QSEC ‘s Physicists Have Received a Total of $2.3M Federal Research Funding in 2022


QSEC Director Dr. Patrick Vora has been recently awarded $349,997 for a collaborative research fund by NSF on two-dimension physics. This award boosted the total federal research fund awarded to QSEC physicists to more than $2.3M, recipients include Dr. Karen Sauer, Dr. Nirmal Ghimire, and Dr. Igor Mazin.

Collaborative Research: Twist Control of Correlated Physics in Two Dimensions. Collaborated with BrookHaven National Laboratory, Dr. Vora’s new project will discover the role of interlayer interactions in layered quantum materials through the exploration of twisted heterostructures of tantalum disulfide. Existing studies of layered quantum materials demonstrate connections between electronic ground state and layer alignment, but these are limited to a small set of naturally occurring stacking configurations and wrought with contradictions. By leveraging twist-tunable heterostructures and a range of characterization and modeling that spans nanoscale to mesoscale physics, this project systematically explores strongly correlated physics in tantalum disulfide to uncover the total phase space detailing the interplay of Mott physics, charge density waves, magnetism, and metallic states.

Experimental and theoretical studies of iron pnictides through zero-field nuclear magnetic resonance: Dr. Sauer and Dr. Mazin have received this new award from NSF in the amount of $560,673 for three years. The project strives to bring a new understanding of nematicity and spin fluctuations in Fe-based high-temperature superconductors by combining nuclear quadrupolar resonance (NQR) and ab-initio calculations.

CAREER: Synthetic design of structure-inspired magnetic topological materials. Dr. Ghimire has been awarded $563,714 for the CAREER project. This project aims to advance the fundamental understanding of the interplay between electronic topology and complex magnetism, and the interplay between simple magnetic ordering and the crystal structure. Its ultimate goal is to synthesize materials that can shape future technology and quantum information science through the emergent phenomena these materials harbor. Such properties are applicable for spintronics, dissipationless electronics, and quantum computing.

Less common topological materials. Dr. Mazin’s award (Sep. 2020-Aug. 2022) has been renewed by DOE for three more years in the amount of $380 K, based on the results achieved in the first two years. A variety of topological magnetic materials has been investigated, mostly in collaborations with GMU and outside experimental group. Some of the results are a new theory of fluctuation-driven topological Hall effect in spin-spiral materials, a theory of field-tunable toroidal moment in a chiral-lattice magnet, the magnetic phase diagram of a topological magnetic van der Waals system, a theory of Ru halide Kitaev spin liquid candidates, and others. The results have been published, in high-impact journals such as Science Advances, Nature Communications, PRL, npj Quantum materials, npj Computational Materials, Nanoletters, and PNAS.

A broad‐scale search of novel altermagnetic materials: This proposal led by Dr. Ghimire and Dr. Mazin have had their proposal entitled “has been recommended for funding by the Army research office in the amount of $500 K for three years. The goal of this  project is to research, in tight collaboration between experiment and theory, a new, just recently discovered class of magnetic materials, dubbed “altermagnet”, which combine the properties of Ferro- and antiferromagnetic materials.

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