Riccardo Comin

Class of 1947 Career Development Associate Professor of Physics
He explores the novel phases of matter that can be found in electronic solids with strong interactions, also known as quantum materials.

Research Interests

Professor Comin’s research explores the novel phases of matter that can be found in electronic solids with strong interactions, also known as quantum materials. In these systems, the interplay between different degrees of freedom – charge, spin, orbital, and lattice – leads to new flavors of emergent orders via the mechanism of electronic symmetry breaking. These phenomena include, among others: superconductivity, (anti)ferromagnetism, spin-density-waves, charge order, ferroelectricity, orbital order, and any combination thereof.

Our lab adopts a combination of synthesis, scattering, and spectroscopy to obtain a comprehensive picture of these intriguing phenomena. Resonant X-ray scattering and spectroscopy are used to reveal the emergent collective phases of electronic quantum matter. Optical probes (Raman scattering and optical polarimetry) are a complementary tool for studying electronic symmetry breaking in the same systems. We additionally uses photoelectron spectroscopy to measure the energy-momentum spectrum of single-particle excitations in strongly correlated electron systems and topological electronic materials.

The quantum materials we investigate are transition metal-based compounds hosting exotic phases of quantum matter that include high-temperature superconductivity, complex magnetism, and charge/spin-density-waves. We have historically studied single-crystalline bulk materials, and more recently have focused on 2D nanomaterials to explore emergent phenomena in the 2D quantum limit.

Biographic Sketch

Riccardo Comin joined MIT as an Assistant Professor of Physics in July 2016. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Universita’ degli Studi di Trieste in Italy, where he also obtained a M.Sc. in Physics in 2009. Later, he pursued doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada, earning a PhD in 2013. Since 2014 he is an NSERC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

For his work using synchrotron-based x-ray scattering methods on quantum materials and electrically-tuned optoelectronic materials, he was recently selected as recipient of the Bancroft Thesis Award (2014), Fonda-Fasella Award (2014), John Charles Polanyi Prize in Physics (2015), McMillan Award (2015), and Bryan R. Coles prize (2016).

Awards & Honors

  • 2021 // DOE Office of Science Early Career Research Program Award
  • 2020 // MIT Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising
  • 2019 // Appointed Class of 1947 Career Development Professor (MIT)
  • 2018 // NSF CAREER Award
  • 2018 // U.S. Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (AFOSR) Research Grant
  • 2018 // Sloan Research Fellowship
  • 2017 // CLS Young Investigator Award
  • 2016 // Bryan R. Coles Prize
  • 2015 // McMillan Award
  • 2015 // John Charles Polanyi Prize in Physics
  • 2014 // Fonda-Fasella Award
  • 2014 // G. Bancroft Ph.D. Thesis Award

Key Publications

  • M. Kang†, L. Ye†, S. Fang, J.-S. You, A. Levitan, M. Han, J. I. Facio, C. Jozwiak, A. Bostwick, E. Rotenberg, M. K. Chan, R. D. McDonald, D. Graf, K. Kaznatcheev, E. Vescovo, D. C. Bell, E. Kaxiras, J. van den Brink, M. Richter, M. P. Ghimire, J. G. Checkelsky†, R. Comin†. Dirac fermions and flat bands in the ideal kagome metal FeSn. Nature Materials, 19, 163 (2020). DOI:10.1038/s41563-019-0531-0

  • J. Li, J. Pelliciari, C. Mazzoli, S. Catalano, F. Simmons, J. T. Sadowski, A. Levitan, M. Gibert, E. Carlson, J.-M. Triscone, S. Wilkins, R. Comin. Scale-invariant magnetic textures in the strongly correlated oxide NdNiO3, Nature Communications 10, 4568 (2019). DOI: 0.1038/s41467-019-12502-0

  • M. Kang, J. Pelliciari, A. Frano, N. Breznay, E. Schierle, E. Weschke, R. Sutarto, F. He, P. Shafer, E. Arenholz, M. Chen, K. Zhang, A. Ruiz, Z. Hao, S. Lewin, J. Analytis, Y. Krockenberger, H. Yamamoto, T. Das, R. Comin. Evolution of charge order topology across a magnetic phase transition in cuprate superconductors, Nature Physics 15, 335 (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-018-0401-8