Jennifer E. Hoffman is an associate professor of physics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. She uses innovative microscopy techniques to image and influence the behavior of electrons in exotic materials such as high-temperature superconductors and topological insulators. The macroscopic properties of these materials, which determine their utility in future technologies, derive from poorly understood nanoscale processes. Hoffman explores these processes by, for example, imaging the scattering of electron waves off single atom defects or manipulating single quanta of magnetic flux.
At Radcliffe, Hoffman is expanding her research program from imaging to the active creation of new materials, using molecular beam epitaxy, a process of controlled thermal evaporation of single elements that allows the growth of exotic hybrid materials, one atomic layer at a time. Combining material growth with the existing atomic-scale imaging capabilities in the Hoffman Lab allows rapid feedback to guide the discovery of materials with desired properties, such as higher-temperature superconductivity or more robust spin-momentum locking of electrons.
Hoffman did her undergraduate work at Harvard University and earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. After a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, she returned to Harvard as a faculty member. She is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the Sloan Research Fellowship, and Harvard’s Spark Award, Roslyn Abramson Award, and Fannie Cox Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.