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David Goldhaber-Gordon, PhD

Professor of Physics and, by courtesy, of Applied Physics

(650) 724-3709

My research interests are mostly focused on the field of mesoscopic physics, which explores length scales between the microscopic size of individual atoms and the macroscopic scale of everyday objects. Over the last decade, mesoscopic physics has forced us to grapple with new ways of thinking about quantum mechanics, measurement, and dephasing, especially for systems of interacting particles.

In my lab, we approach the mesoscopic regime in semiconductor devices, where electrons can be confined to small “boxes” and thus are restricted to discrete quantized states (instead of being able to move freely) in one, two, or even all three spatial dimensions.


AB, Harvard University, Physics

AM, Harvard University, History of Science

PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Physics


Research Interests

My research goals are to study and understand the behavior of electrons in systems with a reduced dimensionality. In the semiconductor devices studied in my lab, the electrons can be confined to a two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG), one-dimensional quantum wires and quantum point contacts or even zero-dimensional quantum dots. In the mesoscopic regime, which ranges from a few nanometers to several microns, the device properties are governed by interaction between the electrons, and quantum-mechanical phenomena like quantum coherence or the electron spin. To get experimental access to those intriguing effects, most of the experiments are performed at low temperatures, typically between 10 milliKelvin and 4 Kelvin.



  • Mapping spatial electron organization in ultraclean 2D electron systems
  • Investigation of the Quantum Spin Hall (QSH) state
  • Quantum dots in GaAs-based semiconductor heterostructures
  • Graphene and carbon nanotubes
  • Three-dimensional topological insulators like Bi2Se3 and Bi2Te3
  • Conducting interfaces in so-called complex oxides
  • Organic molecules



See Publications for David Goldhaber-Gordon, PhD