My research is focused on investigating strongly correlated electron systems using various x-ray scattering techniques. These “quantum materials” are characterized by the various macroscopic properties that can emerge due to having highly correlated electronic wave functions: magnetism, charge/orbital order, high-temperature superconductivity, etc. I am particularly interested in synthesizing and studying transition-metal-oxide ceramics (both in bulk single crystal form as well as in epitaxially grown films, bilayers, and superlattices) to explore their emerging phases and possible functionalities.
To investigate these instances of coherent, spatial ordering, I utilize state-of-the-art x-ray scattering techniques including: resonant elastic scattering, resonant inelastic scattering, inelastic scattering, coherent scattering, and high-resolution diffraction. These exciting experiments are done at large-scale synchrotron facilities around the world.
Alex Frañó is Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Diego. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the National University of Honduras in Tegucigalpa. Then, after pursuing a career in music in Mexico City and other places, he returned to Physics to work on his Master’s degree at the University of Stuttgart. He did his PhD research with Prof. Bernhard Keimer the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. He won the Ernst-Eckhard-Koch Prize and the Springer Outstanding PhD Research Prize. He was later awarded the University of California (UC) Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at UC Berkeley with emeritus Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Now he is an Assistant Professor and he has recently won the Sloan Research Award 2020, the Cottrell Scholar Award 2021, the NSF CAREER award 2022, and is a CIFAR Global Azrieli Fellow 2022. He is also the Assistant Director of an "Energy Frontier Research Center" funded by the Department of Energy to study "Quantum Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic Computing"; with the goal of developing a new materials' platform for a computing paradigm inspired by the brain. His other research interests include strongly correlated electron systems, self-assembly in polymer-grafted nanoparticles and various forms of x-ray scattering tools to probe their properties.