Nitin Samarth, Verne M. Willaman Professor of Physics, has been selected to receive the American Physical Society’s 2024 David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics. The award recognizes an outstanding contributor to the field of materials physics who is notable for high quality research, review articles, and lecturing.
Samarth was selected for "seminal contributions to semiconductor spintronics through the development of atomically engineered materials.” He will be presented with the award at the annual APS meeting in March, where he will also present an invited talk.
Samarth is an internationally recognized condensed matter experimentalist known for his leading contributions to understanding spin-dependent physical phenomena in quantum materials. He has developed diverse new families of materials platforms using a technique called molecular beam epitaxy. This work contributed to the birth of two major fields of study: semiconductor quantum spintronics and topological spintronics. The principal discoveries enabled by his materials synthesis are the observation of long-lived spin coherence in semiconductors, which was published in Science in 1997, and efficient spin-charge conversion in topological insulators, which was published in Nature in 2014. Samarth has played a key role in the materials community at Penn State and beyond as a co-principal investigator and associate director of the 2D Crystal Consortium, a National Science Foundation–funded national user facility that works to advance the frontiers of two-dimensional quantum materials.
Samarth has published 300 papers in leading scientific journals, and his research has been featured on the cover of Nature, Science and Scientific American. He has written and co-authored highly cited reviews in Science, Reviews of Modern Physics, Nature Materials and Nature Reviews Materials. He is a co-editor of a widely used book on semiconductor spintronics and has communicated scientific advances in popular venues such as Scientific American and NPR.
Samarth is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. His awards and honors include the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 2019, an Outstanding Physics Alumni Award from Purdue University in 2008, a Faculty Scholar Medal in the Physical Sciences from Penn State in 2008, a George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State in 2007, and a Society of Physics Students Annual Award for Excellence in Physics Teaching from Penn State in 1993. Samarth has held leadership roles in the American Physical Society (APS), including on the chair-line of the Division of Materials Physics from 2017 to 2021 and currently on the chair-line of the APS March Meeting.
Prior to joining the Penn State faculty in 1992, Samarth was a faculty fellow in the physics department at the University of Notre Dame. He earned a doctoral degree in physics at Purdue University in 1986 and an undergraduate degree in physics at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay in 1980.