Isabelle Yan Phinney explores condensed matter physics in the two-dimensional limit.
A PhD student at Harvard University, Isabelle is particularly fascinated by quantum spin liquids as a platform for experimentally realizing topological quantum computing. She also maintains a strong interest in highly tunable graphene-based moire systems, where in recent years many interesting phenomena, such as superconductivity, have been discovered.
Isabelle received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2020. There, she participated in various undergraduate research opportunities, including working on an in-vacuum optical parametric oscillator for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
After spending a summer at the California Institute of Technology performing ultrafast spectroscopy research in a condensed matter group under Professor David Hsieh, she decided to continue pursuing experimental condensed matter research and spent two years working in Professor Pablo Jarillo-Herrero’s lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on twisted bilayer graphene (TBG). She explored TBG as a platform for hydrodynamic behavior and, in the process, investigated electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions at small twist angles.
During her undergraduate years, she was also heavily involved in the Society of Physics Students and Undergraduate Women in Physics.
Isabelle was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she enjoyed the benefits of trail running in 70-degree weather in the middle of winter. She enjoys physics outreach, cooking, doodling, and running (when Boston is warm enough).