Fiona Burnell

Blonde woman with black coat

Fiona Burnell

Associate Professor, School of Physics and Astronomy


John T. Tate Hall
Room 130-13
116 Church Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Ph.D., Princeton, 2009 

B.Sc., University of British Columbia, 2002

Professional Background

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, All Souls College, 2009-2013

Research Interests

My work focuses on understanding exotic phases of matter -  phases which are not described by the conventional Landau classification based on broken symmetries. This encompasses topologically ordered phases, such as the fractional quantum Hall states in which the low-energy excitations are neither fermions nor bosons, but have "fractional" statistics. It also includes symmetry-protected phases, such as topological insulators, where unusual properties arise at the surface or boundary of the system. Two of my main foci are understanding the phase diagrams and phase transitions of these systems, and in identifying the possible types of exotic phases in 3 dimensions. These are big questions, which my research addresses by studying specific examples, often through identifying models whose behavior we can understand analytically. For example, I have been involved in studying 3D models whose surfaces are topologically ordered, some of which realize new symmetry-protected phases of matter.

Honors and Awards

  • NSERC post-graduate scholarship, 2003-2007
  • Lloyd G. Elliott Prize, 2002
  • NSF CAREER DMR-1352271
  • Sloan foundation fellowship FG-2015-65927

Selected Publications

*Full Publications List*, [download Publications_current.pdf]

  1. Hamill, A., Heischmidt, B., Sohn, E., Shaffer, D., Tsai, K.-T., Zhang, X., Xi, X., Suslov, A., Berger, H., Forró, L., Burnell, F.J., Shan, J., Mak, K.F., Fernandes, R.M., Wang, K., Pribiag, V.S., Two-fold symmetric superconductivity in few-layer NbSe2, (2021) Nature Physics, 17 (8), pp. 949-954. 

  2. You, Y., Burnell, F.J., Hughes, T.L., Multipolar topological field theories: Bridging higher order topological insulators and fractons, (2021) Physical Review B, 103 (24), art. no. 245128

  3. Lin, C.-H., Levin, M., Burnell, F.J., Generalized string-net models: A thorough exposition, (2021) Physical Review B, 103 (19), art. no. 195155

  4. Feng, K., Perkins, N.B., Burnell, F.J., Further insights into the thermodynamics of the Kitaev honeycomb model, (2020) Physical Review B, 102 (22), art. no. 224402

  5. Shaffer, D., Kang, J., Burnell, F.J., Fernandes, R.M., Crystalline nodal topological superconductivity and Bogolyubov Fermi surfaces in monolayer NbSe2, (2020) Physical Review B, 101 (22)

  6. You, Y., Devakul, T., Sondhi, S.L., Burnell, F.J., Fractonic Chern-Simons and BF theories, (2020) Physical Review Research, 2 (2), art. no. 023249

  7. You, Y., Devakul, T., Burnell, F.J., Sondhi, S.L., Symmetric fracton matter: Twisted and enriched, (2020) Annals of Physics, 416, art. no. 168140

  8. Chandran, A., Burnell, F.J., Sondhi, S.L., Absence of Fibonacci anyons in Rydberg chains, (2020) Physical Review B, 101 (7), art. no. 075104

  9. Devakul, T., You, Y., Burnell, F.J., Sondhi, S.L., Fractal symmetric phases of matter, (2019) SciPost Physics, 6 (1), art. no. 007