Raffi Budakian

Raffi Budakian
Professor, University of Waterloo Endowed Chair in Nanotechnology
Location: RAC 2111
Phone: 519-888-4567 x31058


Professor Budakian's work in the past decade has focused on developing the experimental tools for ultra sensitive detection of electron and nuclear spins. He explores the application of these tools to address fundamental questions ranging from biology to quantum information.

Research Interests

  • Coupling spins and nanomechanical oscillators
  • Nanometer scale magnetic resonance imaging
  • Exploring nanometer scale quantum phenomena in condensed matter systems
  • Condensed Matter
  • Nanomaterials

Scholarly Research

Professor Budakian's research focuses on developing highly sensitive tools, based on ultra-sensitive force detection, to study magnetism on the nanometer scale. These tools have been applied to explore novel phenomena in condensed matter systems, such as the detection of half-quantum vortex states in unconventional superconductors, imaging emergent order in frustrated magnetic systems, and imaging vortex fluctuations in superconducting arrays. He and his research group are also developing new techniques that combine magnetic resonance and ultra-sensitive force detection to study the interaction of small ensembles of nuclear and electron spins, with applications ranging from quantum information processing to imaging the structure of proteins and virus particles. Current areas of research include: 1. design and fabrication of micro-machined silicon cantilevers for sub-attonewton force detection, 2. development of spin detection/manipulation protocols that enable force detection at the thermal limit, 3. imaging single dopants and defects in semiconductors, 4. spin control via active feedback, and, 5. combining MRFM with electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) for high sensitivity nuclear spin detection.


  • 2000, PhD Physics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1995, MS Physics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1994, BS Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, summa cum laude


  • 2013, John Bardeen Faculty Scholar
  • 2010, University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study Fellow
  • 2005, World Technology Award, World Technology Network, presented for Single Spin Detection by Magnetic Resonance Force Microscopy

Professional Associations

  • CIFAR, Senior fellow - Quantum Materials, and Quantum Information Science

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Faculty, Institute for Quantum Computing
  • Faculty, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology
  • Associate Faculty, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics


  • PHYS 111 - Physics 1
    • Taught in 2021
  • PHYS 234 - Quantum Physics 1
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023
  • PHYS 342 - Electricity and Magnetism 2
    • Taught in 2019, 2021, 2022
  • PHYS 442 - Electricity and Magnetism 3
    • Taught in 2020

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • J.M. Nichol, E.R. Hemesath, L.J. Lauhon, R. Budakian, Nanomechanical detection of nuclear magnetic resonance using a silicon nanowire oscillator. Phys. Rev. B., 054414-1-6 (2012).
  • M. Kim, X.M. Chen, X. Wang, C.S. Nelson, R. Budakian, P. Abbamonte, S.L. Cooper, Pressure and field tuning the magnetostructural phases of Mn3O4: Raman scattering and x-ray diffraction studies. Phys. Rev. B., 174424-1-11 (2011).
  • J. Jang, D.G. Ferguson, V. Vakaryuk, R. Budakian, S.B. Chung, P.M. Goldbart,and Y. Maeno, Observation of half-height magnetization steps in Sr2RuO4. Science 331, 186-188 (2011).
  • R. Budakian, H. J. Mamin, B. W. Chui, and D. Rugar. Creating order from random fluctuations in small spin ensembles. Science 307, 408-411 (2005).
  • R. Budakian, H. J. Mamin, and D. Rugar. Suppression of spin diffusion near a micron-size ​ferromagnet. Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 037205-1-4 (2004).

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