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Nitin Samarth

Nitin Samarth

Main Content

  • Professor of Physics
  • George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head
104 Davey Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Email: nxs16 [ AT ] psu [ DOT ] edu
Phone: (814) 863-0136


  1. M.S. (5yr Integrated) IIT Bombay (1980)
  2. Ph.D. Purdue University (1986)


Condensed Matter Physics
  • Experimental

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2013).
  • George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head of Physics, Penn State (2011).
  • Outstanding Alumnus Award, Physics Dept., Purdue University (2008).
  • Faculty Scholar Medal in the Physical Sciences, Penn State (2008).
  • George W. Atherton Award for Teaching Excellence, Penn State (2007).
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2003).
  • Society of Physics Students Annual Award for Excellence in Physics Teaching, Penn State (1993).

Selected Publications


Journal covers

Selected Publications

(Full list of publications on Google Scholar)

  1. Hailong Wang, James Kally, Joon Sue Lee, Tao Liu, Houchen Chang, Danielle Reifsnyder Hickey, K. Andre Mkhoyan, Mingzhong Wu, Anthony Richardella, and Nitin Samarth, "Surface-State-Dominated Spin-Charge Current Conversion in Topological-Insulator–Ferromagnetic-Insulator Heterostructures," Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 076601 (2016).
  2. Minhao LiuWudi WangAnthony RichardellaAbhinav KandalaJian LiAli YazdaniNitin SamarthN. Phuan Ong, "Large discrete jumps observed in the transition between Chern states in a ferromagnetic topological insulator," Science Advances 2 e1600167 (2016). 
  3. Ella O. Lachman, Andrea F. Young, Anthony Richardella, Jo Cuppens, H. R. Naren, Yonathan Anahory, Alexander Y. Meltzer, Abhinav Kandala, Susan Kempinger, Yuri Myasoedov, Martin E. Huber, Nitin Samarth, Eli Zeldov, "Visualization of superparamagnetic dynamics in magnetic topological insulators," Science Advances 1, e1500740 (2015).
  4. Andrew Yeats, Yu Pan, Anthony Richardella, Peter Mintun, Nitin Samarth, David D. Awschalom, "Persistent Optical Gating of a Topological Insulator," Science Advances 1, e1500640 (2015).
  5. Abhinav Kandala, Anthony Richardella, Susan Kempinger, Chao-xing Liu and Nitin Samarth, "Giant Anisotropic Magnetoresistance in a Quantum Anomalous Hall Insulator," Nature Communications 6, 7434 (2015).
  6. Su-Yang Xu, Nasser Alidoust, Ilya Belopolski, Anthony Richardella et al., Momentum Space Imaging of Cooper Pairing in a Half-Dirac Gas, Nature Physics 10, 943-950 (2014).
  7. Qing-Ze Wang, Xin Liu, Hai-Jun Zhang, Nitin Samarth, Shou-Cheng Zhang, and Chao-Xing Liu, Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect in Magnetically Doped InAs/GaSb Quantum Wells, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 147201 (2014).
  8. A. R. Mellnik, J. S. Lee, A. Richardella, J. L. Grab, P. J. Mintun, M. H. Fischer, A. Vaezi, A. Manchon, E.-A. Kim, N. Samarth, D. C. Ralph. Spin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulator. Nature 511, 449 (2014).
  9. M. Neupane, A. Richardella, et al., "Observation of Quantum-tunneling-modulated Spin Texture in Ultrathin Topological Insulator Bi2Se3 Thin Films," Nature Communications 5, 3841 (2014).
  10. A. Kandala, A. Richardella, D. M. Zhang, T. Flanagan and N. Samarth, “Surface Sensitive Two-dimensional Magneto-fingerprint in Mesoscopic Topological Insulator Channels,” Nano Letters 13, 2471 (2013). 
  11. S.-Y. Xu, M. Neupane, C. Liu, D. M. Zhang, A. Richardella, L. Wray, N. Alidoust, M. Leandersson, T. Balasubramanian, J. Snchez-Barrig, O. Rader, G. Landolt, B. Slomski, J. Hugo Dil, J. Osterwalder, T. Chang, H. Jeng, H. Lin, A. Bansil, N. Samarth and M. Hasan, “Hedgehog spin texture and Berry's phase tuning in a magnetic topological insulator”, Nature Phys. 8, 616–622 (2012). 
  12. A. L. Balk, M. E. Nowakowski, M. J.Wilson, D. W. Rench, P. Schiffer, D. D. Awschalom and N. Samarth, “Measurements of Nanoscale Domain Wall Flexing in a Ferromagnetic Thin Film,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 077205 (2011). 
  13. R. F. Wang, C. Nisoli, R. S. Freitas, J. Li, W. McConville, B. Cooley, M. S. Lund, N. Samarth, C. Leighton, V. H. Crespi and P. Schiffer, “Artificial ’spin ice’ in a geometrically frustrated lattice of nanoscale ferromagnetic islands,” Nature 439, 303–306 (2006).  
  14. S. Ghosh, W. H. Wang, F. M. Mendoza, R. C. Myers, X. Li, N. Samarth, A. C. Gossard, and D. D. Awschalom, “Enhancement of Spin Coherence using Q-factor Engineering in Semiconductors Microdiscs,” Nature (Materials) 5, 261-265 (2006).
  15. A. H. MacDonald, P. Schiffer and N. Samarth, “Ferromagnetic semiconductors: moving beyond (Ga,Mn)As,” Nature (Materials) 4, 195–202 (2005). 
  16. D. D. Awschalom, D. D., M. Flatte and N. Samarth, “Spintronics,” Scientific American (June 2002).
  17. I. Malajovich, J. J. Berry, N. Samarth, and D. D. Awschalom, “Persistent Sourcing of Coherent Spins For Multifunctional Spintronics,” Nature (London) 411, 770-772 (2001).
  18. J. A. Gupta, R. Knobel, N. Samarth, and D. D. Awschalom, “Ultrafast manipulation of electron spin coherence,” Science 292, 2458-2461 (2001). 
  19. J. M. Kikkawa, I. P. Smorchkova, N. Samarth and D. D. Awschalom, “Room- temperature Spin Memory in Two-dimensional Electron Gases,” Science 277, 1284-1287 (1997).

Research Interests


Synthesis of magnetic, semiconductor, superconductor and topological insulator nanostructures.

Spintronics and coherent spin dynamics in mesoscopic and nanoscale geometries.

Collective spin phenomena in artificial frustrated magnets.

Searching for exotic broken symmetry surface states.



Current projects

  • National Science Foundation: "Collaborative Research: Coherent Manipulation and Transfer of Quantum Information amongst Single Spin Systems.
  • National Science Foundation: "MRSEC: Center for Nanoscale Science." 
  • National Science Foundation: "MIP: 2D Crystal Consortium." 
  • Department of Energy: "Exploration of Artificial Frustrated Magnets."
  • Office of Naval Research: "Opto-electronic Spin Control in Mesoscopic Topological Insulator Devices." 
  • Army Research Office/Princeton University: "MURI: The Physics of Surface States with Inter- actions mediated by Bulk Properties, Defects and Surface Chemistry." 
  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/University of Minnesota: "Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures."
Research group members
Research Associate: Anthony Richardella
Post-docs:  Hailong Wang
Graduate Students: Tom Flanagan, James Kally, Eric KampSusan KempingerYu Pan, Timothy Pillsbury, Di Xiao
Undergraduate students: Grant Smith.
Graduate students: Ioulia Smorchkova, Ph.D. '97 [Northrup Grumman, Los Angeles]; Frank Flack, Ph.D. '98 [Univ. Wisconsin, Madison]; Oindrilla Ray, Ph.D. '00 [VueFolio, San Jose]; Robert Knobel, Ph.D. '00 [Queens University, Canada]; Joseph Berry, Ph.D. '01 [NREL, Golden, CO]; Keh-chiang Ku, Ph.D. '04 [Marvell Semiconductor]; Weihua Wang, Ph.D.'05 [Academica Sinica, Taiwan]; Gang Xiang, Ph.D. '06 [Schichuan Univ., China]; Xia Li, Ph.D. '07 [Apple, Cupertino]; Meng Zhu, Ph.D. '08 [Global Foundries, Albany]; William Fadgen, Ph.D. '08 [Quantum Design, Brazil]; Benjamin Cooley, Ph.D. '10 [Univ. Georgia]; Andrew Balk, Ph.D. '11 [Los Alamos National Lab]; Jing Liang, Ph.D. '12; Duming Zhang, Ph.D. '12 [Lam Research]; David Rench, Ph.D. '13 [Department of Energy]; Joon Sue Lee, Ph.D. '14 [UC Santa Barbara]; Abhinav Kandala, Ph.D. '15 [IBM Yorktown Heights]; Robert Fraleigh, Ph.D. '16.
Postdocs: Seung-hyun Cheung [Sejong University, Korea]; Oleg Maksimov [ACHS]; Khalid Eid [Miami University, Ohio]; Partha Mitra [IISER Kolkatta, India]; Kriti Kohli [Global Foundries].
Undergraduate students: Jacob Wisser [BS/MS '16, Stanford], Derek Sincavage [BS '16, Minnesota], Jacob Repicky [BS '15, Ohio State], David Hopper [BS '14, UPenn], Terence Bretz-Sullivan [BS'10, Minnesota], Jeremy Cardellino [BS'10, Ohio State], Tina Lin [BS '07, Ph.D. Harvard], David Lehr [BS '05],  David Issadore [BS'04, Ph.D. Harvard], Martin Olson [BS '99], Theodore Kisner [BS '98, Ph.D. UCSB], Lara Mangravite [BS '97, Ph.D. UCSF] , Eylon Geva [BS '96],  Heather Hennessey [BS '95], Allen Hunt [BS '95, Ph.D. MIT]