Alex McLeod

Person with short blond hair and glasses

Alexander McLeod

Assistant Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy


Physics And Nanotechnology Building
Room 354
115 Union St. Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Condensed Matter Experiment


Doctor of Philosophy in Physics with honors, University of California San Diego, 2017

Bachelors of Arts in Physics and Astrophysics cum laude, University of California Berkeley, 2009

Professional Background

Columbia Nano Initiative Director’s Fellow, Columbia University, Dept. of Physics, 2020

Graduate Student Researcher, University of California San Diego, Dept. of Physics, 2017

Assistant Optical Engineer, Bruker Nano-Surfaces Division, 2013

Site Lead: Network for Computational Nanotechnology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Molecular Foundry, 2010

Research Interests

My research interests include studying phase transitions in quantum matter and the opto-electronics of next-generation 2-dimensional materials including graphene, dichalcogenide semiconductors, and van der Waals heterostructures. To accomplish these investigations, I devise, construct, and and apply novel nano-optical imaging and spectroscopy instruments for measurements at low temperature and under controlled environments. Moreover, I develop flexible theoretical and analysis frameworks to draw quantitative results from experimental data. 

Honors and Awards

Co-Investigator on NASA Award – Laboratory Analysis of Returned Samples, Contamination-free & non-destructive nano-spectroscopy of aqueous alteration products in returned samples, 2019-2022

Research Project, Nano-optics of strained correlated electron oxides

Research Project, Low-temperature polaritonics and opto-electronics of two-dimensional materials

Research Project, Theory and interpretation of near-field optical microscopy

Instrument Development, Design and operation of a cryogenic scanning near-field optical microscope.

Doctoral Thesis, Quantitative Near-Field Spectroscopy of Heterogeneous and Correlated Electron Oxides

Selected Publications

  1. Alexander S. McLeod. Quantitative Near-Field Microscopy of Heterogeneous and Correlated Electron Oxides. PhD thesis, UC San Diego, 2017. 
  2. Suheng Xu and Alexander S. McLeod and Xinzhong Chen and Daniel J. Rizzo and Bjarke S. Jessen and Ziheng Yao and Zhiyuan Sun and Sara Shabani and Abhay N. Pasupathy and Andrew J. Millis and Cory R. Dean and James C. Hone and Mengkun Liu and D. N. Basov, Deep learning analysis of polaritonic waves images, (2021) arXiv: 2108.07222
  3. Dong, Y. and Xiong, L. and Phinney, I. Y. and Sun, Z. and Jing, R. and McLeod, A. S. and Zhang, S. and Liu, S. and Ruta, F. L. and Gao, H. and et al., Fizeau drag in graphene plasmonics, Nature 594 (2021), 513–516
  4. A. S. McLeod*, J. Zhang*, M. G. Gu, F. Jin, G. Zhang, K. W. Post, X. G. Zhao, A. J. Millis, W. Wu, J. M. Rondinelli, R. D. Averitt, and D. N. Basov. Multi-messenger nano-probes of hidden magnetism in a strained manganite. Nature Materials, 2019.
  5. G.X. Ni*, A.S. McLeod*, Z. Sun, L. Wang, L. Xiong, K.W. Post, S.S. Sunku, B.-Y. Jiang, J. Hone, C.R. Dean, M.M. Fogler, and D.N. Basov. Fundamental limits to graphene plasmonics. Nature, 557(7706), 2018. ISSN 14764687. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0136-9. *These authors contributed equally to the present work
  6. K.W. Post*, A.S. McLeod*, M. Hepting, M. Bluschke, Y. Wang, G. Cristiani, G. Logvenov, A. Charnukha, G.X. Ni, P. Radhakrishnan, M. Minola, A. Pasupathy, A.V. Boris, E. Benckiser, K.A. Dahmen, E.W. Carlson, B. Keimer, and D.N. Basov. Coexisting first- and second-order electronic phase transitions in a correlated oxide. Nature Physics, 14:1056–1061, 2018. ISSN 17452481. doi: 10.1038/s41567-018-0201-1. *These authors contributed equally to the present work. 
  7. A.S. McLeod, E. Van Heumen, J.G. Ramirez, S. Wang, T. Saerbeck, S. Guenon, M. Goldflam, L. Anderegg, P. Kelly, A. Mueller, M.K. Liu, I.K. Schuller, and D.N. Basov. Nanotextured phase coexistence in the correlated insulator V2O3. Nature Physics, 13(1), 2017. ISSN 17452481. doi: 10.1038/nphys3882.
  8. J. Zhang*, A.S. McLeod*, Q. Han, X. Chen, H. A. Bechtel, Z. Yao, S. N. Gilbert Corder, T. Ciavatti, T. H. Tao, M. Aronson, G. L. Carr, M. C. Martin, C. Sow, S. Yonezawa, F. Nakamura, I. Terasaki, D. N. Basov, A. J. Millis, Y. Maeno, and M. K. Liu. Nano-Resolved Current-Induced Insulator-Metal Transition in the Mott Insulator Ca2RuO4. Phys. Rev. X, 9:011032, Feb 2019. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevX.9.011032. *These authors contributed equally to the present work.
  9. A.S. McLeod*, I.T. Lucas*, J.S. Syzdek, D.S. Middlemiss, C.P. Grey, D.N. Basov, and R. Kostecki. IR near-field spectroscopy and imaging of single LixFePO4 microcrystals. Nano Letters, 15(1), 2015. ISSN 15306992. doi: 10.1021/nl5010898. *These authors contributed equally to the present work.
  10. A.S. McLeod*, G. Dominguez*, Z. Gainsforth, P. Kelly, H.A. Bechtel, F. Keilmann, A. Westphal, M. Thiemens, and D.N. Basov. Nanoscale infrared spectroscopy as a non-destructive probe of extraterrestrial samples. Nature Communications, 5, 2014. ISSN 20411723. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6445. *These authors contributed equally to the present work.
  11. A.S. McLeod, P. Kelly, M.D. Goldflam, Z. Gainsforth, A.J. Westphal, G. Dominguez, M.H. Thiemens, M.M. Fogler, and D.N. Basov. Model for quantitative tip-enhanced spectroscopy and the extraction of nanoscale-resolved optical constants. Physical Review B, 90(8), 2014. ISSN 1550235X. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevB.90.085136.A. Pustogow*, A. S. McLeod*, Y. Saito, D. N. Basov, and M. Dressel. Internal strain tunes electronic correlations on the nanoscale. Science Advances, 4(12), 2018. *These authors contributed equally to the present work.