Skip to main content

Heterogeneities in Quantum Materials

Heterogeneities in Quantum Materials 

Studies the effects of compositional and structural heterogeneities on quantum behaviors of fundamental energy carriers and seeks to reveal quantum interactions at the heterogeneities.

This goal is achieved by revealing the atomistic-level understanding of structure-property relationships in quantum materials that occur at structural and compositional heterogeneities such as defects, interfaces, and disorder. This understanding includes the interactions between electronic, magnetic, photonic, and vibrational states that render coherent and entangled quantum states necessary to enable the design of new generations of quantum materials, including topological matter (such as topological insulators, Weyl and Dirac semimetals, and quantum spin liquids) and quantum light emitters based on heterogenous 2D materials. Revealing interactions between novel quantum states and their quasiparticles, including Majorana and Weyl fermions, will provide the foundations of a new quantum materials revolution that address the Nation’s needs and impact energy transport, quantum computing, and low-power computing. Heterogeneities in quantum materials will be studied through the execution of 3 aims:

Aim 1 - Reveal the Quantum Structure of Heterogeneities: new approaches to measure and correlate atomistic structure with associated electronic, magnetic, and optical properties. 

Aim 2 - Understand the Effect of Heterogeneities: degrees of freedom that lead to the coherence and entanglement of quantum states.

Aim 3 - Control Heterogeneities Toward Tailored Interactions between Energy Carriers: energy conversion and quantum information science principles relevant to future applications.

This research theme builds directly on expertise in atomic level control and understanding of materials, including the characterization of heterogeneities in low dimensional materials, through innovative development and utilization of scanning probe and electron microscopy and spectroscopy, combined with first-principles calculations. These aims motivate key directions to other CNMS Themes, “Directed Nanoscale Transformations” and “Hierarchical Assembly”, driving the development of materials and heterostructures with precisely controlled defects and interfaces in order to test theoretical predictions relating atomistic structure with function. These aims also provide the electronic behavior information of materials, particularly where defects and interfaces play a key role, that are required to understand the goals of CNMS Theme “Hysteretic Materials” that is devoted to understanding and isolating the roles of coupled degrees of freedom in nanomaterials. With this assistance, the Heterogeneities in Quantum Materials (HQM) theme will extend beyond our current understanding of “ideal” materials and provide the critical knowledge needed to control the coupling of electron and spin interactions in materials to create the designer quantum states that will be the foundations of quantum information science. In turn, the users at CNMS will be able to take advantage of the proposed developments in the experimental and theoretical capabilities to synthesize and study the quantum materials of their choice, correlating atomic-scale structural information with the quantitative microscopic characterization of the electronic and magnetic structures of defects, and the emergent functionality characterized with quantum optical and electronic spectroscopy.