Executive Summary

Thomas P. Russell

Chair, Solid State Sciences Committee

The 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum, entitled “Materials in a New Era,” was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., on February 1617, 1999. The forum was designed to coincide with the release of the decadal report Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: Basic Research for Tomorrow 's Technology. The report, part of the series Physics in a New Era, reviews some of the outstanding accomplishments in materials research over the last decade and indicated some of the emerging areas where there is excitement in the field from a perspective of basic science as well as potential societal impact. The program for the forum was designed to highlight these accomplishments and emerging areas.

The 1st day of the forum focused on the national political environment surrounding materials science, the funding constraints under which materials scientists must operate, and the changing roles of government laboratories, industry, and academic institutions in promoting materials science. The 2nd day focused on education, infrastructure, and emerging areas in condensed-matter physics and materials science.

The tone of this forum was considerably more upbeat than that of the forum held 3 years ago. In the interim, the federal funding picture for scientific research has stabilized and improved, there is increased awareness of the value of sustained investment in research in Washington, and industrial support for physical science has stabilized. With such relatively good news, it is tempting for the community to become complacent about being recognized as an invaluable contributor to the U.S. and world economy. However, the message from the forum is clear—we, as a community, cannot afford to be complacent but must act proactively in bringing condensed-matter and materials physics to a more broadly based audience, including politicians and lay persons not versed in science. Doing so will require active participation by scientists in educating students on all levels and getting young students interested in materials physics. In addition, scientific research is becoming much more interdisciplinary. Some of the key advances in science are occurring at the interface between different disciplines. It is imperative that active dialogs be established between different communities to bring the knowledge and advances made in materials physics to other disciplines.

Summary of Articles

Keynote Address: Unlocking Our Future

Laura Lyman Rodriguez, a staff member in the office of Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), set the stage from a national perspective with the keynote presentation on the recently issued study Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy. This report, the result of a House of Representatives study headed by Representative Ehlers, was aimed at developing a national science policy appropriate for the 21st century. The study finds that the federal government, scientists, and educators must address several issues, as follows: (1) Our science policy is outdated, (2) the American public does not understand science and its practice, and (3) scientists are politically clueless. It is evident that our nation needs to improve its science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education; to develop a new concise, coherent, and comprehensive science policy; and to make its scientists socially responsible and politically aware. The report makes the following four major recommendations:

  1. Continue to push the boundaries of the scientific frontier by supporting interdisciplinary research, maintaining a balanced research portfolio, and funding more innovative “risk-taking” projects.

  2. Support private research efforts, an essential component of a healthy U.S. R&D portfolio, by encouraging young, startup companies, making the R&D tax credit permanent, streamlining regulations, and pursuing and developing effective partnerships.

  3. Increase efforts in education at all levels including preschool to graduate school; conduct research on curricula and education; address issues of teacher training, recruitment, and retention; provide for a more diversified graduate experience; and increase public outreach.

  4. Strengthen the relationship between science and the society that supports it through improved communication among scientists, journalists, and the public and by engaging the scientific community in helping society make good decisions.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum Executive Summary Thomas P. Russell Chair, Solid State Sciences Committee The 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum, entitled “Materials in a New Era,” was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., on February 1617, 1999. The forum was designed to coincide with the release of the decadal report Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: Basic Research for Tomorrow 's Technology. The report, part of the series Physics in a New Era, reviews some of the outstanding accomplishments in materials research over the last decade and indicated some of the emerging areas where there is excitement in the field from a perspective of basic science as well as potential societal impact. The program for the forum was designed to highlight these accomplishments and emerging areas. The 1st day of the forum focused on the national political environment surrounding materials science, the funding constraints under which materials scientists must operate, and the changing roles of government laboratories, industry, and academic institutions in promoting materials science. The 2nd day focused on education, infrastructure, and emerging areas in condensed-matter physics and materials science. The tone of this forum was considerably more upbeat than that of the forum held 3 years ago. In the interim, the federal funding picture for scientific research has stabilized and improved, there is increased awareness of the value of sustained investment in research in Washington, and industrial support for physical science has stabilized. With such relatively good news, it is tempting for the community to become complacent about being recognized as an invaluable contributor to the U.S. and world economy. However, the message from the forum is clear—we, as a community, cannot afford to be complacent but must act proactively in bringing condensed-matter and materials physics to a more broadly based audience, including politicians and lay persons not versed in science. Doing so will require active participation by scientists in educating students on all levels and getting young students interested in materials physics. In addition, scientific research is becoming much more interdisciplinary. Some of the key advances in science are occurring at the interface between different disciplines. It is imperative that active dialogs be established between different communities to bring the knowledge and advances made in materials physics to other disciplines. Summary of Articles Keynote Address: Unlocking Our Future Laura Lyman Rodriguez, a staff member in the office of Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), set the stage from a national perspective with the keynote presentation on the recently issued study Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy. This report, the result of a House of Representatives study headed by Representative Ehlers, was aimed at developing a national science policy appropriate for the 21st century. The study finds that the federal government, scientists, and educators must address several issues, as follows: (1) Our science policy is outdated, (2) the American public does not understand science and its practice, and (3) scientists are politically clueless. It is evident that our nation needs to improve its science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education; to develop a new concise, coherent, and comprehensive science policy; and to make its scientists socially responsible and politically aware. The report makes the following four major recommendations: Continue to push the boundaries of the scientific frontier by supporting interdisciplinary research, maintaining a balanced research portfolio, and funding more innovative “risk-taking” projects. Support private research efforts, an essential component of a healthy U.S. R&D portfolio, by encouraging young, startup companies, making the R&D tax credit permanent, streamlining regulations, and pursuing and developing effective partnerships. Increase efforts in education at all levels including preschool to graduate school; conduct research on curricula and education; address issues of teacher training, recruitment, and retention; provide for a more diversified graduate experience; and increase public outreach. Strengthen the relationship between science and the society that supports it through improved communication among scientists, journalists, and the public and by engaging the scientific community in helping society make good decisions.

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum Materials and the Federal Role The interdependence of different fields of research was emphasized by a number of representatives of federal agencies. Office of Science and Technology Policy Arthur Bienenstock, Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), emphasized the Clinton administration's unequivocal commitment to maintaining leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge. Technology and the underlying science in many fields are responsible for more than 50 percent of the increases in productivity that we have enjoyed over the last 50 years. The various branches of science are truly interdependent—progress in one field depends on advances in many other areas. As an example, Bienenstock pointed to computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans, one of the mainstays of medical diagnostics, asking why it took so long after the discovery of x-rays for the technology to develop. Progress in many fields was needed to make the technology a reality—solid state physics and engineering to enable the computers that control the instrument and collect and analyze the data, materials science to provide the x-ray detectors, and mathematics and computer science for the algorithms to reconstruct the image from the raw data. CAT scans would not exist today if any of these were missing. National Institutes of Health Marvin Cassman, Director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, further embroidered the theme of interdependence by discussing the multidisciplinary nature of research at major facilities such as synchrotrons and neutron sources. In the United States, most such facilities are funded by agencies with major responsibilities for condensed-matter and materials research. Biological research, however, is finding an increasing need for these facilities and now accounts for a significant fraction of all work being carried out at these national sources. Appropriate cooperation among these communities and the agencies that fund them will be essential to the continued viability of these important and extremely costly facilities. An interagency working group has been formed under the auspices of OSTP to facilitate such cooperation. U.S. Department of Energy Martha Krebs, Director of the Department of Energy Office of Science, presented the view from her office. The fiscal year 2000 budget request for the Office of Science is $189 million greater than that for the fiscal year 1999 budget. This increase is largely for construction of the Spallation Neutron Source and for the Scientific Simulation Initiative, an interagency initiative that will bring teraflopscale computing to bear on a number of problems including global systems, combustion, and basic science (which may include materials). Krebs identified a number of future directions and opportunities in materials research including neutron scattering, materials at high magnetic fields, sp2-bonded materials, granular materials, complex materials, and high-temperature superconductors. U.S. Department of Defense Hans Mark, Director for Defense Research and Engineering in the Department of Defense (DOD), began his presentation by noting the basic axiom that possession of superior technology leads to victory in war. However, what has not been recognized is that fundamental scientific research is the link between superior technology and basic knowledge. He outlined four new science and technology topics that the Defense Science Board should be considering and invited the community to suggest others. The ones he suggested were: “Strange” molecules, i.e., fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, or hyperbranched molecules; Predictive chaos theory/nonlinear dynamics and its applicability to national security; Software development, especially new techniques for producing software such as genetic algorithm development and application and automation of software development; and High-power electrical devices. He emphasized that it is essential for the U.S. military to receive the best possible scientific information and, to this end, the DOD will continue to support basic research.

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum National Institute of Standards and Technology Raymond Kammer, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), outlined the impact that NIST has had in materials science including the high quality of research performed in its laboratories, the research facilities that are provided to the scientific community, and the Advanced Technology Program that has an impact on the industrial sector of research in the United States. With the growth of industrial interest in soft materials, including biomaterials, the drive toward nanoscale structures, and the importance of magnetic materials, it is essential that NIST remain on the forefront of research in these fields. NIST will continue to develop, build, and operate the best possible research facilities where NIST will play a special role. National Science Foundation Robert A. Eisenstein, the Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences of the National Science Foundation (NSF), surveyed the broad range of research currently supported by the NSF that spans length scales from the subatomic to the astronomic. Although Mathematical and Physical Sciences supports such a broad range of research, over the past 10 years its budget has only increased by 60 percent, an increase that can be compared with the nearly doubled budget of the National Science Foundation. Mathematical and Physical Sciences is not keeping pace, with greater budgetary increases going to Engineering, Biology, Education, and Computer Science. Can this be changed? Only if the direct impact of Mathematical and Physical Sciences research on these other fields and on society in general is demonstrated and argued convincingly. Quoting Neal Lane, “It is necessary to involve materials scientists in a new role, undoubtedly an awkward one for many, that might be called the ‘civic scientist.' This role is one in which science shares in defining our future.” Materials R&D in a Changing World Report of the Committee on Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics The focal point of the forum was the report of the Committee on Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics (CMMP), Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics: Basic Research for Tomorrow 's Technology. Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, chaired this committee and summarized the report. Over the past decade, CMMP has been marked by the unexpected. If one looks at the last decadal study by Brinkman (Physics Through the 1990s, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1986), the majority of major findings were far from expectations. One need only look at the discoveries of fullerenes, giant magnetoresistance, the fractional quantum Hall effect, and atomic force microscopy, to name a few, to see the impact that the unforeseen has had on science and society in general. CMMP, however, faces stringent challenges in the future to ensure its intellectual vitality and transfer of knowledge to practical applications. In general, science is becoming multidisciplinary in that advances in different fields are brought about by the integration of the expertise existent in specific subfields. For the scientific effort to succeed, facilities infrastructure needs to be in place so that research by a broad community can be enabled in an efficient and effective manner. New modes of cooperation between the academic, industrial, and government communities must be established to ensure a connectivity of CMMP with society and to preserve the innovative climate. The future of science lies with students who are currently being trained or will be trained at our universities. Yet, with the multidisciplinary nature of research, academic institutions need to evaluate and, perhaps, modify the curriculum to train students in the best way. Narayanamurti went on to describe several actions that must be taken to maintain and enhance the productivity of CMMP. The different government funding agencies need to nurture the core research effort, modernize the CMMP research infrastructure, and invest in state-of-the-art equipment. Concerning larger facilities, the current gap between the United States and the rest of the world in neutron science needs to be closed by construction of the Spallation Neutron Source and by upgrading existing reactor and spallation-based sources. Support of operating, and upgrading existing, synchrotron sources and investment in the next generation of synchrotron sources should be strengthened. Incentives should be provided for partnerships among academic, industrial, and government laboratories. Universities need to enhance the students ' understanding of both the role of knowledge integration and transfer and also knowledge creation. Can we predict where advances will be made? Absolutely not. Nonetheless, it is abundantly clear that the success achieved in CMMP has had an impact that transcends many disciplines and has led to marked advances in completely unexpected areas.

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum Materials R&D in Industry Cherry A. Murray, Director of Research at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, discussed materials R&D in the industrial sector. The development of corporate research in the United States since the 1970s has evolved from “ just in case” to “just in time” to “just indispensable.” Without question, industrial research is becoming more tightly coupled to products, and the opportunities to conduct “blue sky” research (i.e., research completely disconnected from the bottom line) are very limited. However, the technological advances that have been witnessed during the past decade now place technology in the position of pushing fundamental limits. As a consequence, many companies are now increasing their support of long-term research. To maintain a competitive edge, companies must maintain “in-house” competencies, stimulate innovation, fuel growth, and broaden the product portfolios. But why the need for research? Inventions, technological expertise, and strong intellectual property positioning are the answer. Murray concluded with the remark that “. . . physical sciences research is as essential as ever for leading-edge high-technology companies.” Changing Roles for Research Universities J. David Litster of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology described the current funding transition in which research universities are involved. Using his home institution as an example, Litster noted the enormous pressure that universities are facing in terms of overhead recovery rates with the flat or declining budgets. During the 1980s federal funding for student financial aid showed a significant decrease, from 50 percent to 20 percent, with the universities being left to make up the difference. To make up these large financial burdens, universities have turned to industrial support for research. However, a delicate balance must be struck, because industry is sensitive to intellectual property and ownership, whereas universities must be free to publish. Changing Roles for Government Laboratories John McTague, recently retired Vice President of Ford Motor Company and Co-chair of the Secretary of Energy's Laboratory Operations Board, addressed the challenges that face government laboratories. How can the national laboratories operate as a truly integrated system working more efficiently to address the problems of national importance? McTague cited the four specific examples: the Center for Excellence for Synthesis and Processing of Advanced Materials, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, the Spallation Neutron Source, and the Information Technology for the 21st Century. Each of these examples is based on interactive, collaborative efforts among several national laboratories, which will require them to operate in a concerted manner from the management level down to the laboratory bench level. McTague concluded by noting that he was cautiously optimistic that the national laboratories will be able to meet this challenge. The laboratories may evolve beyond being simply a collection of isolated institutions. Panel Discussion of the Future of Materials R&D The first day concluded with a panel discussion including Cherry A. Murray, Venkatesh Narayanamurti, Thomas Weber of the National Science Foundation, William Oosterhuis of the Department of Energy, Skip Stiles, a member of the House Science Committee Minority Staff, and Harlan Watson, a member of the House Science Committee Majority Staff. Although the members of the panel fully agreed that CMMP has a compelling case for support, that the impact of CMMP in society has been significant, and that the importance of CMMP in industry has been and will continue to be great, these facts are not sufficient to ensure the health and prosperity of the field. Specifically, scientists need to continually “beat the stump” with local and national politicians, educating them on the manner in which CMMP has had significant impact on their constituents and why future funding is essential. Although all these arguments have been made in the past, the transmission of this message has not been effective. Even with convincing arguments, the funding of the scientific enterprise is still faced with the reality that spending caps will be in place over the next 2 years and that no new money will materialize unless these caps are lifted. The Frist-Rockefeller bill (S. 1305) authorizing a doubling of research funding is a good organizational tool but will not produce more funding and does not bind future Congresses.

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum Materials Education and Infrastructure Materials Education for the 21st Century Robert P.H. Chang of Northwestern University presented several sobering facts concerning the current state of education in the United States and stated the imminent need for educational reform in materials science if the field is to remain vibrant. From the low number of American students attending college and advancing on to higher degrees to the overall poor performance of American children in international testing and the dearth of teachers trained in materials science, the outlook for the future of materials science must be of concern to every materials scientist at all institutions—academic, industrial, and government. Materials science, essential in our everyday lives and vital to our future, still has a very low profile in secondary education. Materials science is an ever-changing discipline with new areas continually emerging, and it is necessary for academic institutions to shift in a commensurate time frame. Although easily said, this is difficult to realize given the slow rate at which academic institutions can change. Consequently, existing resources, such as the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers and Science and Technology Centers funded by the National Science Foundation, must be used to best advantage. Outreach programs of the centers serve K-12 education needs. Although these programs are effective, they are simply not enough. Chang' s studies indicate that the middle school and high school years are a particularly crucial time in the educational development of children. At this age, many students lose interest in materials science, and we must ask ourselves why this occurs and how materials science education can bridge the gap between high school and college. Chang concluded that all materials science initiatives must undertake to foster greater awareness of the importance of materials science education, introduce materials science at the high school level to enhance mathematics and science education, and get teachers involved in materials science education. Meeting the Challenge in Neutron Science Thom Mason, Science Coordinator for the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, outlined the status of this $1.3 billion project that involves an integrated effort from the five national laboratories. The history of neutron sources has been marked by several key threshold points. In particular, for neutron scattering, the development of the graphite reactor at Oak Ridge, the National Research Universal reactor in Canada, and the development of neutron waveguides marked significant breakthroughs in the use of neutrons for materials research. We stand now on another threshold with the planned construction of the Spallation Neutron Source at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This will be the world's most powerful pulsed neutron source. It will enable qualitatively new and different science in disciplines ranging from materials science to biological sciences. The Spallation Neutron Source will offer nearly one order of magnitude enhancement in the neutron flux on the sample over existing spallation sources and will open new areas of materials science. Is the pathway straightforward and without obstacles? Any effort that involves five different national laboratories and that requires each component constructed at the different laboratories to operate perfectly and to mesh with exceptional precision will not be straightforward. The construction of the Spallation Neutron Source is technically difficult. And the coordination of five different laboratories operating under severe budget constraints poses a significant managerial challenge. Nonetheless, the future of materials science based on neutrons rests on the Spallation Neutron Source. It is absolutely imperative for the scientific well-being of the nation that the Spallation Neutron Source be successfully completed on time and within budget. Toward a Fourth-Generation Light Source David E. Moncton, Director of the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, described the advances that have been made in the x-ray flux with the developments in synchrotron radiation sources and the science that these sources have enabled. The developments of these sources have been driven by the urgent and compelling needs of science. In turn, the massive increases in flux have also opened unexpected areas of science. Fourth-generation sources offer spectacular gains in flux and brilliance; large quantitative improvements in beam coherence, timing, and dynamics; and large qualitative improvements in photon degeneracy over current sources. Such sources hold opportunities in

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum atomic and molecular physics, biology, chemical physics, materials science, high-field physics, and soft matter physics. Smaller Facilities—Opportunities and Needs J. Murray Gibson, University of Illinois, addressed an often overlooked, yet essential component of materials science research, namely, the smaller facilities that include, for example, electron microscopy facilities, ion beam facilities, and mass spectrometry facilities. These facilities lie in the intermediate funding range, being too expensive for any single investigator to consider for funding, yet too small to capture the attention on a national level. However, these facilities perform an exceptionally vital role in materials science research, enabling a tremendous amount of research across the nation, and provide capabilities far beyond that afforded by the laboratory of an individual researcher. Maintaining and upgrading these facilities is by no means inexpensive. Operating costs upwards of $1 million with replacements costs of over $2 million annually is not uncommon. Yet, the number of mechanisms that such centers have for obtaining the necessary funding is limited. Many are situated at NSF-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers, Science and Technology Centers, and Engineering Research Centers or Department of Energy-supported Materials Research Laboratories. Although such centers have proven to be important, opening different avenues for support and maintenance of these centers is critical. Materials R&D—A Vision of the Scientific Frontier The Science of Modern Technology This topic was discussed by Paul Peercy of SEMI/SEMATECH. Although the scientific discoveries over the past decade have been both unexpected and impressive, equally impressive have been the technological advances based on our increased understanding of the physics, chemistry, and processing of materials. These insights have enabled modern technology to keep pace with, if not exceed, the expectations set by Moore's Law. Scientific understanding has not only demonstrated the feasibility of advances in technology but also led the way to producing devices in a high-volume, low-cost manner. Today's technological revolution would not be possible without this basic understanding. This fact holds true for industries across the board, ranging from semiconductors to communications to commodity polymers. To keep pace, continued research in the optical, electrical, and magnetic properties of materials must continue. As size scales shrink, nanostructured materials, artificially structured materials, self-assembled systems, and biologically based systems will become increasingly important for future advances. Novel Quantum Phenomena in Condensed-Matter Systems Steven M. Girvin from Indiana University presented a lecture focused on novel quantum phenomena. He dispelled the notion that few surprises or intellectual challenges are left when one considers the physics of well-known objects, such as atoms, that interact via well-defined and well-understood electromagnetic forces. Superconductivity, superfluidity, and the fractional quantum Hall effect are three recent examples of surprises lurking in familiar systems. These phenomena underscore the fact that the quantum mechanics of large collections of objects can be unusual and unexpected. Emergent phenomena, such as phase transitions and broken symmetries, often appear in large collections of objects. These pose significant theoretical and experimental challenges to condensedmatter and materials physicists, because materials constructed from a large collection of atoms routinely have completely unexpected properties. Nonequilibrium Physics James S. Langer of the University of California, Santa Barbara, treated the subject of nonequilibrium physics—the physics of materials not in mechanical or thermal equilibrium with their surroundings. Although the Brinkman report recognized the importance of nonequilibrium behavior, some of the most important areas where nonequilibrium behavior is critical were completely overlooked. Areas that have emerged include topics ranging from friction and fracture to granular materials to ductility. Each of these rather familiar areas provides a prime example in which nonequilibrium physics plays a key role. One goal of nonequilibrium physics is to quantify the relationship

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum between precision and predictability. Nonequilibrium phenomena continually come to the foreground in the understanding of the response of a material to an applied external field or its ultimate properties. With increasing interactions between different disciplines, it is evident that nonequilibrium phenomena will increase in importance. Soft Condensed Matter V. Adrian Parsegian of the National Institutes of Health underscored the importance of condensed-matter and materials physics to the biological community and the general importance of cross-disciplinary research. One can look at the advances that have been made with high-powered synchrotron and neutron sources where advances in one field have a significant impact on another. As discussed previously by Cassman, the number of protein structures that are being solved has increased by a large factor through advances developed by the synchrotron community. However, it is not sufficient simply to offer the most sophisticated instrumentation. At present, physicists are simply off the radar screen of most biologists, where the former are considered as being insular and parochial. It is necessary to establish a dialog between the different communities. Doing so, however, will require an education of both physicists and biologists that will increase the awareness of the two communities of each other and, thereby, stimulate interactions. Fractional Charges and Other Tales from Flatland Horst Störmer of Bell Laboratories and Columbia University, who recently shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in physics with D.C. Tsui and Robert Laughlin for their discovery of the fractional quantum Hall effect, addressed the forum with his “Tales from Flatland” where electrons can move along a two-dimensional surface, being confined in the third dimension, and carry a fractional charge. Fractional charges arise when a two-dimensional gas of electrons becomes highly correlated. In an animated presentation, Störmer took the forum attendees through the initial discovery of the quantum Hall effect to experiments performed under very high magnetic fields where fractionally charged excitations are observed.

OCR for page 3
Materials in a New Era: Proceedings of the 1999 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum This page in the original is blank.