The initiative will support theoretical physics research across twelve institutions based on a series of recent developments in theoretical physics which have revealed that even large macroscopic systems consisting of many atoms or electrons — matter — can behave in an essentially quantum way. Such ultra-quantum matter (UQM) allows for quantum phenomena beyond what can be realized at the level of the individual atom or electron, including distributed storage of quantum information, fractional quantum numbers, and perfect conductivity. The Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter will work to classify possible forms of UQM, understand their physical properties, and provide ideas designed to enable new realizations of quantum materials in the lab.
Part of the Simons Collaborations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences program, which aims to "stimulate progress on fundamental scientific questions of major importance in mathematics, theoretical physics, and theoretical computer science," the UQM collaboration will be directed by professor Ashvin Vishwanath at Harvard University and comprises researchers at MIT, Harvard, Caltech, the Institute for Advanced Study, Stanford University, and the universities of California at Santa Barbara, California at San Diego, Chicago, Colorado at Boulder, Innsbruck, Maryland, and Washington.
"I am looking forward to scientific interactions with MIT theorists Senthil [Todadri] and [Xiao-Gang] Wen, who are key members of our Simons Collaboration on Ultra-Quantum Matter, and hope this will further strengthen collaborations within the Cambridge area and beyond," said Vishwanath. "Their research on highly entangled quantum materials is of fundamental significance, and may provide new directions for device applications, quantum computing, and high-temperature superconductors."
(Image credit: Harald Ritsch)