Professor Richard Fletcher studies the collective quantum behaviour of many-particle systems using dilute atomic vapours cooled down to nanokelvin temperatures, and manipulated by intricately sculpted laser beams and magnetic fields. The philosophy is to engineer custom-made quantum worlds, with exquisite control over trapping geometry, interparticle interactions, quantum statistics, and gauge fields, and explore the emergence of collective physics from the interplay of these few ingredients. These platforms provide both a powerful testbed for theory, and a wonderful playground for discovering new phenomena and realising states of matter not found in nature. Fletcher is particularly interested in the influence of dimensionality and geometry on quantum behaviour, and in correlated states of matter arising from both strong interactions and gauge fields.
Richard Fletcher grew up in Chester, UK, and spent his undergraduate years at Cambridge University, graduating in 2010 before crossing the pond to Harvard as a Frank Knox fellow. He returned to the UK in 2011 for his PhD, working with Zoran Hadzibabic at Cambridge, where his thesis focused on the interplay of superfluidity and Bose-Einstein condensation in two dimensions. In 2016, Richard moved to MIT as a Pappalardo fellow, working with Martin Zwierlein on quantum fluids in artificial magnetic fields, and joined the MIT faculty in July 2020.
The results should help scientists study the viscosity in neutron stars, the plasma of the early universe, and other strongly interacting fluids.
Awards & Honors
- 2016 // Pappalardo Fellowship in Physics, MIT