Humankind’s ability to shape and control the properties of matter is so crucial to our existence that we enumerate archaeological periods by the types of materials that we have learned to exploit. Recent advances open new possibilities to probe and control quantum materials on time and length scales that would have seemed the realm of science fiction just a few decades ago. In this talk I will begin by reviewing the key principles that govern the electronic properties of materials. I will then discuss how, by going beyond the traditional world of equilibrium physics, a wide range of new collective phenomena and opportunities for dynamical control of material properties become possible. As a final illustration, I will demonstrate a novel route to spontaneous magnetism that occurs through symmetry breaking in the collective (plasmon) modes of a driven metallic system. The mechanism is general, and estimates indicate that experimental realization should be within reach in present day high quality graphene devices. The approaches I will describe provide fertile ground for new fundamental studies of quantum many-body dynamics, as well as potential applications for example in electronics and information processing.
Prof. Rudner is theoretical condensed matter physicist, with a 2008 PhD, who since 2012 has been on the faculty at the Niels Bohr Institute, since 2017 as an Associate Professor. His broad interests include predicting the properties of periodically-driven many-body systems.