Professor Alexandru B. Georgescu (Alex)’s focus is on using computational and theoretical methods to understand and design the electronic properties of materials and molecules often in strong collaboration with experimental groups, using a range of computational tools ranging from simple models to density functional theory and machine learning. He is a dedicated and empathetic mentor, who has recently been chosen to be an American Physical Society Career Mentor.
Many materials have their electronic properties determined by local quantum states - for example, magnetic moments on iron atoms in magnetite - interacting and forming long-rage electronically ordered states. This can lead to properties varying from magnetism to superconductivity. These properties underpin modern-day electronics, high-power magnets used in wind power, and quantum information applications. They may well be key to a wide variety of other applications - from catalysis to medical imaging devices. His key recent scientific contributions include developing a methodology to clarify the relative roles of electron occupation and crystal field symmetry breaking in Jahn-Teller-type phase transitions, a key scientific issue with implications spanning chemistry, materials science, and physics. In another direction, he has predicted that sapphire displays a strong surface piezoelectric effect (coupling of vibrations and strong electric dipole moments at the surface), an effect that is now used in the development of laser and quantum computing technology. He has also used machine learning to discover new quantum materials displaying particular electronic transitions. His research is by nature interdisciplinary, and welcoming to students from a variety of fields. He also has a Youtube channel where he takes complex topics from the field and simplifies them for a wider audience at: https://www.youtube.com/@AlexandruGeorgescuB/
Before coming to IU, he received his Ph.D. in 2017 from Yale University. He was then a Flatiron Research Fellow at the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Simons Foundation in New York City until 2020. He then continued with a postdoc at Northwestern University in Evanston in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, before joining IU in August 2023.