Otto-Hahn-Medaille for Maja Bachmann

May 04, 2021

Maja Bachmann of the Physics of Quantum Materials department has been awarded the Otto-Hahn-Medaille of the Max Planck Society for her outstanding doctoral research.

We offer our warm congratulations to Dr Maja Bachmann, who has been awarded an Otto-Hahn-Medaille by the Max Planck Society. Maja has been honoured for her outstanding doctoral research, carried out jointly between the Microstructured Quantum Materials group of Prof. Philip Moll (now at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and the Physics of Quantum Materials Department.

After two semesters doing graduate courses in St Andrews, Maja returned to the laboratory with her customary enthusiasm, and embarked on a series of virtuoso experiments on CeIrIn5 and PdCoO2. For each project she developed novel microfabrication techniques which gave her access to new physics. In CeIrIn5, in collaboration with the groups of Katja Nowack and Brad Ramshaw from Cornell University, she resolved a two-decades old puzzle about differences between the superconducting transition temperature measured by different techniques. In PdCoO2 she performed an extremely rigorous investigation of a mesoscopic effect called transverse electron focusing which can only be observed in very high purity metals. Her results showed qualitative differences to analogous experiments in similar materials. She hypothesised, and then proved experimentally, that the unusual aspects of her data were due to a strong bias in the directions of the quasiparticle trajectories that depended on the orientation of the device relative to the Fermi surface. Following up on this observation, she demonstrated that the ballistic physics in PdCoO2 is highly directional, something that had not previously been seen in any high purity two-dimensional electron system. Maja's thesis work combined intellectual depth with thorough and comprehensive experimental studies that were fuelled by her natural love of experimental physics, and she is richly deserving of this award.

APM

The picture shows Maja where she spent many, many happy hours during her time in Dresden – working with a focused ion beam instrument.

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