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LASSP -  Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics

Cornell Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics


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Cohen Group Demonstrates Microscopic Origami Switch

Itai Cohen's group has found that the square twist origami fold produces a distinct snapping between folded and unfolded states, like a light switch. By applying this to a gel polymer the size of a speck of dust they are developing the foundation for origami-inspired materials and microscopic machines.

Read more in the Chronicle. The full article Nature Materials.

Photographs of a square twist

William Bialek to give the 2015 Hans Bethe Lecture in Physics

Theoretical physicist William Bialek of Princeton University will be giving the 2015 Bethe Lectures.

Read more about Prof Bailek in the Chronicle.

Schedule of talks:

Monday, March 16 – Department of Physics Colloquium
4:00pm – Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall
“Are Biological Networks Poised at Criticality?”

Tuesday, March 17 – LASSP Seminar
4:00pm – 700 Clark Hall
“Predictive Information and the Problem of Long Time Scales in the Brain”

Wednesday, March 18 – Public Lecture
7:30pm – Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall
“More Perfect than We Imagined:  A Physicist’s View of Life”

and the Physics website.


Veit Elser's algorithm used to image mimivirus

Viet Elser’s technique for reconstructing structure from single-molecule diffraction has been successfully used to image a virus.

APS Viewpoint by Keith Nugent is at:

And the full article by Ekeberg et al. is at:

3D Mimivirus from Elser algorithm

Alex Alemi and Matt Bierbaum model the best places to hide in a Zombie Outbreak

When a Zombie outbreak occurs don't call Brad Pitt, Woody Harrelson or Simon Pegg. You'll want to call PhD candidates Alex Alemi and Matt Bierbaum along with Professors Jim Sethna and Chris Myers. And if you want to find their secret to survival ahead of time you can attend their Statistical Mechanics of Zombies talk at the 2015 APS March Meeting. On the morning of Thursday March 5 they'll be presenting their use of Zombies for disease modeling as part of the session on Physics of Evolutionary and Population Dynamics.

You can try out the simulation yourself at:

A paper on the subject is in the arXiv.

Kyle Shen group can dial in control of strontium iridate

Shen's group offers insight on how different “knobs” can change material properties in ways that were previously unexplored or misunderstood. Studying strontium iridate the researchers were able to flip it from behaving like metal to a semiconductor by applying spin-orbit interactions or changing molecular bond angles.

Read more in the Chronicle and the full article in Physical Review Letters

By Brendan Faeth - An artist’s rendering of strontium iridate

Davis group finds magnetic disorder in topological insulators

To better understand topological insulators (TIs) and why they weren't living up to their potential Seamus Davis's group at Cornell and Brookhaven National Lab studied them with their scanning tunneling microscope. What they found is the magnetic disorder at the surface was preventing the smooth flow of electrons.

Read more in the Chronicle and their Feb 3 article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scanning tunnelling microscope image of a 47-nanometer square area of the surface of a topological insulator showing variations in the Dirac-mass gap