professor of Physics Department in National Tsing Hua University and currently a Center Scientist of NCTS. Previously he was a Distinguished Center Scientist and a member of the Executive Committee of the NCTS (2015-2018).  His research focuses on non-equilibrium phenomena in low-dimensional atomic and condensed matter systems.



       Miguel received his PhD in 1999 from the University of the Basque Country, located in the Northern part of Spain working under Pedro M. Echenique. As a graduate student, he did research on atomic collisions with solids, and used density functional theory to understand the response of metal surfaces in order to compute neutralization rates of Helium ions or energy losses of fast ions moving through them. Much of this work was heavily computational and far removed from what could be considered to be the “hottest” and most fashionable research topics in atomic and condensed matter Physics during the mid/late 1990s. However, this PhD work allowed Miguel to get exposed to some of the complexities of the many-body problem in the always lively, international, and stimulating atmosphere of Echenique’s group. It was during this time that he first heard, from a senior graduate student, about the Luttinger model, which would turn to be the focus of much his research in later years.  On a first contact, this model appeared rather incomprehensible, describing a system of interacting fermions with a linear dispersion unbounded from below. This was well before the advent of Dirac materials such as graphene and Weyl metals made linearly dispersing fermions almost a standard in the field of condensed matter physics.  However, at the time,  this exactly solvable model and its relatives were the subject of intense research by condensed matter communities working on mesoscopic and strongly correlated systems. 

   Moving  to the United States as a postdoc at the end of 1999,  Miguel joined the group of Brad Marston at Brown University where he got a first chance to work on one-dimensional correlated quantum systems. Together with 
Marston, Miguel developed the first time-dependent extension of the Density Matrix Renormalization Group algorithm (DMRG) [1], which had been introduced earlier by Steve White [2] for the calculation of ground and low-lying state properties. This early extension of DMRG  (which they called time-dependent DMRG) was applied to the study of the non-equilibrium conduction of electrons through junctions of one dimensional interacting systems as well as quantum dots in the Kondo regime. However, in recent years, more sophisticated extensions  of this method have found extensive application in the simulation  of the dynamics of strongly correlated one-dimensional ultra cold gases of atoms and ions (see e.g. [3] for a few recent examples)

   Having done a decent amount of computational work, Miguel decided to almost entirely turn to analytical theory and started using mostly pencil and paper in the early 2000s. Like the Mingei potters in the 1920s had turned to hand-made traditional crafts at the dawning of the industrial age in Japan, this was done at a time when large computational resources and complex software packages were being extensively deployed to study problems both in condensed matter and ultracold atomic gases. 

   This year, Miguel was nominated by the Division of Atomic and Molecular Physics and Fellow of the American Physical Society. In his citation, it can be read "For fundamental contributions to the understanding of one-dimensional quantum systems in and out of equilibrium.” The citation refers to a body of work that includes his pioneering work on time-dependent DMRG [1] and  a series of articles written first as a postdoctoral fellow at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics  (ICTP) in Trieste (Italy), and subsequently at various positions at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), the Center for Materials Physics in San Sebastian (Spain), and NTHU. In this work, Miguel explored the equilibrium properties of trapped one-dimensional (1D) ultra cold gases [4], 1D mixtures of Bose gases and Fermi gases [5], and arrays of coupled 1D Bose gases [6]. Much of this research (some of it done in collaboration with Andrew F. Ho (now at Royal Holloway and Thierry Giamarchi, from the University of Geneva), was collected in a review article published in the prestigious APS journal “Reviews of Modern Physics” [7].  

   An important milestone in Miguel’s work on 1D quantum systems was reached after attending a workshop in Dresden (Germany) in 2006. During this event,  Marcos Rigol (now at Penn State University, US) reported on his beautiful computational  work [1] demonstrating that 1D integrable systems fail to thermalize to the standard Gibbs after suddenly being  driven out of equilibrium. Rigol showed numerically that such systems thermalize instead to a Generalization of the Gibbs ensemble that is obtained from the Maximum entropy principle. This work motivated Miguel to try to find an analytically tractable example that could provide further evidence for the failure to thermalize and  allow to investigate the mechanisms by which thermalization to the Generalized Gibbs Ensemble (GGE) takes place. The answer to these questions was found [8] in the Luttinger model. This work was the starting point for a series of articles with several collaborators [9]. In particular, together with Ming-Chiang Chung from National Chung Hsin University,  Miguel addressed the thermalization mechanisms to the GGE in other exactly solvable models and its connections to concepts in quantum information theory such as entanglement. More than 10 years after the publication of Ref.[8],  Miguel and Ming-Chiang were invited to write a review article surveying this subfield [10].

     In recent years, the focus of Miguel’s work has drifted a bit away from the physics of 1D ultracold atomic gases into the realm of solid state materials. Together with his group at the NTHU and other collaborators, he is studying the transport properties of weakly disordered two-dimensional and topological materials. In particular, he is interested in understanding how the properties of these  systems can be affected by the controlled introduction of impurities and strain [11,12].

     Miguel is grateful for the continued support of his family, especially 
his wife Tomoko. He also gratefully acknowledges the great deal of good advice, inspiration and/or collaboration, as well as the support received from his PhD mentor and many other senior (and not so senior) colleagues. Finally, he thanks the FSM for much spiritual relief. 

[1] M. A. Cazalilla and J. B. Marston,  Physical Review Letters 88, 256403 
[2] S. R. White Physical Review Letters 69, 2863 (1992).
[3] I. Danshita , Physical Review  Letters 111, 025303 (2013); M. Tezuka, 
A. M. Garcia-Garcia,  and M. A. Cazalilla, Physical Review A 90, 053618 
[4] M. A. Cazalilla, Europhysics Letters ,  M. A. Cazalilla Journal of 
Physics B 37, S1 (2004).
[5] M. A. Cazalilla, and A. F. Ho Physical Review Letters 91, 150403 
(2003); M. A. Cazalilla, A. F. Ho, and  T. Giamarchi, Physical Review 
Letters 95, 226402 (2005).
[6]  A. F. Ho, M. A. Cazalilla, and T. Giamarchi, Physical Review Letters 
92, 130405 (2004); M. A. Cazalilla, A. F. Ho, and T. Giamarchi, New Journal 
of Physics  8, 158 (2006). 
[7]  M. A. Cazalilla, R. Citro, T. Giamarchi, E. Orignac, and M. Rigol,     
Reviews of Modern Physics 83, 1405 (2011).
[8]  M. A. Cazalilla, Physical Review Letters 97, 156403 (2006).
[9]  A. Iucci and M. A. Cazalilla New Journal Physics12, 055019 (2010); 
ibid Phys. Rev. A, 80, 063619 (2009). 
[10] M. A. Cazalilla and M.-C. Chung Journal of Statistical Mechanics: 
Theory and Experiment (2016), 064004.
[11] C. Huang, Y. D. Chong, and M. A. Cazalilla Physical Review B 94, 
085414 (2016); C. Huang, Y. D. Chong, and  M. A. Cazalilla, Physical Review 
Letters 119, 136804 (2017); J. H .Zheng, and M. A. Cazalilla, Physical 
Review B 97, 235402 (2018).
[12]  X. P.  Zhang, C. Huang, and M. A. Cazalilla 2D Materials 4, 024007 
Last modification time:2018-10-05 PM 4:17

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