Fluid dynamics are generally studied in the framework of classical physics. Yet, at a solid-liquid interface, a fluid becomes sensitive to the quantum dynamics of the solid’s electrons. For fluids flowing near atomically-smooth surfaces, this results, in particular, in a quantum contribution to the hydrodynamic friction. My current research aims at developing theoretical methods and designing experiments for probing the coupling between fluids and electrons at solid-liquid interfaces.
Disordered quantum systems
A random model is often able to reproduce features of complex systems that no tractable deterministic model can. This power of randomness was recognized with the award to Giorgio Parisi of the 2022 Nobel prize in physics for the study of spin glasses – systems of classical magnetic moments with random interactions. I am currently interested in solving quantum spin glass models by combining Parisi’s replica approach with quantum Monte Carlo techniques. These models can provide valuable insight into the physics of cuprate superconductors in the normal phase.
The properties of electrolytes confined to nanometre-scale channels are of fundamental importance in a variety of systems, ranging from ultra-filtration membranes to biological nanopores. In such narrow channels, ions interact stronger than in the bulk, leading to enhanced ionic correlations. Using statistical mechanics tools beyond mean-field theory, I aim at understanding the peculiar transport phenomena resulting from these correlations, ranging from ionic Coulomb blockade to memory effects.
Moving things with light
I insist on dedicating time to curiosity-driven research. The projects I have undertaken so far all involve light-driven manipulation of matter. I have studied little floating marbles that move against flows, and, more recently, not-so-small vials that jump away from infrared light.