Hellman, Frances

Professor, Physics
Division: UCSD
Phone: 858-534-5533
Email: fhellman@ucsd.edu
Research Layer: Materials & Devices

Bio: Frances Hellman received her BA in Physics from Dartmouth College in 1978, graduating summa cum laude and phi beta kappa with high honors in physics. She received her PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1985, studying what were then considered the high Tc superconductors (the A15's). After a 2 year post-doc in thin film magnetism at AT&T Bell Labs, she went to UCSD as an assistant professor in 1987, where she received tenure in 1994 and became a full professor in 2000. She joins the Physics Dept at UC Berkeley in Jan 2005, and also has an appointment in the UCB Materials Science and Engineering Dept. as well as at LBNL. She is on a large number of national and local science boards, including the NSF Advisory Board on Math and Physical Sciences, the NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy, ICAM (Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter), the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, the editorial board for the Review of Scientific Instruments, the Elementary Institute of Science (in San Diego), and COSMOS, a statewide math and science summer program for high school students. For many years, she ran the NSF-REU site program at UCSD Physics Dept. and has supervised many student theses, both undergraduate and graduate. She is a Fellow of the APS, and has been chair of the APS Division of Materials Physics and of the APS Topical Group on Magnetism and its Applications. She is thrilled to be joining the faculty at Berkeley and looks forward to many years of terrific collaborations and new exciting work.

Research: My research group is concerned with the properties of novel magnetic and superconducting materials especially in thin film form. We use specific heat, magnetic susceptibility, electrical resistivity, and other measurements as a function of temperature in order to test and develop models for materials which challenge our understanding of metallic behavior.
Current research includes: effects of spin on transport and tunneling, including studies of amorphous magnetic semiconductors and spin injection from ferromagnets into Si; finite size effects on magnetic and thermodynamic properties; formation of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in magnetic thin films and effects of the vapor-deposition growth process on the structure of thin film amorphous and crystalline materials.
We also have an extensive effort in development of calorimetry for thin films, small bulk samples, and nano-scale biological systems. We use Si-microfabrication techniques to create membrane-based micro/nanocalorimeters that allow us to measure films weighing micrograms or less from 1-500K and in magnetic fields at present to 8T. We are working with researchers at the national high magnetic field lab to extend the magnetic field range to 45T in steady state and 100T in pulsed fields, and the temperature range to 0.3K.