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Benjamin Hunt

Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D., Physics, Cornell University, 2009

Benjamin “Ben” Hunt received his B.S. in Physics from McGill University in his native Canada followed by his Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell University. After a postdoc at MIT, he joined the Columbia University as a Research Associate and then Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 as an Assistant Professor of Physics. He was a key contributor in a breakthrough study that demonstrated a unique band gap in a heterostructure of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride and the emergence of a fractal phenomenon in the electronic structure called the Hofstadter butterfly. This finding could lead to the development of the material for functional transistors.


I am broadly interested in condensed-matter physics, but particularly in the way that electrons behave when they are subjected to extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Under such conditions, electrons can display striking collective quantum behavior such as superconductivity, fractionalization of charge, and crystallization. Currently, we are investigating phenomena such as these by studying:
The physics of low-dimensional structures, especially “van der Waals heterostructures” of two-dimensional crystals (the most familiar of which is graphene), which we build in the lab and then fashion into mesoscopic devices using nanofabrication techniques, and
A variety of methods for probing these mesoscopic devices, such as electronic transport, capacitance, tunneling spectroscopy, and shot noise.


Title Position Email
Qingrui Cao Graduate Student
Sergio de la Barrera Postdoctoral Fellow
Nathan Drucker Undergraduate Student
Devashish Gopalan Graduate Student
Erin Grimes Graduate Student
John Lyons Graduate Student
Joe Seifert Graduate Student
Dmitry Shcherbakov
Michael Sinko Graduate Student
Jingyi Wu Undergraduate Student
Dengyu Yang Postdoctoral Fellow
Most Cited Publications

"Massive Dirac Fermions and Hofstadter Butterfly in a van der Waals Heterostructure," B Hunt, JD Sanchez-Yamagishi, AF Young, M Yankowitz, Brian J LeRoy, K Watanabe, T Taniguchi, P Moon, M Koshino, P Jarillo-Herrero, RC Ashoori, Science 340, 1427 (2013)
"Tunable symmetry breaking and helical edge transport in a graphene quantum spin Hall state,"A. F. Young, J. D. Sanchez-Yamagishi,  B. Hunt, S. H. Choi, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, R. C. Ashoori & P. Jarillo-Herrero, Nature 505, 528 (2014)
"Evidence for a Superglass State in Solid 4He," B. Hunt, E. Pratt, V. Gadagkar, M. Yamashita, A. V. Balatsky, J. C. Davis, Science 324, 632 (2009)
"Nature of the quantum metal in a two-dimensional crystalline superconductor," A. W. Tsen, B. Hunt, Y. D. Kim, Z. J. Yuan, S. Jia, R. J. Cava, J. Hone, P. Kim, C. R. Dean & A. N. Pasupathy, Nature Physics 12, 208 (2016)
"Interplay of rotational, relaxational, and shear dynamics in solid 4he," EJ Pratt, B Hunt, V Gadagkar, M Yamashita, MF Graf, AV Balatsky, and JC Davis.  Science 332 (2011)

Recent Publications

"Electron transport in multi-dimensional fuzzy graphene nanostructures,"  R Garg, D Gopalan, SC de la Barrera, H Hafiz, NT Nuhfer, V Viswanathan, BM Hunt, and T Cohen-Karni.  Nano Letters (2019)
"Coexistence of quantum spin hall edge state and proximity-induced superconducting gap in monolayer 1T'-WTe2," F Lupke, D Waters, SC de la Barrera, M Widom, DG Mandrus, J Yan, RM Feenstra, and BM Hunt.   arXiv (2019)
"Tuning Ising superconductivity with layer and spin-orbit coupling in two-dimensional transition-metal dichalcogenides." de la Barrera, Sergio C., Michael R. Sinko, Devashish P. Gopalan, Nikhil Sivadas, Kyle L. Seyler, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi et al. Nature Communications 9 (2018).
"Proximity effect induced magnetism in graphene." Gopalan, Devashish, Joe Seifert, Amanda Haglund, David Mandrus, Marek Skowronski, and Benjamin Hunt. Bulletin of the American Physical Society (2018).
Hunt, Benjamin. "Ising superconductivity and quantum metal in the two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides TaS2 and NbSe2." Bulletin of the American Physical Society (2018).