2008 Mott medal and prize

Professor Gabriel Aeppli

London Centre for Nanotechnology and University College London

For his pioneering and highly influential work on the magnetic properties of novel materials using neutron scattering.

The Mott medal and prize for distinguish research in condensed matter or materials physics has been awarded to Professor Gabriel Aeppli, Quain Professor of Physics at University College London and Director of the London Centre for Nanotechnology,for his pioneering and highly influential work on the magnetic properties of novel materials using neutron scattering.

Professor Aeppli is a world-renowned leader in the field of unconventional materials in which electrons are strongly correlated, leading to unusual and complex quantum behaviour. These include the so called heavy fermion compounds - superconducting alloys of heavy metals such as UPt3, in which the electrons have a larger effective mass than in the free state, the famous high-temperature cuprate superconductors, and manganites which show colossal magnetoresistance. Understanding the electronic and magnetic properties of these systems is not only of fundamental interest but also important for the advancement of a wide range of electronic technologies.

Aeppliā€™s work began in the late 1970s with some beautiful experiments on the phase transitions in amorphous magnets. He moved on to making some of the first neutron-scattering measurements of heavy fermions, demonstrating the intimate link between magnetism and superconductivity. This was further explored in the high-temperature superconductors; his group pioneered the detailed study of the dynamic, incommensurate magnetic structures of these systems. He also made revealing magnetic measurements in the manganites and explored the topical area of quantum phase-transitions.

Recently, Professor Aeppli moved from the US to University College London to work in nanoscience, both in his own lab and as director of a new, large facility in central London. The latter has entailed managing a large capital project for a dedicated research building and state-of-the art facilities, as well as successfully bringing together about 20 research groups in areas from medicine to quantum computing.