The Center for Quantum Materials (CQM) aims to investigate the physics and materials science of quantum materials, specifically complex oxides, through a focused interdisciplinary approach. 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. As illustrated below, the rich phase diagrams of these materials 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, oxygen defect order).
The Center’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. To this end, the research in the initial phase of the CQM primarily focuses on three representative families of complex oxides - the cuprates, cobaltites and titanates - combining 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. Special emphasis is being placed on (a) careful selection of model materials to be studied in the form of highly-developed bulk crystals, thin films/heterostructures, or both, (b) tight integration of synthesis, characterization, and property measurement, (c) synergy between experiment and theory, and (d) close collaboration with experts in the use of complementary techniques.