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Neutrons and quantum materials

ORNL researcher Clarina dela Cruz at HFIR. Image credit: Genevieve Martin, ORNL

75 years of science and technology

Neutron scattering scientist Clarina dela Cruz uses the powerful tools at SNS and HFIR to investigate quantum materials, whose exotic physical properties arise from the quantum mechanical properties of their electrons.

Dela Cruz’s research lies at the nexus of topology, quantum field theory and quantum information science, with a healthy amount of materials and computer science. She uses neutron scattering techniques to study the structural, electronic and magnetic properties and correlations in novel quantum materials such as unconventional superconductors, quantum magnets and multiferroic systems with switchable electric and magnetic functionalities.

“There is absolutely rich and novel physics yet to be explored in the field of quantum materials research,” dela Cruz said. “In addition to the exciting science, quantum materials could have fundamental and far-reaching impacts on technology and are potentially transformative over a host of grand challenges for energy research.”

In the future, dela Cruz’s work will be integrated with that of other researchers, from theorists and computer scientists to physicists and materials experts. Their collaboration will enable researchers to build powerful quantum simulation tools and predict materials with novel quantum states that can be tuned for specific functionalities.

These novel materials can then be designed into smart materials, customized for practical real-world applications such as ultrasensitive sensors and faster, more energy efficient computers and next generation electronic devices.