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Michael Manfra - 2021 Arden L. Bement Jr. Award

Michael Manfra

Arden L. Bement Jr. Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Manfra discusses experiments conducted at Purdue that reveal how anyons, particles with fractional charge and fractional statistics, may be observed in simple electrical conduction measurements.


Michael Manfra is the Bill and Dee O'Brien Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Professor of Material Science Engineering, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. Mike received his A.B. degree from Harvard in 1992 followed by his M.S. in 1994 and PhD from Boston University in 1999. Mike spent 2 years as a Postdoctoral Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies and in 2001 became a member of the Technical Staff of Bell Laboratories where he carried out research in low dimensional electron systems. In 2009 Manfra moved to Purdue as the William F. and Patty J. Miller Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Materials Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. Mike was a Keck Foundation awardee in 2013 and was promoted to Full Professor in the same year. He was named a University Faculty Scholar in 2013. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2015 and in 2016 became the Director of Microsoft Quantum Lab Purdue, one of a small handful of Microsoft Quantum Laboratories around the globe. Since 2018 he is a member of the Birck Faculty Leadership Council. In 2020 Mike became a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy.

Fractionalization of Charge and Statistics in Two Dimensions


A basic tenet of quantum mechanics is that all elementary particles are either bosons or fermions. Ensembles of bosons and fermions act differently due to differences in their statistical properties. For example, much of the electronic structure of ordinary solids may be explained by symmetry and noting electrons are fermions and obey the Pauli exclusion principle – fermions cannot exist in the same quantum state simultaneously. On the other hand, integer spin atoms and photons are bosons and are not constrained by the Pauli principle. Bose-Einstein condensation and superfluidity are some of the most spectacular properties of bosons. Starting in the early 1980's it was theoretically conjectured that excitations that are neither bosons nor fermions may exist under special conditions in two dimensional systems. These unusual excitations were dubbed “anyons”. Anyons may have fractional charge and fractional statistics, however directly probing these properties presents experimental challenges. My talk will focus on experiments that demonstrate fractional statistics have observable consequences.

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