The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Physics Header College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Photo

Dr. Steven Johnston

Assistant Professor

Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics
Office: 406-A Nielsen Physics Building
Phone: (865) 974-7837
Johnston Research Group Page


My research interests lie in condensed matter physics with a focus on applying numerical methods to strongly correlated electrons, multi-orbital systems, and electron-boson interactions. I have a specific interest in studying high-temperature superconductivity in both the iron-pnictides and cuprates. I often work towards making direct contact with spectroscopies such as angle-resolved photoemission, scanning tunneling microscopy, optical conductivity, and resonant inelastic x-ray scattering, and collaborate closely with experimentalists in order to unravel the meaning of results obtained using these complicated techniques.

Brief Vita

For Prospective Students

I currently have positions available for highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students who are interested pursuing research in theoretical condensed matter physics and computational methods. If you are interested, please e-mail or call me.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. S. Johnston, C. Monney, V. Bisogni, K.-J. Zhou, R. Kraus, G. Behr, V. N. Strocov, J. Málek, S.-L. Drechsler, J. Geck, T. Schmitt, and J. van den Brink, Electron-lattice interactions strongly renormalize the charge transfer energy in the spin-chain copper oxide Li2CuO2. Nature Communications, 7, 10563 (2016).
  2. Louk Rademaker, Yan Wang, Tom Berlijn, and Steve Johnston, Enhanced superconductivity due to forward scattering in FeSe thin films on SrTiO3 substrates. New Journal of Physics 18, 022001 (2016). Fast Track Communication.
  3. Shaozhi Li and S. Johnston, The effects of non-linear electron-phonon interactions on superconductivity and charge-density-wave correlations. Europhysics Letters 109, 27007 (2015).
  4. J. J. Lee, F. T. Schmitt, R. G. Moore, S. Johnston, Y.-T. Cui, W. Li, Interfacial mode coupling as the origin of the enhancement of Tc in FeSe films on SrTiO3. Nature 515, 245-248 (2014).
  5. C. J. Jia, E. A. Nowadnick, K. Wohlfeld, Y. F. Kung, C.-C. Chen, S. Johnston, T. Tohyama, B. Moritz, T. P. Devereaux, Persistent spin excitations in doped antiferromagnets revealed by resonant inelastic light scattering. Nature Communications 5, 3314 (2014).
  6. S. Johnston, A. Mukherjee, I. Elfimov, M. Berciu, and G. A. Sawatzky, Charge disproportionation without charge transfer in the rare-earth nickelates as a possible mechanism for the metal-insulator transition. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 106404 (2014).
  7. S. Johnston, E. A. Nowadnick, Y. Kung, B. Moritz, R. T. Scalettar, and T. P. Devereaux, Determinant Quantum Monte Carlo study of the two-dimensional singleband Hubbard-Holstein model. Phys. Rev. B 87, 235133 (2013). Selected as an editors’ suggestion.
  8. S. Grothe, S. Johnston, S. Chi, P. Dosanjh, S. A. Burke, Y. Pennec, Quantifying many-body effects by high-resolution Fourier transform scanning tunneling spectroscopy. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 246804 (2013).
  9. L. Rademaker, S. Johnston, J. Zaanen, J. van den Brink, Determinant quantum Monte Carlo study of exciton condensation in the bilayer Hubbard model. Phys. Rev. B 88, 235115 (2013).
  10. C. Monney, V. Bisogni, K.-J. Zhou, R. Kraus, V. N Strocov, G. Behr, J. Málek, R. Kuzian, S.-L. Drechsler, S. Johnston, A. Revcolevschi, B. Büchner, H. M. Rønnow, J. van den Brink, J. Geck, T. Schmitt, Determining the Short-Range Spin Correlations in the Spin-Chain Li2 CuO2 and CuGeO3 Compounds Using Resonant Inelastic X-Ray Scattering. Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 087403 (2013).
  11. E. A. Nowadnick, S Johnston, B. Moritz, R. T Scalettar, T. P. Devereaux, Competition Between Antiferromagnetic and Charge-Density-Wave Order in the Half-Filled Hubbard-Holstein Model. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 246404 (2012).

Please see my Google scholar profile for a complete list of publications.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System