Chandrasekhar Ramanathan Selected as 2023 Moore Experimental Physics Investigator

The prestigious grant will fund research that could help guide the design of next-generation quantum technologies.

Physics professor Chandrasekhar Ramanathan has been selected as an Experimental Physics Investigator by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The foundation's Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative awarded grants to support 21 experimental physicists across the country. Each investigator will receive $1.25 million over five years to advance the scientific frontier in experimental physics.
"This extremely prestigious recognition of Professor Ramanathan's accomplishments is both exciting and highly appropriate," says Associate Dean for the Sciences Jane Lipson. "His research pushes the boundaries of understanding that lie at the interface of experiment and theory in quantum mechanics, and his accomplishments have made him a sought-after collaborator. He has also enriched our Dartmouth community as an accomplished teacher and an outstanding mentor."

Ramanathan, who joined Dartmouth's faculty in 2010, conducts research at the interface of quantum information processing and condensed matter physics. His lab utilizes magnetic resonance methods to control the quantum dynamics of solid-state spin systems. The Moore grant will support the development of techniques to characterize "entanglement"—a form of quantum correlation—in electronic spin systems in solids.

Ramanathan's research will focus on developing experimentally accessible metrics to characterize entanglement. 
"Our aim is to use such measurements of entanglement to better understand how large, complex quantum systems reach equilibrium, a question that has fundamental implications for physical systems from the nanoscale to large-scale structures in the universe," he says.

Previous efforts to characterize many-body spin physics using electron and nuclear spins in solids exclusively characterized either the microscale or mesoscale dynamics. Ramanathan plans to design a platform on which both mesoscale and microscale properties of defects in diamond lattices are measured, enabling a deeper understanding of entanglement in solids.

"We are developing tools to simultaneously detect both local properties of the system at near atomic scales as well as the collective mesoscale dynamics of thousands of spins," Ramanathan says. "This experimental approach will provide unique insights into the behavior of interacting electronic spins at the nanoscale." 

Ramanathan's experimental techniques and the physical insights gained about how quantum systems reach equilibrium could help guide the design of next-generation quantum technologies, including sensors, storage devices, and even new materials.

Earlier this year, Ramanathan received the John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Promoted Faculty, which is awarded to faculty members recently promoted to full professor who have outstanding teaching and research records.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters pathbreaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient-care improvements, and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative supports investigators who are advancing research in experimental physics that improves scientific understanding of the natural world. Additionally, the foundation seeks to reinforce practices that promote inclusion and equitable access to education and career development within the experimental physics community.