Symposium to Honor the Life and Work of Aron Pinczuk

Oct 10 2022

The Department of Physics and the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics hosted a symposium to honor the life and work of Professor Aron Pinczuk (1939-2022).

The Symposium, The Science and Life of Aron Pinczuk, took place on Saturday, October 8, 2022, and featured talks by Aron’s collaborators, students and family, followed by a time of opening sharing for others.

Professor Aron Pinczuk

Aron Pinczuk, Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Physics at Columbia University, passed away on February 13, 2022.

Professor Pinczuk was born on February 15, 1939 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He received a licenciado degree in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires in 1962 and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969. Following the completion of his doctoral studies, he worked as an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania until 1970.

From 1971-1976, he worked at the National Atomic Energy Commission, was a member of the National Research Council, and was a faculty member in the Department of Physics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1973-1974. From December 1975-August 1976, he worked at the Max Planck Institut für Festkörperforschung in Stuttgart, Germany, and then made his way to New York where he worked as a Visiting Scientist at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights from 1976-1977. He was a member of the Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories (later renamed AT&T Bell Laboratories and then Lucent Technologies) from 1978-1998, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he received the Distinguished Member of Staff Award in 1985.

Professor Pinczuk joined the faculty at Columbia University in 1998 and held a joint appointment in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Physics and, until 2008, was also a Technical Staff Member at Lucent. In addition to his teaching and research efforts, Professor Pinczuk was a member of the Columbia Nanoinitiative (CNI) - an interdisciplinary community within Columbia University dedicated to the support and development of research efforts in Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Professor Pinczuk was a leader in the field of resonant light-scattering from solids, with a focus on correlated electronic states in two dimensional materials. Professor Pinczuk explored the frontiers of basic physics, of fabrication protocols, and of materials science in nanoscale (one-billionth of a meter) artificial patterns. The fabrication of artificial patterns in semiconductor structures allows for the exploration of impact of fine-tuning (engineering) of electron states on device characteristics.The devices created in his research served as simulators of novel quantum phenomena and of advanced device concepts and addressed issues important to scientists seeking to create fundamental and applied science for the development of the next-generation of electronic and opto-electronic devices.

Professor Pinczuk’s research introduced novel optical methods that enabled a new understanding of the properties of novel materials and the physics of exotic phases of matter that emerge in semiconductors and semimetals at extremely low temperatures. His experiments, of a remarkable precision and delicacy, revealed quantum phenomena not previously believed to be observable including the excitation spectrum in the quantized hall effect, and his work was important to the initial understanding of the 'Dirac liquid' in graphene.

The author of numerous papers, Professor Pinczuk has also been the Editor in Chief of Solid State Communications since 2005. He also served on review panels for the U.S. NSF Division of Materials Research, the U.S. DOE Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, and the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Productiva, Argentina.

Professor Pinczuk was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1987, a  Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2002, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. He was also a member of the Materials Research Society (MRS) and the Optical Society of America (OSA).

In 1994, Professor Pinczuk received the Oliver E. Buckley Prize for Condensed Matter Physics from the American Physical Society - one of the top prizes of the society; received an "Honoris-Causa" Doctorate Degree from the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid, Spain, in 1997; was the recipient of the Columbia University Avanessians Diversity Award in 2008; and received the Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science Faculty Excellence Award in 2015.

Professor Pinczuk was an active faculty member, advisor, and researcher at Columbia University up until the time of his death. He will be remembered by his colleagues and students for his excellence, kindness, and dedication to his teaching and research.

Schedule

Saturday, October 8, 2022
Columbia University
Davis Auditorium, 412 CEPSR
530 W. 120th Street, New York, NY
 

8:00-9:00 AM: coffee and breakfast, 414 CEPSR

9:00-9:10 AM: Opening remarks, Davis Auditorium, 412 CEPSR
Shih-Fu Chang, Dean, Fu Foundation School of Engineering;
Marc Spiegelman, Chair, Department of Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics, Fu Foundation School of Engineering;
Dmitri Basov, Chair, Department of Physics, Graduate School of Arts and Science

9:10-9:40 AM: Horst Stormer, Columbia University
Aron, from my angle

9:40-10:10 AM: Roberto Merlin, University of Michigan
Aron Pinczuk: The early days of light scattering in solids at Penn, the return to Argentina and the pioneering work on two-dimensional electrons at Bell Labs

10:10-10:40 AM: Loren Pfeiffer, Princeton University
My three and one-half decade physics collaboration with Aron Pinczuk

10:40-11:00 AM: coffee break, 414 CEPSR

11:00-11:30 AM: Vittorio Pellegrini, BeDimensional
Aron and me: a wonderful journey in the flatland

11:30-12:00 PM: Cyrus Hirjibehedin, MIT Lincoln Laboratory; Irene Dujovne, UMass Amherst;  & Rui He, Texas Tech University
Aron @ Columbia: The “early” years

12:00-1:30 PM: lunch, 750 CEPSR

1:30-2:00 PM: Sankar Das Sarma, University of Maryland
Aron Pinczuk: A Friend for 40 Years with Plasmon Modes in Our Minds

2:00-2:30 PM: Trevor Rhone, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Emergent spin phenomena in the age of artificial intelligence

2:30-3:00 PM: coffee break, 414 CEPSR

3:00-3:30 PM: Ursula Wurstbauer, WWU Münster
Emission is complicated: the beauty of resonant inelastic light scattering

3:30-4:00 PM: Jainendra Jain, Penn State University
Aron Pinczuk: My Friend and Collaborator

4:00-4:30 PM: coffee break, 414 CEPSR

4:30-4:50 PM: Ana Pinczuk
Reminisces from Aron’s family

4:50-5:00 PM: Ziyu Liu, Columbia University
In the lab with Aron

5:00-6:00 PM: Reminiscence from the audiences & closing remarks, Andrew Millis, Columbia University

6:30-9:00 PM: Dinner at Pisticci, Wine Cellar (pre-registered guests only)
125 La Salle St, New York, NY, Map

    Abstracts & Presentations

    Sankar Das Sarma, University of Maryland
    Aron Pinczuk: A Friend for 40 Years with Plasmon Modes in Our Minds

    Aron Pinczuk was a close friend of mine for 40 years, and we both loved  collective excitations, particularly plasmon modes, in low dimensional  semiconductor structures.  Ours is a story of deep friendship based on a  theme:  how electrons collectively respond to light, how to measure  them, and how to understand the measurements.  I will recapitulate  aspects of the physics of my friendship with Aron.

    Cyrus Hirjibehedin, MIT Lincoln Laboratory
    Irene Dujovne, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Rui He, Texas Tech University

    Aron @ Columbia: The “early” years

    Aron Pinczuk moved from Bell Labs to Columbia University in 1998. We were the first three graduate students to join Aron’s group at Columbia, and we will highlight our experiences working in his group, from having the opportunity to do research in his old lab at Bell Labs to setting up his new labs at Columbia. We will also share stories of how he influenced our careers, and how he continued to support us and stay in touch with us well after we graduated.

    Jainendra Jain, Penn State University
    Aron Pinczuk: My Friend and Collaborator

    Roberto Merlin, University of Michigan
    Aron Pinczuk: The early days of light scattering in solids at Penn, the return to Argentina and the pioneering work on two-dimensional electrons at Bell Labs

    Vittorio Pellegrini, BeDimensional
    Aron and me: a wonderful journey in the flatland

    I first met Aron on January 15th 1996, late afternoon, in front of Bell Labs in Murray Hills, New Jersey. I was a PhD student of Scuola Normale in Pisa Italy. That event represented the beginning of a collaboration between Aron and me that has impacted my career and my personality. Aron introduced me to the investigation of electron correlation and quantum phases in two-dimensional electron systems in GaAs quantum wells [1-4]. Later, we studied graphene systems [5] and we started to look together at artificial ways of creating graphene-like honeycomb lattices in semiconductors with the idea of engineering electronic bands and tune electron correlation phenomena in two dimensions [6-10].

    In my talk I will highlight the most relevant findings of more than 25 years of collaboration and will emphasize how influential Aron has been in my carrier.

    Loren Pfeiffer, Princeton University
    My three and one-half decade physics collaboration with Aron Pinczuk

    In the summer of 1987 Aron Pinczuk and I were both Members of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. Aron Pinczuk was one of the resident experts in optical studies of 2D electron systems in semiconductors, and I was learning to grow 2D electron systems in Gallium Arsenide quantum wells by Molecular Beam Epitaxy. My samples were just starting to show exceptionally high electron mobilities and Fractional Quantum Hall signatures in electron transport, but no one had ever looked at them using sophisticated optical techniques. Bell Labs management brought us together as collaborators. It was a match made in the local heaven for physicists that was Bell Labs in those days.

    Aron soon was using optical photoluminescence that could tell him the exact 2D electron density in our quantum wells, and we found his photoluminescent values checked perfectly with our electron magneto-transport measurements. Over the course of our collaboration Aron pioneered Resonant Raman Scattering techniques which revealed ultra-sharp resonance linewidth-Raman-energy shifts as narrow as 25 micro-eV full width at half maximum. The unprecedented sharpness of these Raman-shift-resonances correlates nicely with the magneto-transport mobility of the quantum well, and may actually be a better measure of the 2D electron uniformity and coherence than transport mobility itself. The light-scattering experiments that Aron pioneered over his long career quite literally opened a bright new window on the physics of low dimensional electron systems.

    Ana Pinczuk
    Reminisces from Aron’s family

    Trevor Rhone, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Emergent spin phenomena in the age of artificial intelligence

    When the dimensionality of an electron system is reduced from three-dimensions to two dimensions, new behavior emerges. This has been demonstrated in gallium arsenide quantum Hall systems since the 1980’s, and more recently in van der Waals (vdW) materials, such as graphene. In this talk we will discuss the emergent behavior of electrons in reduced dimensions with a focus on their spin degrees of freedom. In particular, we emphasize recently discovered vdW materials with intrinsic magnetic order, such as CrI3 and CrGeTe3. How many of these materials exist in nature? What are their properties? These materials are at the forefront of research in condensed matter physics. We combine high-throughput first-principles calculations and artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery of vdW magnets and to gain physical insight into their magnetic and thermodynamic properties1,2. Furthermore, this nontraditional approach to materials research paves the way for the rapid discovery of materials with other exotic electronic spin and charge degrees of freedom, such as those with topological order.

    Horst Stormer, Columbia University
    Aron, from my angle 

    A journey.

    Ursula Wurstbauer, WWU Münster
    Emission is complicated: the beauty of resonant inelastic light scattering

    In one of my first discussions as just arrived postdoc in his group at Columbia, I asked him a question about photoluminescence (PL) spectra taken on a high-mobile two-dimensional electron system in a GaAs quantum well. I did just finish those initial optical measurements – and I was a newbie to optical experiments in those days. His initial short answer was underlined with his kind, unique smile: “Emission is complicated.” Then he started an insightful as well as patient explanation on the resonant inelastic light scattering (RILS) spectra taken on the same sample in row with the PL spectra. Over the times working closely with Aron I got more and more convinced about the strengths and fantastic insights we are able to get from RILS on (quantum) states of matter through their low-lying collective excitations – even if the experimental approach needs typically different kind of efforts than PL measurements. 

    In this presentation I will discuss some recent RILS result from my lab in Münster on twodimensional quantum materials including the role of Fröhlich exciton-LO phonon coupling in the valley depolarization process in MoS2 monolayers, low-frequency modes in MoSe2/WSe2 hetero-bilayers hosting a degenerate quantum Bose system, anisotropic modes in the dilute magnetic semiconductor CrSBr as well as on phonon confinement to estimate defect densities in defect engineered MoS2 monolayers towards deterministic quantum light sources. We will see that the combination of resonant inelastic light scattering experiments - pioneered by Aron Pinczuk – together with photoluminescence and spectroscopic imaging ellipsometry is a modern and powerful set of tools to explore the fascinating world of two-dimensional quantum materials.

     

    Tributes

    Read tributes from colleagues, students, and friends of Professor Pinczuk.

    If you would like to submit a tribute, please complete this form.

    You may also email your tributue to [email protected]

    Special issue of Solid State Communications in honor of Aron Pinczuk

    Contributions are currently invited for the special issue of Solid State Communications in honor of Aron Pinczuk

    Instructions for submission:

    The submission website for this journal is located at: Editorial Manager - https://www.editorialmanager.com/ssc/default2.aspx

    To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for inclusion into the special issue you are editing, it is important that authors select VSI: Pinczuk when they reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process. Please make sure authors are given this instruction when you send out invitation letters and/or instructions to potential authors.

    For further assistance, please visit our Elsevier Support Center: https://service.elsevier.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7847/c/10526/supporthub/publishing/p/10593/

    Professor Aron Pinczuk (1939-2022)

    Download photo slideshow as a pdf file

    The Science and Life of Aron Pinczuk, October 8, 2022