Assistant Professor of Physics
PhD in condensed-matter physics (theory) from the University of Missouri, Columbia (2013)
I joined the faculty team at the Physics Department in fall 2017. Prior to this appointment, I've been postdoctoral fellow researcher at a materials science institute in Madrid, Spain and also at my PhD alma mater. I am very excited to practice active-learning methods in my teachings, engage students in my research, and to serve the University to promote students lives.
Graphene: One of my major research interests is centered in the physics of low-dimensional materials. At the frontier of the field, it is the thinnest, the strongest and the first-two-dimensional material known as graphene, a single sheet of graphite (the material of the pencil lead) with chicken-wire arrangement (honeycomb lattice) of carbon atoms. Graphene was isolated from graphite in 2004 at the University of Manchester and, due to its unique priperties and promising applications, its discovery was recognized with 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Carbon is the most biocompatible element; however, it is also a nonmagnetic element which renders graphene to be nonmagnetic. I have worked for several years on two main methods of inducing magnetsim in graphene: adding magnetic and nonmagnetic impurities (such as hydrogen) to the material or inducing the magnetism by making the material imperfect, namely producing carbon vacancies in its lattice. Both of these research endeavors seek to contribute to the birth of the first, metal-free, lightweight, and biocompatible carbon-based magnet whose magnetism could be switched on and off by applying a tiny electric field. Such a magnet can potentially lead to miniaturization of future magnetic sensors and data storage devices to an unprecedented level.
I am also fascinated by the physics of quantum Hall states for graphene electrons in the presence of a magnetic field. In particular, I have studied how electrons in graphene respond to a perpendicular magnetic field acting as a visoucs fluid. The non-disprsive viscosity associated with this flow of electrons is known as the Hall viscosity. This anomalous transport coefficient of the quantum Hall states is topologically protected in rotationally-invariant systems, which makes it a topological label to distinguish various quantum Hall states. From the application point of view, measuring the Hall viscosity may lead to the identification of candidates for topological quantum computation.
M. Sherafati, S. Satpathy, RKKY interaction in graphene from the lattice
Green’s function, Phys. Rev. B, 83, 165425 (2011).
M. Sherafati, S. Satpathy, Analytical expression for the RKKY interaction in
doped graphene, Phys. Rev. B 84, 125416 (2011).
B. R. K. Nanda, M. Sherafati, Z. S. Popovic, S. Satpathy, Electronic structure
of the substitutional vacancy in graphene: Density-functional and Green’s
function studies, New J. Phys. 14, 083004 (2012).
M. Sherafati, A. Principi and G. Vignale, Hall viscosity and electromagnetic
response of electrons in graphene, Phys. Rev. B 94, 125427 (2016).
Strongly-correlated Materials: I am also interested in the physics of so-called strongly-correlated materials where the electron-electron repulsion plays a pivital role in their fascinating properties. A large class of materials fall into this category such as high-temperature superconductors and transition-metal oxides. In particular, I have been focused on metal-insulator transition in these materials trigerred by a change in their temperature, or applying a pressure.
M. Sherafati, S. Satpathy and D. Pettey, Gutzwiller variational method for
intersite Coulomb interactions: The spinless fermion model in one dimension,
Phys. Rev. B 88, 035114 (2013).
M. Sherafati, M. Baldini, L. Malavasi and S. Satpathy, Percolative Insulator-
Metal Transition in LaMnO3, Phys. Rev. B 93, 024107 (2016).
M. Baldini, T. Muramatsu, M. Sherafati, H-K. Mao, L. Malavasi, P. Postorino,
S. Satpathy, and V. V. Struzhkin, Origin of colossal magneto-resistance in
LaMnO3 manganite, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
USA (PNAS), PNAS 112, 10869 (2015).