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Talk with Andrea Caviglia, Professor, UNIGE

What have been the highlights of your research during these last years ?

The focus of my research is to control the properties of quantum materials by atomic scale synthesis and by shining light on them. Recently we have been particularly interested in synthetic quantum materials that show a lot of interesting properties: from superconductivity to strong spin-orbit coupling. Using various stimuli such as strain, electric fields and ultrafast pulses of light we have been exploring quantum phases of matter in and out of equilibrium. I am fascinated by our recent discoveries of magnetic interactions controlled by light-driven phonons and of transport of coherent spin waves in an antiferromagnet.

What is your favorite aspect of your research ?

I find it particularly exciting to find all the ingredients of quantum many-body physics manifesting in the same family of materials and to combine them in a controlled way to explore new emergent physics. It is like cooking using the best possible ingredients, discovering new recipes and unexpectedly tasty combinations. I love learning new theoretical ideas and designing experiments where these concepts may find a home. Or to be surprised by some unforeseen behaviour of our materials and try to identify its origin. And finally, I love to share the excitement of a new discovery with the rest of the team and with our collaborators.

What are your new challenges for the future ?

Strong light matter interactions are certainly the new frontier for us. In the coming years we would like to explore new physics occurring when quantum matter and light blend together to form new hybrid states. We are also interested in exploring the interplay between geometric phases and many-body interactions in condensed matter.

What are your passions besides work ?

I love being the dad of two wonderful children and exploring the beautiful nature we have all around us in Geneva with my family. I also enjoy good books, music and spending time with friends.

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