Peter Schiffer

Professor of Physics
323 Jadwin Hall



Research Interests: 

Professor Schiffer’s research group focuses on experimental studies of magnetic materials and nanostructures.  These systems are important technologically and also provide excellent model systems in which to explore new physics. Previous topics of study have included geometrically frustrated magnets, in which the spins enter cooperative spin liquid and spin ice phases at low temperatures, and exotic magnetoeletronic materials that display strong coupling between their magnetic and electronic properties. Recent research in our group has focused on the study of frustrated magnetic nanostructures known as  ‘artificial spin ice’, composed of arrays of thousands of precisely arranged nanometer-scale magnets.

Artificial spin ice systems are frustrated by design, in that no set of orientations of the magnetic poles can align the north and south poles of the magnets for every pair of neighboring magnets.  The advantage to studying these systems is that they are both designable and resolvable: i.e., we can control the array geometry, and we can also observe how individual elements of the arrays behave.  By choosing the right geometries, we can experimentally explore physical phenomena that are inaccessible in natural magnetic materials, and make close comparisons with theory.  The group studies both artificial spin ice systems and the material properties of relevant magnetic materials, employing magnetic force microscopy, photoemission electron microscopy, electronic transport, and bulk magnetization measurements in our experiments.


Representative Publications: