School of Physics Colloquium

No Strain, No Gain: Modifying Transport in 2D Materials by Engineering Strain


Applying strain can drastically modify the properties of electronic materials – for example, strained silicon transistors showed huge mobility increases that revolutionized the computer industry. Now, there is wide interest in using strain to modify the next-generation of electronic materials: two-dimensional systems. Two-dimensional materials bridge the limits of superior electric tunability and high mechanical flexibility, making them excellent candidates for mechanical tuning of electronic properties. Strained graphene, in particular, is predicted to manifest a bandgap opening as well as novel physical effects such as large “pseudo”-magnetic fields. However, it is challenging to create global strain across graphene to modify transport. In this talk, we demonstrate how controllable, global strain in graphene can be engineered by depositing graphene on corrugated substrates. We show that strained graphene exhibits bandgap openings and pseudomagnetic field effects that depend on the magnitude of induced strain. Control of the strain degree of freedom provides a novel platform both for fundamental studies of 2D electron correlations and for prospective applications in 2D electronic devices.

Work supported by NSF under DMR-1720633 and DMR-2309037 (MRSEC), the ARO under W911NF-19-1-0346, and the UIUC Materials Research Lab.


About Nadya Mason 

Nadya Mason is the dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago. She specializes in experimental studies of quantum materials, with a research focus on the electronic properties of nanoscale and correlated systems, such as nano-scale wires, atomically thin membranes, and nanostructured superconductors. Her research is relevant to applications involving nanoscale and quantum computing elements.

Before becoming dean of PME, Mason was the Rosalyn S. Yalow Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she directed the Illinois Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and also served as founding director of the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC).

In addition to maintaining a rigorous research program and teaching, Mason works to increase diversity in the physical sciences, particularly through mentoring, and is former chair of the APS Committee on Minorities, where she helped initiate the “National Mentoring Community.” Mason can also be seen promoting science on local TV, at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and in a TED talk on “Scientific Curiosity.”

Mason received her B.S. from Harvard University and her PhD from Stanford University, both in physics. Among her many honors, she is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been recognized for her work with awards, including the 2009 Denise Denton Emerging Leader Award, the 2012 APS Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, and the 2019 APS Bouchet Award.

Event Details


  • Date: 
    Monday, April 1, 2024 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

MRDC Room 4211 (4th floor)