University of Michigan
Citation: For her seminal studies on revealing and controlling complex textures of electric and magnetic moments in quantum materials using static and dynamic nonlinear optics.
Bio: Dr. Zhao received her B.S. degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2008 and her Ph.D. degree in physics from Columbia University in 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Abhay Pasupathy. Afterwards, she became a Richard Chase Tolman Fellow at California Institute of Technology in 2013 - 2016, working in the group of Prof. David Hsieh, before joining the Department of Physics at the University of Michigan in 01/2017 as an assistant professor.
Dr. Zhao's group is interested in probing, understanding, and eventually controlling emergent electronic and magnetic phases in quantum materials, including both three-dimensional (3D) bulk and two-dimensional (2D) atomic and moire crystals. In particular, her group focuses on the 3D and 2D materials with strong electron-electron interactions and/or strong spin orbit coupling. Her primary experimental tools are a broad set of optical spectroscopy and microscopy techniques, including linear and nonlinear, static and ultrafast, elastic and inelastic ones. Highlights of her recent research include 1) revealing, imaging, and controlling the ferro-rotational order, an order formed by head-to-tail arrangement of electric dipoles, that is commonly present in strongly correlated materials but hidden to many experimental probes; 2) understanding and designing 2D magnetism in both natural magnetic atomic crystals and artificial magnetic moire superlattices of twisted 2D magnets; and 3) exploring the connections and distinctions between the phase diagrams of high-Tc cuprates and perovskite iridates, a spin-orbit-coupled cuprate analogue system.
Selected awards for Dr. Zhao include 2021 Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, 2020 AFOSR YIP award, 2019 Bryan R. Coles Prize by SCES, and 2018 NSF CAREER award.