Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Meera Aravinth L&S Sciences

Investigating Magnetism in FexWSe2

Electromagnetism is a fundamental physical phenomenon, but there is still much to learn about how and why it takes shape in solids, where the interactions between many atoms can create unique and unexpected magnetic and electronic features. This summer, my SURF project will be an investigation of magnetism in FexWSe2. WSe2 is a transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD), which are often layered, quasi-2D materials which are being studied widely due to their promise in revealing foundational aspects of physics in low-dimensional systems. Intercalating a TMD with a transition metal such as iron can introduce exotic magnetic and electronic structures to the system and create features which could be useful in technological applications. I hope to spend this summer synthesizing a high-quality bulk crystal of FexWSe2 and then characterizing its magnetic features in the laboratory. Additionally, I will be learning techniques to analyze magnetization data and make predictions about interesting properties that may be present in this material. The successful growth and characterization of FexWSe2 would be a valuable study into a new material which could further our understanding of fundamental physics in solids.

Message To Sponsor

The SURF experience this summer was an important experience for me in exploring different avenues in my research interest. My original plans for this summer's project were disrupted due to the pandemic, but the alternative work really deepened my understanding of my field and has taught me new skills which I wouldn't have learned otherwise. Participating in the workshops and having the experience of speaking to other SURF fellows have really helped me solidify my plans and help prepare for further research as well as graduate school and a future career. I enjoyed the experience of communicating about my research, as well as hearing about all the amazing work being done by undergraduates at Cal. It was a truly incredible summer, and I thank my donors and the SURF program for making it possible!
Major: Physics, Math
Mentor: James Analytis
Sponsor: Kay & Shaw Fund
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