Senthil’s research seeks to develop a theoretical framework for describing the physics of novel quantum many particle systems by combining phenomenological modeling of experiments with abstract theoretical ideas and methods. Examples of specific topics include:
– Non-fermi liquid metals
– Graphene moire structures
– Non-Landau quantum criticality
– Dualities in field theories of quantum many body systems
– Interacting topological insulators
– Quantum spin liquids
Senthil’s work on discrete gauge theories in models of spin liquid states provided key insights and initiated the systematic investigation of gauge structures in many-body systems, now a vital subfield of condensed matter physics. He pioneered the theory of deconfined quantum criticality which describes a class of phase transitions that are beyond the standard Landau paradigm. Senthil is also known for developing a theory of continuous electronic Mott metal-insulator transitions, and for discovering dualities of quantum field theories in two space dimensions which has had application to many problems in condensed matter physics.
He has a long-standing interest in the theory of non-fermi liquid metals: he introduced the concept of a fractionalized Fermi liquid, and showed that its phase transition to an ordinary fermi liquid is an interesting non-fermi liquid critical point.
A recent interest is in the physics of moire heterostructures: Senthil played a crucial role in recognizing that these systems bring together strong correlation and band topology. His group predicted that moire graphene systems are a suitable platform for ferromagnetism and a quantum anomalous Hall effect which have since been seen in experiments.
In his early work, Senthil identified certain two dimensional superconducting states as showing spin and thermal quantum hall effects (a phenomenon that has subsequently been dubbed chiral topological superconductivity.
Senthil received his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 1992, and his PhD from Yale University in 1997. He then moved to a postdoctoral position at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics in UC Santa Barbara before joining the physics faculty at MIT in 2001. His interests span a wide range of theoretical quantum condensed matter physics.
Senthil is a Simons Investigator (2013-2023) of the Simons Foundation, a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair (2011-2024) at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2013).
The discovery could offer a route to smaller, faster electronic devices.
Awards & Honors
- 2015 // Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar Lecturer, International Center for Theoretical Sciences
- 2013 // Fellow, American Physical Society
- 2013-23 // Simons Investigator Award
- 2012-13 // Simons Theoretical Physics Fellowship
- 2011-24 // Distinguished Visiting Research Chair, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Canada
- 2011 // Kavli Frontiers Fellow, Kavli Foundation
- 2009 // Outstanding Young Physicist Award from the American chapter of the Indian Physics Association
- 2005 // Outstanding Investigator Award from the Science Research Council of the Department of Atomic Energy, India
- 2003 // Research Innovation Award from The Research Corporation
- 2002 // NEC Corporate Fund Award from the MIT Research Support Committee
- 2002 // Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
Non-Fermi Liquids as Ersatz Fermi Liquids: General Constraints on Compressible Metals Dominic V. Else, Ryan Thorngren, and T. Senthil Phys. Rev. X 11, 021005 (2021)
Nearly Flat Chern Bands in Moiré Superlattices, Ya-Hui Zhang, Dan Mao, Yuan Cao, Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, T. Senthil, Phys. Rev. B 99, 075127 (2019).
Deconfined Quantum Critical Points: Symmetries and Dualities, Chong Wang, Adam Nahum, Max A. Metlitski, Cenke Xu, and T. Senthil, Phys. Rev. X 7, 031051 (2017).