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Robert Cava

Robert J. Cava

Research Area:

Robert J. Cava
Russell Wellman Moore, Professor of Chemistry
[email protected]
Frick Laboratory, A88

Faculty Assistant:

Angela Dolce
Faculty / Grants Assistant
[email protected]
Frick Laboratory, A87

Cava Group Website

Research Focus

In the Cava research group, we search for and synthesize new non-molecular inorganic solids, grow crystals of them, determine their crystal structures, and characterize their electronic and magnetic properties. Our goal is to find new compounds whose electronic and magnetic properties are interesting enough for them to be studied in detail by experts in materials physics worldwide. Our work concentrates very strongly in the chemistry of materials, but we also have to know something about the properties of matter and electronic structure theory to direct our searches for new compounds. Especially of interest to us are non-molecular inorganic compounds where we can hope to understand, in chemical terms, the relationships between the chemistry of bonding and crystal structure and the physics of magnetic and electronic properties.

After we identify and synthesize a new compound and make initial measurements of its properties, we report our results. Then we work closely with people in theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics at Princeton, Johns Hopkins University, and Brookhaven National Laboratory, and many other labs around the world, to provide them data, materials or crystals so that they can study the properties in more detail.

We direct our materials discovery activities by our interest in new superconductors, new magnetoresistive materials, frustrated magnets, and topological insulators, but we keep our eyes open for other interesting properties as well.

In all cases, we employ the principles and synthetic and analytical methods of solid state chemistry to try to find new materials of interest. Our chemical tool set involves almost the whole periodic table, but we are especially interested in transition metal oxides, pnictides and chalcogenides. We use many methods to synthesize and grow crystals of our compounds. Our research philosophy has probably best been summarized by NIKE: “Just do it.” Although almost all students and post-docs in the group are chemists, we always have postdoctoral fellows in the group who are PhD physicists.


Harkins Lectureship, University of Chicago, Department of Chemistry  (2023)

Saint Germain Lectureship, Boston University, Department of Materials Science  (2023)

David Adler Lecturer Award, American Physical Society  (2021)

Centennial Lecturer, Department of Physics, Peking University  (2019)

President’s International Fellowship for Distinguished Scientists, Chinese Academy of Sciences  (2017)

Institute of Physics, Outstanding Reviewer  (2016)

MRS Medal, Materials Research Society (2016)

Election as Foreign Fellow, The Royal Society (2016)

Doctor Honoris Causa, Technical University of Gdansk (2014)

Moore Foundation Materials Synthesis Investigator (2014)

Graduate Mentoring Award in Natural Sciences, Princeton University (2014)

Inaugural Anniversary Metal, Dept. of Physics, TU Gdansk (2014)

Linus Pauling Award, American Chemical Society Northwest Section (2012)

Stephanie Kwolek Award in Materials Chemistry (2012)

Royal Society of Chemistry, Great Britain (2012)

McGroddy Prize in New Materials, American Physical Society (2012)

Humboldt Research Award, Germany (2012)

Award in Inorganic Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2011)

Villum Foundation Visiting Foreign Professorship (2010)

Risø, Technical University of Denmark (2010)

Medal of Remembrance, Gdansk Technical University (2010)

John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science (2005)

National Academy of Sciences (2005)

President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, Princeton University (2005)

Election to U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2001)

Selected Publications

“Impersonating a Superconductor: High-Pressure BaCoO3, an Insulating Ferromagnet”, Haozhe Wang, Xianghan Xu, Danrui Ni, David Walker, Jie Li, Robert J. Cava, and Weiwei Xie, Journal of the American Chemical Society 145 (39), 21203-21206, (2023).

“Tunable Magnetic Transition Temperatures in Organic–Inorganic Hybrid Cobalt Chloride Hexagonal Perovskites”, T Lee, DB Straus, X Xu, W Xie, RJ Cava Chemistry of Materials 35 (4), 1745-1751, (2023).

“Electron doping of a double-perovskite flat-band system”, Lun Jin, Nicodemos Varnava, Danrui Ni, Xin Gui, Xianghan Xu, Yuanfeng Xu, B Andrei Bernevig, Robert J Cava, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120 e2218997120 (2023).

“Large off-diagonal magnetoelectricity in a triangular Co2+-based collinear antiferromagnet”, Xianghan Xu, Yiqing Hao, Shiyu Peng, Qiang Zhang, Danrui Ni, Chen Yang, Xi Dai, Huibo Cao, RJ Cava Nature Communications 14 8034 (2023).

“Layered polymorph of titanium triiodide” Danrui Ni, Ranuri S. Dissanayaka Mudiyanselage, Xianghan Xu, Junsik Mun, Yimei Zhu, Weiwei Xie, and Robert J. Cava. Phys. Rev. Materials 6, 124001 (2022).

“The honeycomb and hyperhoneycomb polymorphs of IrI3”, Danrui Ni, Kasey P. Devlin, Guangming Cheng, Xin Gui, Weiwei Xie, Nan Yao and Robert J. Cava, J. Sol. St. Chem. 312 123240 (2022).

“Ferrites without iron as potential quantum materials”, Danrui Ni and Robert J. Cava, Prog. in Sol. St. Chem. 66, 100346 (2022).

“Structure, Magnetism, and First-Principles Modeling of the Na0.5La0.5RuO3 Perovskite”, Nguyen, LT; Saubanere, M; Zhang, Q; Cava, RJ; Chem. Mat.33, 600, (2021).

RuAl6-An Endohedral Aluminide Superconductor,” Ryzynska, Z; Chamorro, JR; McQueen, TM, Wisniewski, P; Kaczorowski, D; Xie, WW; Cava, RJ; Klimczuk, T; Winiarski, MJ, Chemistry of Materials, 32, 3805-3812, (2020).

“VI3—a New Layered Ferromagnetic Semiconductor,” Tai Kong, Karoline, Stolze, Erik I. Timmons, Jing Tao, Danrui Ni, Shu Guo, Zoë Yang, Ruslan Prozorov and Robert J. Cava, Advanced Materials, 31, 1808074 (2019).

“TaRh2B2 and NbRh2B2: Superconductors with a chiral noncentrosymmetric crystal structure,” Carnicom, EM; Xie, WW; Klimczuk, T; Lin, JJ; Gornicka, K; Sobczak, Z; Ong, NP; Cava, RJ, Science Advances 4 5 (2018).

“High-Pressure Synthesis and Characterization of beta-GeSe-A Six-Membered-Ring Semiconductor in an Uncommon Boat Conformation”, F.O. von Rohr, H.W. Ji, F.A. Cevallos, T. Gao, N.P. Ong, and R.J. Cava, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139 2771 (2017).

“Sn-doped Bi1.1Sb0.9Te2S bulk crystal topological insulator with excellent properties”, S.K. Kushwaha, I. Pletikosic, T. Liang, A. Gyenis, S.H. Lapidus, Y. Tian, H. Zhao, K.S. Burch, J.J. Lin, W.D. Wang, H.W. Ji, A.V. Fedorov, A. Yazdani, N.P. Ong, T. Valla, and R.J. Cava, Nature Communications 7 11456 (2016).

“Polytypism, polymorphism, and superconductivity in TaSe2-xTex”, H.X. Luo, W.W. Xie, J. Tao, H. Inoue, A. Gyenis, J.W. Krizan, A. Yazdani, Y.M. Zhu, and R.J. Cava, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 112 E1174 (2015).

Gu, J.; Yan, Y.; Krizan, J. W.; Gibson, Q. D.; Detweiler, Z. M.; Cava, R. J.; Bocarsly, A. B., “p-Type CuRhO2 as a Self-Healing Photoelectrode for Water Reduction under Visible Light.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014, 136 (3), 830-833.

Vobornik, I.; Panaccione, G.; Fujii, J.; Zhu, Z.-H.; Offi, F.; Salles, B. R.; Borgatti, F.; Torelli, P.; Rueff, J. P.; Ceolin, D.; Artioli, A.; Unnikrishnan, M.; Levy, G.; Marangolo, M.; Eddrief, M.; Krizmancic, D.; Ji, H.; Damascelli, A.; van der Laan, G.; Egdell, R. G.; Cava, R. J., “Observation of Distinct Bulk and Surface Chemical Environments in a Topological Insulator under Magnetic Doping.” Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2014, 118 (23), 12333-12339.

Borisenko, S.; Gibson, Q.; Evtushinsky, D.; Zabolotnyy, V.; Buechner, B.; Cava, R. J., “Experimental Realization of a Three-Dimensional Dirac Semimetal.” Physical Review Letters 2014, 113 (2), 7603-7603.

Vaddypally, S.; Kondaveeti, S. K.; Roudebush, J. H.; Cava, R. J.; Zdilla, M. J., “Formation of the tetranuclear, tetrakis-terminal-imido Mn-4(IV)((NBu)-Bu-t)(8) cubane cluster by four-electron reductive elimination of (BuN)-Bu-t=(NBu)-Bu-t. The role of the s-block ion in stabilization of high-oxidation state intermediates.” Chemical Communications 2014, 50 (9), 1061-1063.

Gao, P.; Sun, L.; Ni, N.; Guo, J.; Wu, Q.; Zhang, C.; Gu, D.; Yang, K.; Li, A.; Jiang, S.; Cava, R. J.; Zhao, Z., “Pressure-Induced Superconductivity and Its Scaling with Doping-Induced Superconductivity in the Iron Pnictidewith Skutterudite Intermediary Layers.” Advanced Materials 2014, 26 (15), 2346-2351.

Kushwaha, S. K.; Krizan, J. W.; Xiong, J.; Klimczuk, T.; Gibson, Q. D.; Liang, T.; Ong, N. P.; Cava, R. J., “Superconducting properties and electronic structure of NaBi.” Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter 2014, 26 (21).

Gu, J.; Wuttig, A.; Krizan, J. W.; Hu, Y.; Detweiler, Z. M.; Cava, R. J.; Bocarsly, A. B., “Mg-Doped CuFeO2 Photocathodes for Photoelectrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide.” Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2013, 117 (24), 12415-12422.

Muff, S.; von Rohr, F.; Landolt, G.; Slomski, B.; Schilling, A.; Cava, R. J.; Osterwalder, J.; Dil, J. H., “Separating the bulk and surface n- to p-type transition in the topological insulator GeBi4-xSbxTe7.” Physical Review B 2013, 88 (3).

Hirai, D.; Ali, M. N.; Cava, R. J., “Strong Electron-Phonon Coupling Superconductivity Induced by a Low-Lying Phonon in IrGe.” Journal of the Physical Society of Japan 2013, 82 (12).

von Rohr, F.; Schilling, A.; Cava, R. J., “Single-crystal growth and thermoelectric properties of Ge(Bi,Sb)(4)Te-7.” Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter 2013, 25 (7).

Cava, R. J., “Topological insulators chemists join in.” Nature Materials 2013, 12 (5), 379-380.

Fuccillo, M. K.; Charles, M. E.; Hor, Y. S.; Jia, S.; Cava, R. J., “Low temperature thermoelectric properties of Bi2-xSbxTeSe2 crystals near the n-p crossover.” Solid State Communications 2012, 152 (14), 1208-1211.

Mun, E.; Ni, N.; Allred, J. M.; Cava, R. J.; Ayala, O.; McDonald, R. D.; Harrison, N.; Zapf, V. S., “Anisotropic Hc2 up to 92 T and the signature of multiband superconductivity in Ca-10(Pt4As8)((Fe1-xPtx)(2)As-2)(5).” Physical Review B 2012, 85 (10).

Kondaveeti, S. K.; Vaddypally, S.; Lam, C.; Hirai, D.; Ni, N.; Cava, R. J.; Zdilla, M. J., “Synthesis, Structure, and Magnetic Studies of Manganese-Oxygen Clusters of Reduced Coordination Number, Featuring an Unchelated, 5-Coordinate Octanuclear Manganese Cluster with Water-Derived Oxo Ligands.” Inorganic Chemistry 2012, 51 (19), 10095-10104.

Helton, J. S.; Chen, Y.; Bychkov, G. L.; Barilo, S. N.; Rogado, N.; Cava, R. J.; Lynn, J. W., “Evolution of the commensurate and incommensurate magnetic phases of the S=3/2 kagome staircase Co3V2O8 in an applied field.” Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter 2012, 24 (1).

Zareapour, P.; Hayat, A.; Zhao, S. Y. F.; Kreshchuk, M.; Jain, A.; Kwok, D. C.; Lee, N.; Cheong, S.-W.; Xu, Z.; Yang, A.; Gu, G. D.; Jia, S.; Cava, R. J.; Burch, K. S., “Proximity-induced high-temperature superconductivity in the topological insulators Bi2Se3 and Bi2Te3.” Nature Communications 2012, 3.

Allred, J. M.; Wang, L. M.; Khalifah, P.; Cava, R. J., “Na27Ru14O48: A new mixed-valence sodium ruthenate with magnetic heptameric plaquettes.” Journal of Solid State Chemistry 2011, 184 (1), 44-51.

Cava, R. J.; Holman, K. L.; McQueen, T.; Welsh, E. J.; West, D. V.; Williams, A. J., “The Geometries of Triangular Magnetic Lattices.” In Introduction to Frustrated Magnetism: Materials, Experiments, Theory, Lacroix, C.; Mendels, P.; Mila, F., Eds. 2011; Vol. 164, pp 131-154.

Dutton, S. E.; Huang, Q.; Tchernyshyov, O.; Broholm, C. L.; Cava, R. J., “Sensitivity of the magnetic properties of the ZnCr2O4 and MgCr2O4 spinels to nonstoichiometry.” Physical Review B 2011, 83 (6).

Bremholm, M.; Hor, Y. S.; Cava, R. J., “Pressure stabilized Se-Se dimer formation in PbSe2.” Solid State Sciences 2011, 13 (1), 38-41.

Jia, S.; Jiramongkolchai, P.; Suchomel, M. R.; Toby, B. H.; Checkelsky, J. G.; Ong, N. P.; Cava, R. J., “Ferromagnetic quantum critical point induced by dimer-breaking in SrCo2(Ge1-xPx)(2).” Nature Physics 2011, 7 (3), 207-210.

Wray, L. A.; Xu, S.-Y.; Xia, Y.; Hsieh, D.; Fedorov, A. V.; Hor, Y. S.; Cava, R. J.; Bansil, A.; Lin, H.; Hasan, M. Z., “A topological insulator surface under strong Coulomb, magnetic and disorder perturbations.” Nature Physics 2011, 7 (1), 32-37.

Lin, H.; Wray, L. A.; Xia, Y.; Xu, S.; Jia, S.; Cava, R. J.; Bansil, A.; Hasan, M. Z., “Half-Heusler ternary compounds as new multifunctional experimental platforms for topological quantum phenomena.” Nature Materials 2010, 9 (7), 546-549.

Wray, L. A.; Xu, S.-Y.; Xia, Y.; Hor, Y. S.; Qian, D.; Fedorov, A. V.; Lin, H.; Bansil, A.; Cava, R. J.; Hasan, M. Z., “Observation of topological order in a superconducting doped topological insulator.” Nature Physics 2010, 6 (11), 855-859.