jay sau

Jay Sau

Assistant Professor of Physics

University of Maryland

About me

I am a theoretical condensed matter physicist with a broad interest in many particle physics relevant to experiments. At present, I am predominantly interested in applying topological principles to create protected solid-state and cold-atomic systems for quantum information processing.

Advances in experimental physics have pushed the design of materials and devices towards the regime of quantum many-body physics. At the same time conceptual advances at the boundary of theoretical condensed matter, quantum information and high-energy physics such as topological quantum field theories, entanglement entropy, holography and many-body localization all point to a new era of a better understanding of the subtleties of quantum many-body systems. While these theoretical concepts are often constructed out of an ideal set of rules motivated by reality – the application of these ideas to the real world often requires qualitative modification/augmentation of the ideas. I am primarily interested in understanding how these ideas can be related to phenomena in the real world. One such phenomenon, which is at the heart of topological quantum field theory, is topological degeneracy of quantum states. Such degeneracy is a macroscopic quantum phenomenon where two many-body quantum states of the system are at exactly the same energy in a way that is immune to external perturbations. This provides the potential of storing and manipulating quantum information in macroscopic states of quantum materials, and ultimately, of leading to platforms for topological quantum computation. I hope to be able to view topological quantum computation as a general approach to controlling and understanding systems with many degrees of freedom.


Research Group

Condensed Matter Theory

Research Interest


Majorana fermions and topological superconductivity


Non-abelian phases and topological quantum computation


Spin-orbit coupling and dynamics in cold atomic gases


Weyl semi-metals, chiral symmetry breaking and the chiral magnetic effect


Team member

Junhyun Lee

Postdoctoral Researcher


2123 John S. Toll Physics Building


Team member

Chunxiao Liu

Graduate Student


3101 John S. Toll Physics Building


Team member

Amit Nag

Graduate Student


3101 John S. Toll Physics Building


Team member

Yahya Alavirad

Graduate Student


0220 John S. Toll Physics Building




Online course

Spring 2016 & Spring 2015

EdX course on Topology in condensed matter physics


Past courses

Spring 2016 & Spring 2017 & Fall 2017

Physics 420: Principles of Modern Physics


Past courses

Fall 2013 & Fall 2014 & Fall 2015

Physics 622: Graduate Quantum Mechanics 1


Current course

Spring 2018

Physics 731: Solid State Physics Survey

Contact me

Office: Physics Toll Building, Room 2308
Department of Physics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-4111

United States of America

Telephone: +1 301-405-8463
E-mail: jaydsau (at) umd (dot) edu