Welcome to our research group! We study the amazingly diverse physics of electrons in solid materials using hands-on experiments in the BrezLab at Harvey Mudd.

All matter is made of atoms, and the types and arrangements of those atoms (as an ordered crystal or an amorphous glass) can allow those electrons to flow as an electrical current, interact with one another as in a magnet, or even condense into a charged superfluid at low temperatures. We study 2D materials, phase-change materials, magnetic materials, and we are interested in modeling their fundamental properties and envisioning next-generation electronic materials and devices.



Nicholas P. Breznay (’02)
Assistant Professor
Department of Physics
Harvey Mudd College

Current Research Students

  • Svetlana Altshuler (HMC ’24)
  • Matthew Chalk (HMC ’24)
  • Emma Lickey (HMC ’23)
  • Catherine Phillips (HMC ’23)
  • Natalia Hernandez (HMC ’23)

Former Research Students

  • Inci Anali (HMC ’23)
  • Nathan Luis (HMC ’23)
  • Kaveh Pezeshki (HMC ’22) – Thesis
  • Rebecca Chan (HMC ’22) – Thesis
  • Anna Soper (HMC ’22)
  • Kewei Zhou (HMC ’21) – Thesis
  • Miguel Velez (HMC ’21)
  • Martin Gonzalez (HMC ’21)
  • Emma Cuddy (HMC ’21)
  • Christian Garcia (HMC ’21)
  • Akshay Trikha (HMC ’21)
  • Isaac Zinda (HMC ’20)
  • Colin Adams (HMC ’19) – Thesis
  • Adam Shaw (HMC ’18)


  • Prof. Matthias Wuttig (RWTH Aachen University)
  • Prof. Alex Frano (UC San Diego)
  • Prof. Claudia Ojeda-Aristizabal (Cal State Long Beach)


Our lab is in the basement of the Jacobs building at Harvey Mudd. We have a number of tools:

  • Optical Microscopes (Stereo, Compound)
  • 2D Materials synthesis station
  • Electrical test station (Lock-in amplifiers, multimeters, oscilloscopes, current and voltage sources)
  • Low-temperature apparatus (LHe cryostat, high-T Peltier vacuum stage)
  • Scanning probes (Bruker Dektak stylus profilometer)

Get in touch with Prof. B for a tour!

Research Projects

Models for disordered transport

Quantum confined electrons in 2D materials

SnSb2Te4 and other Phase-Change Materials



Nature News & Views – N.P. Breznay, “A strange metal emerges from a failed superconductor” Nature 601 198-199 (2022).

Journal Articles (Since 2017)

A. Ruiz, N. P. Breznay, M. Li, I. Rousochatzakis, A. Allen, I. Zinda, V. Nagarajan, G. Lopez, M. H. Upton, J. Kim, A. H. Said, X.-R. Huang, T. Gog, D. Casa, R. J. Birgeneau, J. D. Koralek, J. G. Analytis, N. B. Perkins, and A. Frano. “Magnon-spinon dichotomy in the Kitaev hyperhoneycomb β-Li2IrO3Phys. Rev. B 103, 184404 (2021).
*Selected as an Editor’s Suggestion

J. Rodriguez, G. Lopez, F. Ramirez, N. P. Breznay, R. Kealhofer, V. Nagarajan, D. Latzke, S. Wilson, N. Marrufo, P. Santiago, J. Lara, A. Diego, E. Molina, D. Rosser, H. Tavassol, A. Lanzara, J. G. Analytis, and C. Ojeda-Aristizabal. “Competition between magnetic order and charge localization in Na2IrO3 thin crystal devices” Phys. Rev. B 101, 235415 (2020).

Alejandro Ruiz, Vikram Nagarajan, Mayia Vranas, Gilbert Lopez, Gregory T. McCandless, Itamar Kimchi, Julia Y. Chan, Nicholas P. Breznay, Alex Frañó, Benjamin A. Frandsen, and James G. Analytis. “High-temperature magnetic anomaly in the Kitaev hyperhoneycomb compound β-Li2IrO3Phys. Rev. B 101, 075112 (2020).

J. Reindl, H. Volker, N. P. Breznay, M. Wuttig, “Persistence of spin memory in a disordered, crystalline phase-change material” npj Quantum Materials 4, 57 (2019).

N.P. Breznay, I.M. Hayes, N. L. Nair, T. Helm, J.G. Analytis, R.D. McDonald, Z. Zhu, Y. Krockenberger, H. Irie, Y. Yamamoto, K. A. Modic, A. Frano, P. Shafer, E. Arenholz, “Interplay of structure and charge order revealed by quantum oscillations in thin films of Pr2CuO4-δPhys. Rev. B 100, 235111 (2019).

M. Kang, J. Pellicanri, A. Frano, N. Breznay, E. Schierle, E. Wesche, R. Sutarto, F. He, P. Shafer, E. Arenholz, M. Chen, K. Zhang, A. Ruiz, Z. Hao, S. Lewin, J. Analytis, Y. Krockenberger, H. Yamamoto, T. Das, R. Comin, “Evolution of charge order topology across a magnetic quantum phase transition in electron-doped cuprates” Nature Physics 15, 335 (2019).

N.P. Breznay and A. Kapitulnik, “Particle-hole Symmetry Reveals Failed Superconductivity in the Metallic Phase of Two-Dimensional Superconducting Films” Science Advances 3, e1700612 (2017).

A. Ruiz, A. Frano, N.P. Breznay, I. Kimchi, T. Helm, I. Oswald, J. Y. Chan, R. J. Birgeneau, Z. Islam, and J. G. Analytis, “Correlated states in β-Li2IrO3 driven by applied magnetic fields” Nature Communications 8, 961 (2017).

L. Moreschini, I. Lo Vecchio, N.P. Breznay, S. Moser, S. Ulstrup, R. Koch, J. Wirjo, C. Jozwiak, K. S. Kim, E. Rotenberg, A. Bostwick, J. G. Analytis, and A. Lanzara “Quasiparticles and charge transfer at the two surfaces of the honeycomb iridate Na2IrO3Phys. Rev. B 96, 161116(R) (2017).

N. P. Breznay, M. Tendulkar, L. Zhang, S.-C. Lee, and A. Kapitulnik, “Superconductor to weak-insulator transitions in disordered Tantalum Nitride films” Phys. Rev. B 96, 134522 (2017).

N.P. Breznay, A. Ruiz, A. Frano, W. Bi, R. Birgeneau, D. Haskel, J. G. Analytis, “Resonant x-ray scattering reveals possible disappearance of magnetic order under hydrostatic pressure in the Kitaev candidate Ɣ-Li2IrO3Phys. Rev. B 96, 020402(R) (2017).

K.A. Modic, B.J. Ramshaw, N.P. Breznay, J. G. Analytis, R. D. McDonald, A. Shekhter, “Robust spin correlations at high magnetic fields in the harmonic honeycomb iridates” Nature Communications 8, 180 (2017).

T. Helm, F. Flicker, R. Kealhofer, P. Moll, I. M. Hayes, N.P. Breznay, Z. Li, S. G. Louie, Q. R. Zhang, L. Balicas, J. E. Moore, J. G. Analytis, “Thermodynamic Anomaly Above the Superconducting Critical Temperature in the Quasi One-Dimensional Superconductor Ta4Pd3Te16Phys. Rev. B 95, 075121 (2017).