Prof. Nitin Samarth
M.Sc., 1980, Physics

Prof. Nitin Samarth is George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head and Professor of Physics, Penn State University. He obtained his M.Sc. degree in Physics from IIT Bombay in 1980 and Ph.D. degree in Physics from Purdue University in 1986.

Before joining Penn State University as Assistant Professor in 1998, he had worked with the University of Notre Dame from 1986 to 1987 as Postdoctoral Research Associate and Assistant Faculty Fellowship from 1987 to 92.

Prof. Samarth’s research in condensed matter physics centers on experimental studies of spin-dependent phenomena in quantum materials, an area broadly known as ‘spintronics’. His principal scientific contributions have involved the pioneering synthesis of a variety of thin films and nanoscale structures in this context and their study using quantum transport, magnetometry and optical spectroscopy. These materials include semiconductors, magnetic systems, topological insulators and superconductors. Working with his collaborator s and students, he has contributed to key discoveries in this field, including room temperature spin coherence in semiconductors (Science, 1997), coherent spin transfer across semiconductor heterointerfaces (Nature, 2001), ultrafast coherent spin manipulation in semiconductors (Science, 2001), artificial ‘spin ice’ (Nature, 2006), and topological spintronics (Nature, 2014). Some of these discoveries might be useful in future quantum technologies. His work is published in over 260 journal articles and has over 16,000 citations with an h-index of 59 (Google Scholar).

Prof. Samarth is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a recipient of Faculty Scholar Medal in the Physical Sciences, Penn State University; George W. Eisenhower Award for Teaching Excellence, Penn State University; and Outstanding Physics Alumnus Award, Purdue University.

Special Memories

"I have many happy memories of friends, colleagues and faculty who stimulated my curiosity about everything in our world, from the trivial to the profound. Arguments about science, technology, culture, music, theatre, politics, and nothing in particular often went enjoyably into the wee hours of the night. And I had the most fun when some friends (Ashok Kamath and Ashok Sarath, in particular) helped me discover my hidden thespian side. We were all hams, no doubt, but I think we succeeded in entertaining our audiences".