Erik Henriksen

Erik Henriksen

Associate Professor of Physics
Associate Director of IMSE Facilities
PhD, Columbia University
MA & MPhil, Columbia University
BA, Swarthmore College
research interests:
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomically Thin Materials
  • Quantum Magnetism & Electronic Structure

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1105-110-02
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Erik Henriksen's experimental condensed matter research laboratory utilizes state-of-the-art nanofabrication techniques in combination with measurements made at low temperatures and high magnetic fields to explore both the fundamental electronic structures and emergent quantum phenomena of low-dimensional materials. 

The Henriksen lab’s research is centered on the properties of electrons confined to two dimensions. This remarkable system has yielded a tremendous amount of interesting and important physics over the past several decades, from the integer and fractional quantum Hall effects to the groundbreaking discoveries of graphene and other atomically thin crystals, and especially to the recent realization of the topological nature of the electronic structure of a surprising number of materials both novel and familiar.

Present work focuses on the potential to realize topological electronic phases in graphene; the infrared spectrum of graphene's quasi-relativistic electrons; and pursuit of quantum spin liquids, a strange and novel phase of quantum magnetism. All these lines of research require precisely fabricated devices made of custom stacks of atomically-thin materials which we build in house.

Experiments are generally conducted at very low temperatures—approaching absolute zero—and high magnetic fields, and employ custom devices made of graphene or related crystals. Occasionally this work takes place at the National High Magnetic Field Lab in Tallahasee, FL, to use some of the strongest magnets in the world! Experiments entail careful measurement of the electronic properties of our devices including both electronic transport and thermodynamic quantities such as the magnetization and compressibility of the electron gas.  Measurements of the infrared absorption spectrum to probe the electronic structure directly are also conducted.

All devices in the lab are fabricated in-house on our own equipment as well as that of the cleanroom facilities in the Institute for Materials Science and Engineering (IMSE).

Professional History

2021-present: Associate Professor, Washington University
2013-2020: Assistant Professor, Washington University
2012-2013: Visiting Assistant Professor, Harvey Mudd College
2011-2013: IQIM Postdoctoral Scholar, Caltech
2009-2011: Postdoctoral Scholar, Caltech

recent courses

Electricity and Magnetism (Physics 421)

The first course in a two part series covering the classical theory of electricity and magnetism leading to the derivation an application of Maxwell's equations. Vector algebra and calculus, electrostatics and magnetostatics in vacuum and in materials, Coulomb's Law, the Biot-Savart law, Gauss' law, and Ampere's law are covered. Multipole expansions and the solution of boundary-value problems by separation of variable, and the method of images are discussed.

    Physics II (Physics 192)

    An advanced, calculus-based introduction to central concepts in modern physics in an active learning environment for students who desire to major in physics or another physical science, or who have a special interest in physics. The course is structured around three themes that are treated in depth: electricity and magnetism, quantum physics, and statistical and thermal physics. A daily regimen of homework and reading as well as active class participation are integral parts of the course.

      Solid State Physics (Physics 472)

      Crystal structures, binding energies, thermal properties, dielectrics, magnetism, free electron theory of metals, band theory, semiconductors, defects in solids

        Electricity and Magnetism II (Physics 422)

        The second course in a two part series covering the classical theory of electricity and magnetism leading to the derivation and application of Maxwell's equation. Topics in electrodynamics including Faraday's law, the displacement current and Maxwell's equations in vacuum and in matter are covered. Electromagnetic waves and radiation, special relativity and relativistic electrodynamics will also be discussed.

          Selected Recent Publications

          Many-particle effects in the cyclotron resonance of encapsulated monolayer graphene
          B. Jordan Russell, Boyi Zhou, T. Taniguchi, K. Watanabe, and E. A. Henriksen. Submitted to Phys. Rev. Lett. Retrieve from arXiv

          Raman signatures of a structural transition in exfoliated α-RuCl3
          Boyi Zhou, Yiping Wang, Gavin B. Osterhoudt, Paige Kelley, David Mandrus, Rui He, Kenneth S. Burch, and E. A. Henriksen. Submitted to J. Phys. Chem. Sol. Retrieve from arXiv

          Electronic transport and scattering times in tungsten-decorated graphene
          J. A. Elias and E. A. Henriksen
          Phys. Rev. B 95, 075405 (2017), retrieve from PRB or arXiv