Exotic Phases and Phase Transitions from Geometrical Frustration

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In frustrated systems, competing interactions lead to complex phase diagrams and sometimes entirely new states of matter. Frustration often arises from the lattice geometry, leaving the system delicately balanced between a variety of possible orders. A number of normally weak effects can lead to a lifting of this degeneracy. For example, I will discuss how quantum fluctuations can stabilize a supersolid phase, where the system is at once both a crystal and a superfluid. Frustrated magnets are promising candidates for realizing spin liquid phases with exotic \'topological order\', and new kinds of quantum phase transitions that have no classical analog. Bio: Ashvin Vishwanath received his MSc from IIT Kanpur in 1996, and PhD from Princeton in 2001. After holding the Papparlardo fellowship at MIT, he joined UC Berkeley in 2004, where he is currently associate professor of physics. He specializes in theoretical condensed matter physics, especially magnetism, superconductivity and other correlated quantum phenomena in solids and cold atomic gases. Ashvin is the recipient of several awards, most recently a Sloan fellowship (2004), a Hellman foundation fellowship (2006), and an NSF CAREER Award (2007).