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The Center for Quantum Materials (CQM) started operation in August 2016 and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. It brings together an interdisciplinary research team from the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota to investigate the physics and materials science of quantum materials, specifically complex oxides.

This materials class embodies many of the most fundamental contemporary questions pertaining to the quantum behavior of interacting electrons. At the same time, complex oxides are of high relevance to important technologies such as data storage, spintronics, sensing, catalysis and fuel cells. Their rich phase diagrams are intricate manifestations of the interplay between electronic kinetic energy and interactions, resulting in myriad quantum states (e.g., metal, insulator, density wave, unconventional superconductor, complex magnetic structure) that can be controlled by a variety of experimental control parameters (e.g., electronic filling, magnetic field, epitaxial strain, hydrostatic pressure, substitutional disorder, interstitial-oxygen order). The CQM’s goal is to substantially raise the level of knowledge of these distinct quantum electronic phases of matter and, critically, of the transitions between them that have proven so challenging to understand.

In order to achieve this goal, research in the CQM combines state-of-the-art materials synthesis and characterization and a battery of measurement techniques, particularly neutron/X-ray scattering and charge transport, with modern methods of theoretical analysis. The CQM aims to attain broader impact through its wide-range use of large-scale user facilities, and by serving as a hub for research on quantum materials via the strong emphasis on synthesis, the strengthening and expansion of existing external collaborative ties, through workshops, and through the role that it will play in the education and training of a large number of young scientists.